The theme of this year’s Amport House Conference, which has been running annually for a decade, was ‘Care after Conflict: Religion, Rebuilding and Renewal’.
In the centenary year of the Treaty of Versailles, which arguably sowed the seeds of the Second World War in Europe, and following almost two decades of conflicts triggered by 9/11, the conference reflected on the role of religion in rebuilding, reshaping and sustaining post-conflict societies. Whether in the aftermath of civil wars, armed insurgencies, or interstate conflicts, religious imperatives and religious agencies have often played a key role in humanitarian assistance, physical reconstruction, cultural and political reorientation, memorialisation and reconciliation.
They have also provided long-term assistance; material, psychological and spiritual for the victims and veterans of conflict. In some cases, post-conflict situations have proved to be crucibles of far-reaching religious change and renewal. On the other hand, religious convictions, identities and agencies have also served to compound the difficulties and tensions of post-conflict situations, becoming symbols of defeat, oppression and alienation.
They have also served to foster grievances that have contributed to further outbreaks of conflict. As an established forum for academics and military professionals, this year’s Amport House Conference focused on the mixed legacy of religious involvement in post-conflict situations, in all its global variety and complexity. Abstracts of the papers presented will appear in due course on the CDERA website.