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
Dr. Lisa Schirch is Senior Research Fellow for the Toda Peace Institute where she directs the Institute’s “Social Media and Peacebuilding” programme to commission policy briefs and case studies on the impact of social media on conflict dynamics, to encourage civil society to participate in a “Digital Neighborhood Watch” programme that brings the skills of conflict resolution to social media, and in organising a 2020 Global Summit on Peacebuilding.
Schirch is also a Senior Fellow with the Alliance for Peacebuilding and Visiting Scholar at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. She holds a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. She taught in the graduate programme on peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University for 23 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 a report on Peacebuilding Perspectives on Social Media Impacts.
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.
- The Ecology of Violent Extremism: Perspectives on Peacebuilding and Human Security (Edited by Lisa Schirch. London: Rowman & Littlefield. September 2018)
- “Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding” (Nadine Bloch and Lisa Schirch. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace. July 2018)
- Handbook on Human Security: A Civil-Military-Police Curriculum. (The Hague: Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, 2016.)
- Local Ownership in Security: Case Studies of Peacebuilding Approaches (Lisa Schirch with Deborah Mancini-Griffoli. The Hague: Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, 2016.)
- 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.
- Little Book of Dialogue on Difficult Subjects. (David Campt and Lisa Schirch. Good Books, 2007.)
- Little Book of Strategic Peacebuilding (Lisa Schirch. Good Books, 2005).
- Ritual and Symbol in Peacebuilding (Lisa Schirch. Kumarian Press, 2004.)
- Civilian Peacekeeping: Preventing Violence and Making Space for Democracy (Lisa Schirch. Uppsala, Sweden: Life & Peace Institute, 1998).
RECENT CHAPTERS & REPORTS
- Mapping Responses to Social Media Threats. Report. Toda Peace Institute. March 2018.
- Social Media Impacts on Social and Political Goods: A Peacebuilding Perspective. Policy Brief. Toda Peace Institute. October 2018
- “Ritual in an Age of Terror: From Trump to the Taliban” by L. Schirch in Living in Uncertain Times: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Trauma and Ritual. Edited by Jeltje Gordon-Lennox. Forthcoming, 2019.
- “Ritual, Religion, and Peacebuilding.” Schirch, L. in The Oxford Handbook of Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding. Edited by R. Scott Appleby, Atalia Omer, and David Little. March 2015.
- “Civil Society Experiences of, Conflicts with, and Recommendations for Civilian-Military Teams.” Schirch, L. in Unity of Mission. Edited by Melanne Civic and Jon Gunderson. Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 2015.
- “Research Gaps on Civil-Military Policy Trends.” Schirch, L. in Humanitarian Exchange. Issue 61. May 2014.
- “Whole of Society Conflict Prevention: A Case Study on Kenya’s Success Contrasted with Failures in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Schirch, L. in Understanding Complex Military Operations: A case study approach. Edited by Karen Guttieri, Volker Franke, Melanne Civic. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014.
- “Separate Tracks, Common Goals: Preventing Genocide and Conflict” Schirch, L. in Building Peace. September 2013. pp. 17-20.
- “Frameworks for Understanding Women as Victims and Peacebuilders.” Schirch, L. in Defying Victimhood: Women and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding. Albrecht Schnabel and Anara Tabyshalieva. UN University Press, 2012.
- Designing a Comprehensive Peace Process for Afghanistan.” Schirch, L. Washington, D.C. U.S. Institute of Peace. PeaceWorks, September 2011.
- When and Why to Use the Media for Peacebuilding L. Schirch and V. Bratic. The Hague: Global Partnership for the PRevention of Armed Conflict. 2011.
- Strategic Arts-based Peacebuilding Lisa Schirch and Michael Shank. Peace and Change.Volume 33, Issue2. April 2008. Pages 217-242
- “Trauma Triggers and Narratives on Israel and Palestine.” L. Schirch. Journal of Peacebuilding and Development. Volume 13, No. 3, 2018.
- Diverse Mennonite Theologies of and Approaches to the State. L. Schirch. Mennonite Life. Issue 2018, Vol 72.
How Mennonites reckon with our history in the Holocaust. The Mennonite. March 26, 2018.
