- BA, University of Waterloo (Political Science & International Relations)
- MS, George Mason University (Institute for Conflict Analysis & Resolution)
- PHD, George Mason University (Institute for Conflict Analysis & Resolution)
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Dr. Lisa Schirch is Senior Research Fellow for the Toda Peace Institute, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, and George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. She served as Professor of Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite Univerity from 2005-2017, as graduate and undergraduate faculty and co-founder of the PAX major in peace and development studies.
A former Fulbright Fellow in East and West Africa, Schirch is the author of ten books, including The Ecology of Violent Extremism in 2018 (Rowman and Littlefield) and Social Media Impacts on Conflict Dynamics in 2020 (Routledge).
As a professor and trainer, Schirch uses interactive, scenario-based methods, case studies, and exercises to teach digital peacebuilding, systems-based responses to violent extremism, conflict transformation skills like dialogue, negotiation and mediation; strategic planning for social justice movements, conflict analysis, arts-based peacebuilding, climate change, and a range of other topics.
As a researcher, Schirch’s expertise centers on human security and the interface between civil society, technology, security policymakers, armed security forces. In 2015, Schirch finished a 3 year project coordinating a global network to write a Handbook on Human Security: A Civil-Military-Police Curriculum and set of 40 peacebuilding case studies on Local Ownership in Security. In 2020, Schirch has been part of several working groups exploring the role of social media disinformation related to Covid 19, and was part of a USAID research team documenting the impact of Covid 19 on armed conflict, peace processes and violent extremism.
As a practitioner, Schirch is a facilitator, mediator, and conflict coach. She has worked on institutional racism in the US and has facilitated and participated in the design of national peace processes in Afghanistan and twelve other countries.
Schirch also is a member of several advisory and research review panels for Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) in Geneva, Switzerland; the UN Development Program International Advisory Group on Infrastructures for Peace; and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands’ International Advisory Committee of Security and Rule of Law (SRoL) in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings (FCAS) and the Knowledge Platform on Security & Rule of Law, and was invited by the US State Department as co-chair of the working group on engagement with religious actors by the Office on Religion and Global Affairs.
Her acclaimed book Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Planning: Toward a Participatory Approach to Human Security (Kumarian/Lynne Reinner Press, May 2013) and the accompanying website for the book (www.Conflict-Assessment-and-Peacebuilding-Planning.org) provides a strategic process for designing research to conduct a conflict analysis, and testing theories of change for effective peacebuilding.
Schirch works primarily with small local NGOs and civil society organizations. Schirch also has worked as a consultant on conflict assessment and peacebuilding planning for the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank, several branches of the US government, the US Foreign Service Institute and many other international organizations.
Schirch holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Waterloo, Canada, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.
Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts
- UN Development Program, "Covid-19, Disinformation and Social Media" July 13, 2020
- University of Notre Dame Peace Sustainable Peace Conference plenary panelist on “State of the Field of Peacebuilding: The Tech/Terror Nexus” November 10, 2019.
- Alliance for Peacebuilding PeaceCon Conference Plenary Panelist on “Building Digital Peace” October 2, 2019.
- UN General Assembly 2019 Side Event: “Violent Extremism in the University” hosted by the European Union and Global Community Engagement and Resilience, Plenary Panelist, September 26, 2019
- Polarization and the Public Square: First Amendment Voice, Plenary Panelist on social media technology, polarization and free speech, September 20-21, 2019
- RESOLVE Global Forum on Violent Extremism at the US Institute of Peace, Plenary Panelist September 18, 2019.
- “New Approaches to Human Security” Book Launch. International Institute for Social Studies. The Hague, The Netherlands. February 25, 2015.
- “Civil-Military Coordination and the Comprehensive Approach.” Civil-Military Seminar. Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Cordaid, and PAX. The Hague, The Netherlands. February 24, 2015.
- “Theories of Change on Fragility, Conflict, and Violence.” Panelist and panel organizer. World Bank Conference on Fragility, Conflict and Violence. February 13, 2015.
