Poetry & Conflict Outreach Project

About the Poetry & Conflict Outreach Project

The Poetry and Conflict Outreach Project seeks to understand whether poetry can help conflicted groups focus the language of their disagreement into more fruitful, clear exchanges. 

We engage practitioners, community leaders, and others in studies, workshops and courses that incorporate poetry into the study and exploration of conflict resolution.

Using scientific methods, we study the language of participants to explore if and when the poetic methodologies of surprise, line-breaks, silence, narrative or tension influence conflicted parties’ participation, exchange, language and expectations in situations of conflict or disagreement. 

This project is based at the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University and is led by poet Pádraig Ó Tuama, PhD, and professor Peter T. Coleman. 

We offer:

  • training for community members and leaders; 
  • workshops;
  • seminars; 
  • public engagement and radio shows about poetry’s insight into the dynamics of conflict;
  • research on poetry’s impact on polarizing conversations; 
  • and academic engagement between practitioners and theoreticians.

About Pádraig Ó Tuama

Pádraig Ó Tuama’s poetry and prose center around themes of language, power, conflict and religion. His work has won acclaim in circles of poetry, politics, psychotherapy, and conflict analysis. His formal qualifications (PhD, MTh, and BA) cover creative writing, literary criticism, and theology. Alongside this, he pursued vocational training in conflict analysis, specializing in groupwork.

His published work is in the fields of poetry, anthology, essay, memoir, theology and conflict. A new volume of poetry — Kitchen Hymns — is forthcoming from CHEERIO in mid-2024.

Profiled in The New Yorker, Pádraig’s poems have been featured in Poetry Ireland Review, Academy of American Poets, Harvard Review, New England Review, Raidió Teilifís Éireann’s Poem of the Week, and the Kenyon Review.

Pádraig has told stories at The Moth, has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, has presented programs on poetry and language for BBC Radio 4; and has extended interviews with On Being, with Kim Hill on Radio NZ, and Soul Search on Radio National (Australia). In addition, he has interviewed poets and public figures including former President of Ireland Mary McAleese, Hanif Abdurraqib, The Edge, Sarah Perry, Joy Harjo, Billy Collins, and Martin Hayes.

Padraig O Tuama


Thank You to our Funding Partners

Including, but not limited to:


Hearthland Embers Fund

Founded by Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg in 2019, The Hearthland Foundation was built to harness creativity and nurture moral imagination in service of our country. Still in its early development, the Foundation works alongside many to help create a more just, equitable, and connected America.

Specifically, The Hearthland Foundation makes grants, co-creates projects, and facilitates strategic collaborations among charitable organizations. Their three areas of focus are: 

  • Building a shared democracy
  • Telling an honest and generative narrative about this country
  • Fostering a culture of accompaniment
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