2014 Opening Policy Plenary: People of Hope: Justice and Peace Shall Embrace

2014_ead_puzzle_topper…As people of hope, we are consoled by the promise that “justice and peace shall embrace” (Psalm 85:10), and are reminded that justice requires peace-making and that peace requires justice-making. We will confront and imagine how to transform the violence in our world…



Keynote Speakers

Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love,  Professor of International Relation, Politics Department, The Catholic University of America; Core Group Member, Department of State’s Working Group on Religion and Foreign Policy, and expert on international security and peacebuilding


At the request of the speaker, the powerpoint for this plenary is not available.

Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love is a tenured Associate Professor of International Relations in the Politics Department of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She is on the Core Group for the Department of State’s working group on Religion and Foreign Policy, charged with making recommendations to the Secretary of State and the Federal Advisory Commission on how the US government can better engage with civil society and religious actors in foreign policy.

She served as  a Fellow at the Commission on International Religious Freedom, where she is working with the Foreign Service Institute in creating new training and education materials on religion and foreign policy. USCIRF was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and the Congress.

She teaches graduate and undergraduate International Relations courses at Catholic University and the Pentagon, such as “Security, Peace Studies, Just Peace, U.S. Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Globalization,” and “The Problem of Sovereignty.” Her recent International Relations publications include Beyond Sovereignty: Issues for a Global Agenda (4th Edition, 2011), Morality Matters: Ethics and the War on Terrorism (forthcoming at Cornell University Press), “What Kind of Peace Do We Seek?” a book chapter on peacebuilding, in Notre Dame University’s volume on The Ethics and Theology of Peacebuilding (Orbis 2011), “The Church and Global Governance” chapter for a Vatican book volume on Pacem in Terris, and “Women, Religion, and Peace” chapter for a U.S. Institute of Peace book Exploring the Invisible.

She serves on the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ International Justice and Peace Committee, where she advises the bishops on international affairs and U.S. foreign policy, and engages in advocacy with the U.S. government; the Advisory Board of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, a network of practitioners, academics, clergy, and laity from around the world in the field of Catholic peacebuilding; and the board and Communications Committee of Jesuit Refugee Services, an international refugee relief and advocacy group active in over 60 countries.

An alumna of the Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D.), the University of Texas at Austin (M.A.), and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelpha (B.A.), Dr. Love is a frequent speaker on international affairs issues, as when she spoke on “Religious Peacebuilding” at the Vatican and at the United Nations. She is a columnist for America Magazine and a recipient of the 2009 Best Columnist Catholic Press Award. As a former Pew Faculty Fellow and a current consultant for Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Dr. Love regularly gives faculty development workshops on religion and world politics, and case and participatory teaching techniques.

She serves on the editorial board of Rowman & Littlefield’s New Millennium book series.  She was a fellow at the U.S. Naval Academy’s Center for Military Ethics 2002-2003, is a former governing board member of Women in International Security, and is the founder of the Political Psychology Section of the American Political Science Association.

Maryann Cusimano Love lives on the Chesapeake Bay outside of Washington, D.C., with her husband Richard and three young children, Maria, Ricky, and Ava, who inspired her New York Times best-selling children’s books, You Are My I Love You, You Are My Miracle, You Are My Wish, You Are My Wonders, and Sleep, Baby, Sleep.


Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, Director of Public Witness, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)


Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, serves as Director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness (OPW) in Washington, DC. The Office of Public Witness is a prophetic office of the denomination and implements the social justice agenda of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) through advocacy with the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. The OPW also engages in a broad range of activities with Presbyterian congregations and structures, providing constituency education materials and arranging briefings and conferences. Nelson believes that grassroots organizing within the denomination is a major key to impacting the prophetic witness and political sphere in today’s globalized culture.

Engaging in ecumenical leadership and advocacy, Dr. J. Herbert, together with nearly a dozen other national religious leaders, was arrested in July of 2012 in the U.S. Capitol Building while engaging in prayer and civil disobedience in the Capitol Rotunda. Frustrated that their pleas to the Administration and Congress to protect funding for the nation’s most vulnerable people are being ignored, the leaders refused to end their public prayers for an equitable resolution to the debt ceiling debate, despite repeated warnings from the U.S. Capitol Police.

Dr. Nelson is married to the Reverend Gail Porter Nelson and the father of an 18 year old daughter, Alycia Yvette Nelson. He is a third generation Presbyterian Pastor, who, before coming to Washington, served as Founder/Pastor of Liberation Community Presbyterian Church (LCC) in Memphis, Tennessee. LCC was chartered on April 11, 1999 and was the first African-American Church developed in the Presbytery of Memphis in forty-six years. The ministry received the prestigious Walton Grant, which is awarded by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for outstanding work in New Church Development. Liberation Community is an African-centered congregation committed to evangelizing the poor to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

As an extension to his community-based ministry, Dr. Nelson served as Associate Director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis. As a consultant, he provided staff development training for Teacher Specialists, Curriculum Specialists and Principal Leaders who provide assistance for low-performing schools.

Before going to Liberation Community Church, Dr. Nelson served as Pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church, a redeveloping congregation located in a thriving, middle-class area in Greensboro, North Carolina, ultimately leaving there to go to Memphis to be more actively involved in social justice work. During his eleven year tenure as Pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church, Nelson began the Doctor of Ministry Program at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary. His dissertation, “A Community Based Model of An African American New Church Development in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)” focused on the educational needs of poor African American children. He graduated with distinction in May 2002.

A third generation graduate of Johnson C. Smith University (Presbyterian University founded in 1865), Dr. Nelson earlier earned a B.A. in Political Science/Urban Studies in 1981. In 1985, he earned the Master of Divinity degree from Johnson C. Smith Seminary (third generation graduate) at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

J. Herbert, as he is commonly known, serves as preacher, workshop leader, consultant and writer. He is a featured conference preacher at Montreat, Mo Ranch, Highlands-Colorado, and Massanetta Springs Conference Centers in the Presbyterian Church. His writings have appeared in Presbyterians Today and The Outlook. He is a member of several boards and professional organizations. Nelson has traveled to South Africa (1983), Geneva, Switzerland (1992), Montego Bay, Jamaica (1993, 2007), and Havana, Cuba (1999 and 2000) on behalf of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and is now devoting considerable time to meeting with congregations and presbyteries throughout the United States.


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