- “Separate Tracks, Common Goals: Preventing Genocide and Conflict” Schirch, L. in Building Peace. September 2013. pp. 17-20.
- Peacebuilding in a Divided, Pacifist Church. with Verne Schirch. The Mennonite. August 1, 2014
- From Solferino to Peacebuilding – A Family Tradition of Humanitarianism. InterCross: Blog of the International Committee of the Red Cross. June 23, 2014.
- Civil-Military Interaction for Peacebuilding. The University of Notre Dame. Online Peace Policy Journal. March 24, 2014.
- Military Support to Peacebuilding. Policy Brief for the Alliance for Peacebuilding. November 14, 2013.
- Getting Off the Wheel of Misfortune: US Policy & Syrian suffering. Schirch, L. Huffington Post. August 29, 2013.
- She Didn’t Have a Gun… She had MLK’s Dream. Schirch, L. Huffington Post. August 23, 2013.
- Training military forces in local capacity. Schirch, L. Local First. January 8, 2013.
- On Massacres, Masculinity, Human Rights and Gun Rights. Schirch, L. Huffington Post. December 17, 2012.
- “’Having it All’ Myths: An Addendum to Ann Marie Slaughter.” Schirch, L. Huffington Post. September 7, 2012.
- “9 Costs of Drone Strikes.” Schirch, L. Huffington Post. June 28, 2012.
- Kony 2012 and the Failed Fantasy of Firepower. Schirch, L. Huffington Post. March 10, 2012.
- Qur’an burnings indicate need for mission overhaul. Schirch, L. and Karim Merchant. Common Ground News Service. 28 February 2012
- “Can the Tribes of NATO help the Tribes of Afghanistan?”. Schirch, L. Huffington Post. October 12, 2011.
- Six Things to Grieve on 9/11 Anniversary. Schirch, L. Huffington Post. September 11, 2011.
- Beyond “Beneficiaries”- The Changing Landscape of Local Civil Society Development. Schirch, L. Washington, D.C.: InterAction. July 2011.
- Drones Mobilize Pakistani Nonviolent Movement. Huffington Post .April 2011.
- A 3D Approach to US Foreign Policy. Huffington Post. February 2011.
- Confessions of a modern day pacifist. The Mennonite. January 2011.
- Egypt and the US “We Know Best” Syndrome. Huffington Post. January 2011.
- Reconciliation in the War of Symbols: Ground Zero, the Islamic Center, and the Florida Church. Huffington Post. September 2010.
- Civil Society-Military Relations in Afghanistan. US Institute of Peace. September 2010.
- What Washington Should Learn From the Death of Aid Workers in Afghanistan. Huffington Post. August 2010.
- Supreme Court Ruling Impacts Peacebuilding in Afghanistan. Huffington Post. July 2010.
- Civil Society and the US Government in Conflict-Affected Regions: Building Better Relations for Peacebuilding. Woodrow Wilson Center. June 2010.
- Peacebuilding in US Foreign Assistance. February 2010.
- A Diplomatic Surge in Afghanistan? Common Ground News Service. 26 January 2010.
- Missing Elements of a Comprehensive Strategy in Afghanistan. Huffington Post. November 2009.
- God’s Security Strategy. Sojourners Magazine. November 2009.
- The Costs of Drone Strikes Quantum Blur: Bringing Clarity to Civil-Military Relationships in a 3D WorldMonday Developments August 2009.
- “God’s Security Strategy: Reconciliation Up, Out, and Down” Yale Divinity School Reflections May 2009.
- Security from the Ground Up: Civil Society and the Security-Development Nexus. Journal of International Peace Operation. May 1, 2009.
- Afghan civil society speak out on US policy. Common Ground News Service. February 3, 2009.
- A “right” to defence is not a “strategy” for peace. Common Ground News Service. 15 January 2009.
- Climate Change and Conflict Prevention: Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst.Monday Developments July 2008.
- Negotiation “not strikes “ needed for Iran
- The Two Wars in Iraq: Ours and Theirs
- Civilian foreign-aid agencies neglected as DoD role grows
- Redeeming the Powers, Redeeming Ourselves
- Security and Coexistence
- Leveraging “3D” Security: From Rhetoric to Reality
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
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