Faith and business are powerful forces for peace

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Susan Kerr, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow

Dr Susan Kerr became interested in the role that companies can play in peacebuilding upon meeting business leaders committed to furthering sustainable development whilst working at the European Parliament. During this time, Susan was studying an MA in international politics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Thereafter, she went on to complete a PhD on the oil sector’s CSR in Colombia and Venezuela at the University of Bradford’s renowned peace studies department. Susan is currently studying an MBA at Durham University Business School.

Until recently, Susan led the Europe office of the human rights organisation CSW, which works to promote freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for people of all faiths or none. In this role, Susan advocated for FoRB in international fora and engaged in raising awareness of the importance of this human right to peacebuilding as well as highlighting concrete human rights violations and recommendations. Susan has regularly been invited to offer expertise by governments and international institutions as a member of civil society. She has also written several papers on themes related to FoRB including hate speech and gender as well as articles on the EU’s relationship to this human right.

Whilst at CSW, Susan was elected to serve four consecutive mandates on the Board of Coordinators of the European Platform against Religious Intolerance and Discrimination (EPRID), which brings together different faith and non-faith based organisations to promote freedom of religion or belief worldwide and she represented CSW within the Human Rights and Democracy Network (HRDN). Susan is also a member of the Board of Experts of the Conscience and Liberty journal for which she wrote the article ‘Multinational Companies Corporate Social Responsibility in Light of contemporary Global Challenges- Opening Pandora’s Box.

Besides working in the European Parliament and at CSW, Susan also held a post in academia and has lectured on wide-ranging topics including human rights and cross-cultural communication. Susan additionally holds an MA in European languages and EU studies from the University of Edinburgh and a diploma in conflict resolution from the University of Bradford. Susan speaks fluent English, French, German and Spanish and has a good understanding of Dutch, Italian and Arabic, due to time spent living in Middle East.