The USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice engages in a variety of events, community engagements, and initiatives in support of our mission and values.
USF Interfaith Nonviolence Initiative
This initiative will facilitate an integrated interdisciplinary research and learning process, aligned with an Ignatian model of investigation, engaging USF faculty from a variety of academic departments and programs. Research teams led by USF faculty will include USF students and grassroots service organizations (and, in some cases, religious groups and leaders).
- Conceptual Framework: The USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice (INSJ) and the Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition in partnership with the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, will convene the USF Interfaith Nonviolence Initiative between September 2021 and May 2024. Following guidance from USF President Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., and drawing upon our diverse Bay Area context, this initiative compliments and expands the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative by adopting an interfaith framework of investigation, dialogue, and community engagement.
- Collaborative community-based research: The initiative will facilitate an integrated USF interdisciplinary research and learning process engaging USF faculty and students from throughout the university. Research teams led by USF faculty, will include USF students, grassroots service organizations and faith leaders, will conduct community-based research investigating the traumatic dynamics of violence and healing processes of nonviolence in a variety of societal areas (e.g., gender-based violence and domestic violence; gun violence and public health; police violence and restorative justice).
- Jesuit-informed inquiry: Each team will commit to the rigorous investigation of its respective research question in an Ignatian process of transformative learning that integrates encounter, analysis, reflection and action. The process of engagement, rooted in ongoing encounter with the reality of violence and experiences of nonviolence, will involve empirical research and scholarly analysis by the USF faculty and students; contributions by the participating clergy and community service leaders will include theological and ethical reflection and concrete praxis for social transformation. We will convene meetings with all team members to share with each other what we have learned and to support our mutual research.
- Alignment with the USF mission: The initiative demonstrates the university’s commitment to the prevention and reduction of violence, and the promotion of nonviolence as a central facet of Catholic social thought, advances the university’s vision of profound interfaith dialogue for social justice, collaboration, and alliance; and it strengthens USF relationships throughout San Francisco and the broader regional community based on our core educational and civic values.
- Outcomes: The initiative will generate meaningful impact by engaging USF community members in rich learning experiences; by presenting research outcomes at a major conference at USF in May 2024; by publishing final essays in an interdisciplinary book on nonviolence from interfaith perspectives; and by gathering regional, national and global faith leaders at this conference to share deep commitments to nonviolence in each faith tradition and to promote interfaith alliances to further nonviolence in theory and practice going forward.
Building Peace in West Africa
In July and August 2021, Fr. Barwende Sané trained 130 community leaders, politicians and environmental activists in nonviolence, conflict resolution and peacemaking in his native country of Burkina Faso.
Fr. Sané shared about his experience from this trip during an event in October 2021 and through a final report.