Susan Hayward

Susan Hayward

Susan Hayward directs the USIP efforts to advance conflict prevention, resolution and reconciliation projects targeting the religious sector, and she coordinates the Institute’s overall programming in Burma/Myanmar. Since joining the Institute in 2007, her field work has focused on Colombia, Iraq, Burma/Myanmar and Sri Lanka. From 2010-2012 she coordinated an initiative exploring the intersection of women, religion, conflict and peacebuilding in partnership with the Berkley Center at Georgetown University and the World Faiths Development Dialogue. She co-edited a forthcoming book on the topic. Her research interests include interfaith engagement in the midst of political violence, political Buddhism and the role of religion in hampering and propelling women’s work for peace and justice. She also serves on the international selection committee for the Niwano Peace Prize, which recognizes religious peacebuilders.

Prior to joining the Institute, Hayward worked with the Academy of Educational Development’s office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, as a fellow of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and with the Conflict Resolution Program at the Carter Center in Atlanta. Hayward also conducted political asylum and refugee work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Advocates for Human Rights.

Hayward studied Buddhism in Nepal and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She holds a bachelor's degree in comparative religions from Tufts University and master’s degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard Divinity School. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in theology and religious studies at Georgetown University, focusing on Buddhist and Christian theological responses to authoritarianism and conflict in Burma/Myanmar.


  • “Women of Faith and the Practice of Peacebuilding,” in Scott Appleby, John Paul Lederach, Atalia Omer and David Little (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding. Oxford: OUP, 2014.
  • “Democratization, Communal Violence, and Contesting Buddhist Narratives in Contemporary Myanmar.” With Matthew J. Walton. Policy Studies. Washington, DC: East West Center, 2014.
  • “Swords to Ploughshares, Theory to Practice: an Evolution of Religious Peacebuilding at USIP.” In Sumner B. Twiss, Marian Simion, and Rodney Peterson (eds.), Religion and Public Policy: Human Rights, Conflict, and Ethics. London: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
  • Fostering Synergies for Advancing Women’s Rights in Post-Conflict Islamic States: A Focus on Afghanistan, Egypt, and Libya.” with Hamid Khan, Kathleen Kuehnast, Manal Omar. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2013.
  • “Facilitated Religious Dialogue.” With Lucy Kurtzner-Ellenbogen. In David Smock and Dan Serwer (eds.), Facilitating Dialogue. Washington, DC: USIP Press, 2012.
  • “Buddhism and the Peace Process in Sri Lanka,” in Tim Sisk (ed), Between Terror and Tolerance: Religious Leaders and Conflict Management. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011.
  • “Collaborative Conflict Resolution in Christianity.” In Susan Thistlethwaite (ed), Interfaith Just Peacemaking. New York: Palgrave, 2011.
  • Engaging Across Divides: Interfaith Dialogue for Peace and Justice” in State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2010. London: Minority Rights Group International (July 2010). 20-29.

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