USF Interfaith Nonviolence Initiative

Overview of the Initiative

Supported by a grant from the Koret Foundation associated with the USF President’s Discretionary Fund for Faculty Research, the USF Interfaith Nonviolence Initiative (the Initiative) will be convened during the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years by the USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice (INSJ) and the Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition (the Lane Center), in partnership with USF’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, and the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, and in close association with the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, and several USF graduate programs.

The 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).  Each collaborative team will conduct community-based research investigating a specific research question.

The two-year Initiative will culminate in spring 2024, with a final academic conference in which the research results and learning outcomes will be presented to the USF community.  In addition, also in spring 2024, we plan to convene a broader gathering of San Francisco-based, national and global faith leaders to promote interfaith dialogue and collaboration to promote nonviolence.   This conference will be designed to include significant participation by members of the USF community and San Francisco-based faith congregations and civic organizations.


Research Teams

Amy Argenal, MIMS: Sanctuary Movement in the SF Bay Area

Dellanira Garcia, SONHP, David A. Martínez, SONHP, and Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, SOE: Un Milagro de Dios (A Miracle of God): Experiences of Community Service Providers Working with Marginalized Latinx Communities Under Systems of Oppression, Hostility, and Violence.

Bill Ong Hing, Law and MIMS: How can gang and domestic violence be decreased in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras?

Susan Roberta Katz, SOE: Decolonizing education in comparative indigenous communities (Misak community in Columbia/Ohlone community in CA)

Saera Khan, Psychology: Understanding the Mental and Social Support Needs of Marginalized Members of a Religious Community

Jane Pak, MIMS: Working with student activists to investigate nonviolent resistance to the military junta in Burma.

Oren Kroll Zeldin, JSSJ/ THRS: Co-Resistance in Israel/Palestine


Steering Committee

Pamela Balls Organista, Senior Vice President for Equity, Inclusion, and Faculty Excellence and Professor of Psychology 

Erin Brigham, Executive Director of the Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition

Derrick Brown, Senior Director of the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at the University of San Francisco

Joshua Gamson, Associate Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology

Jonathan D. Greenberg, Director of the Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice

Aaron Hahn Tapper, Mae and Benjamin Swig Professor in Jewish Studies and Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice

Aysha Hidayatullah, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies