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Lessons that lead toward peace | Harvard Gazette

At the Harvard Divinity School’s HDS convocation Thursday, new Dean David Hempton drew on the memory of violence he has witnessed to offer hopeful visions for the future. During a moving keynote address, Hempton reflected on religious and ethnic conflict, and suggested ways to move beyond it.

Harvard Divinity School Dean David Hempton: “Very occasionally, the human desire for peace and justice surprises you.”

Hempton, a prominent scholar of global Christianity and Harvard’s Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies, described how he arrived at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1970, as sectarian violence between Catholics and Protestants engulfed the city. He said his “almost surreal memories” of those years are filled with images of revenge killings, masked men armed with automatic weapons, bombings, armed soldiers, armored cars, and “a seemingly endless succession of funerals.”

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