Schirch Biography

lisa close upClick here for a bio specifically on my work on Israel and Palestine.

I am a mother of two children, wife, writer, political scientist, professor, Mennonite, artist, gardener, biker, and swimmer. I live in the Shenandoah Valley.


B.A. in Political Science and International Relations, University of Waterloo
Ph.D., M.S. Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University


Lisa Schirch is Professor of the Practice of Peacebuilding and the Starmann Chair in Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. She is also a Senior Research Fellow for the Toda Peace Institute where she directs the Institute’s “Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding” programme to study the impact of social media on conflict dynamics, and to map how new technologies contribute to peacebuilding.

Schirch is also a Senior Fellow with the Alliance for Peacebuilding  where she chairs the Working Group on Digital Peacebuilding. She taught in the graduate Conflict Transformation Program at Eastern Mennonite University for 25 years.

A former Fulbright Fellow in East and West Africa, Schirch is the author of ten books and numerous peer-reviewed chapters and journal articles. Her books have been translated into Arabic, Spanish, German, Korean, French, and Thai. In 2018, Schirch published an edited book on The Ecology of Violent Extremism, an action guide for Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding with US Institute of Peace, and an edited volume on Social Media Impacts on Conflict and Democracy: The Tech-tonic Shift.

As a practitioner, Schirch has facilitated and participated in the design of national peace processes in Fiji and Afghanistan and written extensively about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Schirch has conducted conflict assessments and participated in peacebuilding planning alongside local civil society colleagues in over 20 countries. Schirch has worked as a consultant for the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank, and the governments of Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the US.

Schirch 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 in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Settings. From 2015-2017, Schirch co-chaired a working group at the US State Department on engagement with religious actors by the Office on Religion and Global Affairs.

As a trainer and professor, Schirch holds over 20 years of training and universtiy-based teaching experience using interactive and scenario-based pedagogies that blend theory and hands-on practice. Schirch taught hundreds of students from over 80 different countries at the premier global Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and Summer Peacebuilding Institute at Eastern Mennonite University, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee. She has taught at over a dozen universities around the world, in rural settings in remote villages, and has taught regular classes at the US Foreign Service Institute and many military academies.

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. This project emerged out of ten years of engagement with the US military, including teaching at over a dozen military academies and training centers in the US and abroad, to foster awareness of peacebuilding alternatives to responding to terrorism.

In 2014, Schirch published a book and website with accompanying teaching tools for Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Planning.

Schirch also creates social change-oriented art reflecting on the challenges and opportunities of peacebuilding through photography, ceramics, and oil painting. She writes and teaches courses on ritual, symbol, and arts-based methodologies for peacebuilding.




Social Media Impacts on Conflict and Democracy: The Tech-tonic Shift. (Edited by Lisa Schirch. Sydney: Routledge. April 2021).

The Ecology of Violent Extremism: Perspectives on Peacebuilding & Human Security. (Edited by Lisa Schirch. London: Rowman & Littlefield. September 2018).

Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Planning: Toward a Participatory Approach to Human Security. (Lisa Schirch. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2014).

Designing a Comprehensive Peace Process for Afghanistan. (Lisa Schirch. Washington, D.C. U.S. Institute of Peace. PeaceWorks, September 2011.

Ritual and Symbol in Peacebuilding (Lisa Schirch. Boulder, CO: Kumarian Press, 2004).

Civilian Peacekeeping: Preventing Violence and Making Space for Democracy (Lisa Schirch. Uppsala, Sweden: Life & Peace Institute, 1998).


Little Book of Dialogue on Difficult Subjects. (D. Campt and L. Schirch. Good Books, 2007).

Little Book of Strategic Peacebuilding. (L. Schirch. Intercourse, PA: Good Books, 2005).


Synergizing Nonviolent Action & Peacebuilding Action Guide. (Nadine Bloch and Lisa Schirch. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace. July 2018).

Handbook on Human Security: A Civil-Military-Police Curriculum. (L. Schirch. The Hague: Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, 2016).

Local Ownership in Security: Case Studies of Peacebuilding Approaches. (L. Schirch with Deborah Mancini-Griffoli. The Hague: Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, 2016).

Women in Peacebuilding Training Manual 2006 (L. Schirch. Rockingham, VA: Eastern Mennonite University, 2003).



Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts

  • “Conflict Assessment and Peacebuilding Planning.” Seminar. UK Stabilization Unit in Whitehall, London, February 26, 2015.
  • “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. 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 Artwork

  • Art show at Conrad Grebel University College, June 2016
  • Ar show at Central District Mennonite Conference, June 2017
  • Art show at Community Mennonite Church, July 2017

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

Shalom Mennonite Church Sunday School teacher

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

US Institute of Peace

Reviewer, Afghanistan Grant Program

Honors, Awards and Grants


Women Donors Network

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Ploughshares Fund

Connect US Fund

Colombe Foundation

Compton Foundation

Ford Foundation


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

Professional Memberships

Alliance for Peacebuilding

Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict

Association for Conflict Resolution