- “The Peace and Security Impacts of Climate Change.” Suter Science Lecture. Eastern Mennonite University. February 4, 2015.
- Human Aspects of Military Operations. Special Operations Command. November 20, 2014.
- “Taking Peace to the Pentagon.” Alumni of the Year Seminar. Conrad Grebel University College. September 20, 2014.
- Military Support to Peacebuilding. Reserve Officer’s Association. George Mason University. November 14, 2013.
- Where Religion and Peacebuilding Meet National Security. Keynote Speaker. Washington Theological Consortium Tachmindji Event for Interfaith Dialogue. American University. October 20, 2013.
- Civil Society and the US Governments Strategic Dialogue. Panelist. Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. May 17, 2012.
- Civil Society and the US Military: Problems and Prospects. April 13, 2012.
- Designing a Comprehensive Peace Process in Afghanistan. Panelist. Chatham House, London. February 20, 2012.
- An Afghan Peace Process. London School of Economics. February 2012.
- National Security from the Outside In. Panelist. Stimson Center in Washington DC. December 5, 2011.
- International Models for Stability Operations. Panelist. National Defense University’s annual conference. November 30, 2011
- Designing an Afghan Peace Process in Comparative Perspective. Panelist. US Institute of Peace. November 29, 2011.
- “Rethinking US National Interests after 9/11” James Madison University. 9/11 Conference. October 10, 2011.
- “US Support for an Afghan Peace Process” Congressional Testimony in front of House Progressive Caucus. October 6, 2011.
- “Afghan Civil Society and a Comprehensive Peace Process.” Panelist. Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace. July 7, 2011.
- “Religion, Peacebuilding & Feminism.” Presenter. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. June 26, 2011.
- “Civil Society Peacebuilding and Human Security.” Panelist. Kingston, Jamaica: World Council of Churches. May 23, 2011.
- “Civil Society: Confronting Terrorists & Tyrants” Congressional Briefing. Charity and Securiy Network. Panelist. Washington DC. April 4, 2011.
- “A Comprehensive Peace Process in Afghanistan.” Keynote Address. University of San Diego. March 30, 2011.
- “Complex Emergencies and the Responsibility to Protect” in Partnering for Change conference. Winnipeg, Manitoba. March 18, 2011.
- “Civil-Military Roadmap on Human Security” Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum. Panelist. Washington DC. March 8, 2011.
- “Civil Society Conflict Management and Whole of Government National Security”. Kennesaw State University. February 24-25, 2011.
- “How a Mennonite Came to Work with the Military” Keeney Peace Lecture. Keynote. Bluffton College. January 25, 2011.
- “Civil Society-Military Transitions and Human Security” Transitions Conference. Army War College. Panelist. November 18, 2010.
- “Civil Society Peacebuilding: Security From the Ground Up.” Vaclav Havel Symposium. Keynote. Minneapolis/St. Paul. October 6, 2010.
- “Conflict Management and Civil Society” Air Force Conference. Panelist. Washington DC. September 24, 2010.
- “A Comprehensive Peace Process for Afghanistan” National Defense University. Panelist. March 2010.
- “A Comprehensive Peace Process for Afghanistan” Pathways to Peace Conference. Panelist. Kabul, Afghanistan.April 2010.
- “A New Security Framework.” Panel Moderator. Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum. Washington, DC. April 14, 2009.
- 3D Security and Peacebuilding. Keynote Speaker. University of Notre Dame Peace Conference. April 3, 2009.
- Peacebuilding and the Federal Government. Panelist. Department for Peace Campaign/Peace Alliance National Conference. Arlington, Virginia. March 20, 2009.
- Whole of Government Conflict Prevention. Panelist. Joint Urban Warriors/Joint Forces Command.
- Military Support for Reconciliation. Joint Forces Command. Quantico, Virginia. February 24-25.
- 3D Security. Keynote speaker. Mary Baldwin College. Staunton, Virginia. November 4, 2008.
