Researchers awarded grant to study Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Three Notre Dame researchers—combining expertise in psychology, religion, and peace—have been awarded a grant from Notre Dame International’s Global Collaboration Initiative to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The researchers will join with a team of scholars from universities in Israel and Palestine.

Principal investigator Mark Cummings, along with Laura Miller and Atalia Omer, plans to address the conflict from a “social-ecological” perspective, focusing on the interplay between different levels of society, such as individuals, families, communities, and political groups.

Mark Cummings Mark Cummings

“It’s unlikely one can resolve political tensions between government leaders, communities and families by addressing just one level of society,” says Cummings, professor and Notre Dame Chair of Psychology and a fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. “It’s important to explore how multiple levels of society interact and interconnect.”

The research project will benefit from the perspectives of scholars from multiple areas within psychology as well as religious studies, says Miller, assistant professor of psychology and peace studies.

Laura Miller Laura Miller

“To have such diversity within a team—a clinical psychologist, a developmental psychologist, a political psychologist, and a scholar of religious studies—is rare,” Miller says. “Religion is an integral part of how people think of themselves, and a psychological evaluation that considers it is more complete.”

Atalia Omer Atalia Omer

The Global Collaboration Initiative aims to foster international research collaborations among Notre Dame faculty and scholars around the globe. The grants are provided through Notre Dame International, the office dedicated to enhancing Notre Dame’s international visibility, expanding global research, education and community engagement opportunities and strengthening international programs on and off campus.

The research team plans to build long-term relationships among scholars, using these relationships to bolster peacebuilding efforts, says Omer, assistant professor of religion, conflict and peace studies in the Kroc Institute and Department of Sociology.

“We’re looking forward to working with other parties to think constructively about processes of change in the region.”

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Originally published by Renée LaReau at on April 11, 2014.