The PACIS Project in Faith-Based Diplomacy represents a bold, unique and forward-looking initiative of Pepperdine University that opens the Straus Institute of the Law School to a whole new constituency prepares the next generation of peacemakers to bring a well tested methodology of faith-based intervention into the arena of intractable identity-based conflict and enables Pepperdine University to establish itself as a pioneer and leader in defining the emerging field of faith-based diplomacy.

First of all, the PACIS Project represents an academic concentration within the Straus Institute designed to appeal to people of faith from all over the world in the fields of diplomacy, national security, religious and humanitarian organizations as well as denominational executives.  This represents a whole new constituency for the law school in training senior, civil society and grassroots leaders in the field of faith-based conflict intervention in situations where legal remedies are not possible or not relevant to the conflict.  On one occasion the Foreign Minister of Sudan expressed his desire to see all his diplomats trained in faith-based diplomacy.  National security leaders at the Pentagon are recognizing the need and relevance of smart power; soft diplomacy that focuses on the engagement of “hearts and minds”.

Secondly, the PACIS Project provides a framework and discipline for training the next generation of peacemakers in a specific methodology of conflict intervention that integrates the principles and practices of the various faith traditions with the best methodology in the field of conflict resolution in an international or cross cultural context.  The faith-based reconciliation process is an innovative approach to diplomacy and peacemaking that has been developed over the past twenty years by Professor Brian Cox who brings together a unique background in politics, theological and pastoral training, conflict resolution and international experience.  This approach is defined by eight core values and a deliberative process that focuses on creating a reconciling spirit between antagonists as a prelude to constructive joint problem solving.

Finally, the PACIS Project establishes Pepperdine as a leader in pioneering and defining an emerging discipline of the twenty-first century.  As an emerging discipline, faith-based diplomacy is new to the field of international politics and statecraft.  As such, it is still in the process of being shaped and defined.  Hence, there is no other academic institution in the world that has associated its name and reputation with the field of “faith-based diplomacy.”  Therefore, it is an opportunity for Pepperdine University, the Law School, and specifically, the Straus Institute to be at the “head of the line” in a discipline that is attracting growing interest in foreign ministries, national security agencies and nongovernmental organizations all over the world.