- Whole of Community Conflict Prevention. Moderator. 3D Security Initiative Conference. Capital Hill, Washington, DC. October 30, 2008.
- “Prospects for Peace in Iraq.” Panel with Guardian journalist Jonathan Steele and USIP Paul Hughs. Search for Common Ground/John Hopkins University. Washington DC. 75 attendees. March 18, 2008.
- “Security, Policy, and the Middle East.” Lecture and Dialogue. James Madison University. 100 attendees. Harrisonburg, Virginia. March 11, 2008.
- “Using Aikido in Congress: Human and Environmental Security” Keynote Address. Ecumenical Advocacy Days. Washington DC. 1000 attendees. March 8.
- “Peacebuilding in Iraq.” Lecture and Dialogue. Mennonite Peace and Justice Network. 40 attendees. Washington DC. March 7, 2008.
- “Conflict Prevention and Security.” Keynote Woolman Peace Lecture Series. George Fox University. Oregon. March 4, 2008.
- “Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws: A Pacifist Amongst the Policymakers” Chapel Presentation. George Fox University, March 4, 2008.
- “Conflict Prevention and Immigration” Catholic Social Ministry Conference. Washington DC. 200 attendees. February 26, 2007.
- “3D Security and Conflict Prevention” Quaker Annual Meeting, Dayton, Virginia. 50 attendees. November 10, 2007.
- “3D Security and Conflict Prevention” Lyceum Keynote. Harrisonburg, Virginia. 70 attendees. November 9, 2007.
- “Climate Change and Conflict Prevention” Panelist. Fulbright Annual Conference. Washington DC. 500 attendees. November 3, 2007.
- “Diplomacy and Development in Security” University of Pittsburgh. 250 attendees. October 12, 2007.
- “3D Security and US Foreign Policy” Young Leaders Summit. Lexington, Virginia 100 attendees. July 12, 2007.
- “Inter-religious Peacebuilding” Harvard Divinity School. 100 attendees. May 22, 2007.
- “Strategies for peace in Iraq and the world”. Rockhill Community Center., Perkasie, Pennsylvania. 250 attendees. May 20, 2007.
- “UN Peacebuilding and US Security” Quaker Pennwoods Retirement Community. 40 attendees. May 21, 2007.
US Foreign Policy and How It Affects Americans. Harrisonburg, Virginia. 130 attendees. April 10, 2007.
- “Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding” Ecumenical Advocacy Days Conference. Washington DC. 75 attendees. March 11, 2007.
- “Forum on Iraq: Encouraging Partnership, Creating Movement.” Panel Discussion at Eastern Mennonite University. 150 attendees. February 19, 2007.
- “3D Security: Development, Diplomacy and Defense.” Presentation to Peace Alliance Annual Conference. 740 attendees. February 4, 2007.
- “3D Security and the US Peace Movement.” Presentation to Veterans for Peace, Rockingham County, Virginia. December 7, 2006.
- “3D Security in the Next Congress” Panelist. Princeton University, New Jersey. November 12, 2006.
- “3D Security: From Rhetoric to Reality in US Foreign Policy” University of Maryland. November 2, 2006.
- “Civil Society’s Role in the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission.” Opening Address. United Nations Seminar. New York City. September 5, 2006.
- “Balancing the Security Toolkit.” Mahatma Gandhi Keynote Lecture. James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. April 12, 2006.
- “Balancing the Security Toolkit.” Harvard Law School. Boston, MA. April 5, 2006.
- “Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws.” Brandeis University. Boston, MA. April 5, 2006.
- “Peacebuilding Terminology and Communications Strategy.” International Studies Association Annual Conference. San Diego, CA. March 21, 2006.
- “Balancing the Security Toolkit.” Methodist Peace and Justice National Conference. Washington, DC. March 9, 2006.
- “Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws.” Peacebuilding Conference. University of Toronto, Canada. February 4, 2006.
- “Widening the Security Lexicon: The 3D Approach.” Keynote speaker. Peace and Security Legislative Strategy Retreat. Airlie House, Virginia. January 9, 2006.
