The Salam Institute was founded nearly a decade ago by Dr. Mohammed Abu-Nimer with the support of a team of academicians and practitioners well-regarded in the field of conflict resolution, peace studies, Islamic cultural studies, and international development. Dr. Abu-Nimer brought his expertise in working and publishing extensively on Arab-Israeli dialogue and peacebuilding efforts, the application of conflict resolution models in Muslim communities, inter-religious dialogue, and conflict resolution training, and evaluation of conflict resolution programs to establish an organization that can promote values of pluralism, non-violence, and human rights with an authentic Islamic and interfaith voice all over the world. In this spirit, the Salam Institute has worked in places as diverse as the West Bank and Gaza, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Mindanao Philippines, Egypt, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, the Balkans, and the United States in order to:
- Further inter-religious dialogue among Muslims and non-Muslims in Western and non- Western societies, as well as promote an action orientation towards peace and justice among the different communities.
- Explore, develop, and utilize resources in Muslim communities to contribute to peace-building and development efforts in various conflict areas in the world.
- Provide scholarly and professional knowledge and expertise to governmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals on various dimensions of political, socio-cultural, religious, and economic aspects of conflicts in the Islamic context.
- Enhance the knowledge base of Islamic models for conflict resolution and peace among practitioners, academicians, and policymakers.
- Advance the integration of local traditions and values in areas of peace, conflict resolution, and development.
The five principles that guide Salam’s work in peace building and development reflect our professional values and the spirit of interfaith dialogue itself:
Inclusivity: Recognizing that creating a space for all parties affected by a conflict will enhance the possibilities for a satisfactory resolution. Promoting inclusivity of diverse beliefs and views is essential for building healthy relationships.
Justice: In conflict situations satisfying people’s sense of justice is a precondition for reconciliation and healing. Salam’s approach is based on creating understanding and framing issues around issues of justice for the purpose of building a solid foundation for peace.
- Nonviolence: Approaches free of violence are the means of ensuring a sustainable and durable resolution of any conflict of interests or values. Regardless of their religious, national, or cultural background, individuals have the capacity to learn and practice nonviolent strategies to resolve their disputes.
Empowering Communities and Individuals: The ability to build lasting peace depends to a great extent on overcoming the asymmetries between parties. Equipping those involved in a conflict situation with knowledge, skills, access to resources, and general awareness of the conflict, its causes, and its dynamics, reduces the asymmetric power relations often inherent to conflict. It creates an atmosphere conducive to peace-building and sustainable development.
Equality: Raising awareness of people about inherent assumptions of superiority based on categorical differences such as religion, gender, class, race, and age is a central outcome of dialogue and training. Salam strives to translate the value of equality into actual practice.