- “Youth and Peacebuilding.” Panel discussant. Academy for Educational Development. Washington, DC. November 21, 2005.
- “How Conflict Prevention Organizations Work in Post-War Contexts.” Panel presentation at Closing the Gap between Early Warning and Early Action to Prevent Conflict: Towards a Common Agenda. Roundtable Co-Sponsored by the Department of State’s Office for the Coordinator of Reconstruction and Stabilization, U.S. Institute of Peace, Washington, DC. November 8, 2005.
- “Peacebuilding and Environmental Sustainability.” Panel presentation at Working Group on Environment and the Future. Washington, DC. November 4, 2005.
- “Civil-Military Coordination: Reflections from Iraq” Panel presentation at Civil-Military Coordination Working Group. National Defense University, Fort McNare. October 28, 2005.
- “Building Peace: Beyond Pacifism?” Keynote Address. Historic Peace Church Conference. The Courage to be Nonviolent. Indianapolis, Indiana. September 8, 2005.
- “Economic and Political Security: A Human Security Perspective.” Panel presentation at Human Security session at United Nations Department of Political Information-NGO Conference. New York City. September 7, 2005.
- “Conflict Prevention Security Strategies” Invited lecture at Governor’s School for International Studies. University of Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania.. July 7, 2005.
- “Inter-Faith Peacebuilding.” March 8, 2005. Public speech and dialogue. Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education, and Advocacy. Suva, Fiji.
- “Patriotism and Dialogue Post 9-11: Rethinking Security” April 21, 2004. Invited public lecture in Community Conversations since 9/11 series. Montgomery College, Maryland.
- “Moralizing Language and Security: Good and Evil in Political Rhetoric.” December 1, 2003. Invited public lecture in Community Conversations since 9/11 series. Montgomery College, Maryland.
- “Frameworks for Strategic Peacebuilding” November 5-7, 2003.Workshop at New Paths for Peace: Interfield Collaboration Conference. University of Minnesota, Milwaukee.
Exhibits, Performances and Productions
"A Tribe Called Mennonite" Photography, painting and visual art with written reflection
"Pax Bellissima: Photography, Painting and Pottery as Reflective Arts in Peacebuilding"
Art show at Eastern Mennonite University, November 5, 2012
Art show at Alliance for Peacebuilding, Washington DC December 10, 2012
Church, Community and Professional Service
Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF). Member, International Review Panel, in Geneva, Switzerland January 2015-present
UN Development Program
Member, International Advisory Group on Infrastructures for Peace
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
Member, International Advisory Committee, April 2014-present
-Reviewer for proposals to the Security and Rule of Law (SRoL) in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings (FCASand the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law
U.S. State Department Office on Religion and Global Affairs. Co-Chair, Religious Actors and Peace Processes Task Force (2015-2017)
Honors, Awards and Grants
Women Donors Network
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Connect US Fund
Fulbright Fellow 2002-2003
Ploughshares Foundation Mother for Peace 2007
DIY Foreign Policy Hero, Yes! Magazine, May 19, 2008
Vaclev Havel Civil Society Fellow 2010
George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis & Resolution Alumni of the Year, 2012
Conrad Grebel University College Alumni of the Year, 2014
Alliance for Peacebuilding
Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict
Association for Conflict Resolution
· Digital Peacebuilding and PeaceTech: Understanding Social Media, Conflict and Violent Extremism
· Social Media Technology, Democracy and Social Cohesion
· Approaches to Violent Extremism and Terrorism
· Conflict Analysis and Assessment
· Conflict Transformation Skills I and II
· American Politics
· Comparative Politics in the Middle East
· Human Rights Law and Law of Armed Conflict
· Designing and Facilitating Intergroup Dialogue
· Peace Processes and Strategic Planning
· Nonviolent Social Movements and Political Change
· State-Society Coordination in Governance
· Media and Arts-based Political Movements
· Gender Analysis and Conflict