Al Fuertes

Al Fuertes

Al Fuertes


Facilitation and dialog, global education, psychosocial trauma healing, conflict resolution/transformation, theology of struggle, liberation theology, peacebuilding, anti-human trafficking, and displacement issues

Dr. Al Fuertes' fields of interest and specialization include facilitation and intercultural/interreligious dialogue; global education and cross-cultural experiential learning; conflict resolution/transformation and peacebuilding; community-based psychosocial trauma healing as a component of peacebuilding and community development; refugee and internal displacement; sustainability of indigenous communities in Southeast Asia; anti-human trafficking, ecumenism, and spirituality; theology of struggle/people’s theology/liberation theology. Dr. Fuertes holds a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution (2007) from George Mason University, and an MA in Peace Studies (1997) from the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Indiana, USA. He finished his Bachelor of Theology (magna cumlaude) from Silliman University Divinity School, Philippines.

Al is a field practitioner and consultant who specializes in community-based trauma healing as an integral component in peacebuilding and conflict transformation. He travels extensively around the world, particularly in places affected by war, armed conflict, and natural disasters. Al works with government, religious, military, and community leaders, as well as NGO development workers, school administrators, teachers, youth, refugees, and internally displaced persons. He is the faculty director of the global education program in the Philippines, a 6-credit summer course in Human Trafficking, Environmental Issues, and Grassroots Peacebuilding; the Cambodia program, a 3-credit winter course in Post Genocide, Community Development, and Spirituality; including the one in Rwanda, another 3-credit winter course in Genocide, Healing, and Reconciliation - all programs are through Mason's Global Education Office. Al is an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ (UCC) and currently works as a Covenant minister of UCC Wellspring in Centreville, VA. 

Dr. Fuertes is a Senior Scholar in the Center for the Advancement of Well-being at Mason. He is the recipient of the 2023 University Life Partnership Award and was granted the 2020 Inspiration Award by the Centreville Immigration Forum (CIF), in recognition of his contributions and service to the community, the 2019 Global Peacebuilder Award by the Daniel Fissell Music Foundation, the 2019 Outstanding Sillimanian Award, and the Alumni Recognition (2019) for his work in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation by the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. He also received the 2015 Spirit of King Award, the 2014 Oscar Mentoring Excellence Award, the 2008 GMU Teaching Excellence Award, and the 2001 AT&T Asia-Pacific Leadership Award.

Current Research

Teaching Methodologies on Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Rwanda.

Voluntary repatriation of Karen refugees to Burma.

Prosecution and conviction of human trafficking cases in the Philippines.

Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka, post-conflict.

Selected Publications

Fuertes, Al, and Kelley Dugan. 2021. "Spirituality through the Lens of Students in Higher Education." Religions 12: 924.

Fuertes, Al. 2016. "Karen Refugees Describe Peace within the Context of Displacement." Conflict Resolution Quarterly. Vol. 33, Issue 3, Spring, pp. 297-312.

Fuertes, Al 2016. "Peacebuilders in Mindanao Describe Consciousness and Transformation Towards Effective Practice." Kinaadman, Xavier University.

Fuertes, Al and Wayland, Mary. 2015. “Cultivating Mindfulness through Meditation in a Classroom Setting from Students' Perspective.” Vol. 7. DOI :;

Fuertes, Al. 2014. Book Review of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and its Relevance in Philippine Context.” Kinaadman Academic Journal, Vol. 26. Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan.

Fuertes, Al B. 2012. "Transformative Impact of Storytelling in the Philippines." Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Volume 29 Number 3 Spring.

Fuertes, Al. 2010. "Peacebuilders in Southeast Asia Describe the Dynamic Interplay Between Consciousness and Transformation Towards Effective Practice." Alternative Perspectives in the Humanities and the Social Sciences. Ed. Otto F. von Feigenblatt. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences, Inc., pp. 1-12.

Fuertes, Al. 2010. "Rethinking How We Channel Relief Assistance and Humanitarian Services to Refugees and Internally Displaced Communities in Southeast Asia." Development and Conflict in the 21st Century. Ed. Otto F. von Feigenblatt. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences, Inc., pp. 4-26.

Fuertes, Al B. 2010. "Birds Inside A Cage: Metaphor for Karen Refugees." Social Alternatives. First Quarter, Volume 29:1: 2010.

Fuertes, Al. 2008. Community-based Warviews, Resiliency and Healing. VDM Verlag Dr. Mueller e.K. (Book)

Fuertes, Al. 2007. “Descriptions of War and Healing by Karen Refugees on the Thai-Burmese border.” Taiwan International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 201-218.

Fuertes, Al. 2006. “Experiences and Views on War: Voices from War-affected Communities.” Social Justice: Anthropology, Human Rights and Peace (6)1, pp. 134-148.

Fuertes, Al. 2004. “In Their Own Words: Contextualizing the Discourse of (War) Trauma and Healing.” Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 4, Summer, pp. 491-501.

Courses Taught

INTS 305 Conflict Resolution/Transformation (6 credits)

INTS 314 Conflict, Trauma, and Healing (6 credits)

INTS 315 Spirituality and Conflict Transformation (6 credits)

INTS 416 Refugee, Internal Displacement, Statelessness (3 credits)

INTS 475 Forgiveness & Reconciliation in Divided Communities (3 credits)

INTS 417 Human Trafficking and Smuggling (6 credits)

INTS 475 Immigration Issues in Northern Virginia (3 credits)

INTS 475 Community Development and Fair Trade (3 credits)

CONF 695 Psychosocial Trauma and Healing (3 credits)

CONF 695 Praxis of Forgiveness and Reconciliation (3 credits)

CONF 795 Trauma-informed and Resilience-oriented Practice (1 credit)

Mentorship to students in their Individualized Studies programs and Independent Studies


Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University (2007)

M.A. in Peace Studies, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, IN (1997)

Bachelor of Theology, Silliman University, Dumaguete, Philippines (1990)

Organizational Affiliations

Board of Directors. Educators’ Institute for Human Rights. Spring 2020.

Advisory Board. Mason DREAMers. Fall 2019 – present.

Advisory Board. Kindness Sharing Project. 2018 – present.

President, Daniel Fissell Music Foundation (DFMF). 2012 - present.



In the Media

Featured (Radio Interview). Justlove - the weekly, national radio broadcast on Sirius Catholic Channel on Easter through the Lens of Covid. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. 31 March 2021.

Featured (Live TV Interview). “Al Fuertes on Combat Human Trafficking,” CGTN America in Washington DC. 27 October 2019.

Top Cited Article in Conflict Resolution Quarterly 2017: Fuertes, Al B.  2016, "Karen Refugees Describe Peace within the Context of Displacement." Volume 33, Issue 3, Spring 2016, Pages: 297–312…/10.1002/crq.21158/abstract

Featured (Podcast). “Healing Displacement.” With Good Reason, Virginia Humanities. Spring 2019.

Featured (Podcast). “One Man’s Story of War and Peace.” Pushing the Parameter. The Clearing, Washington DC. Released in August 2017.

Featured (Live TV Interview), “The Problem of Sex Trafficking,” CCTV America in Washington DC. 30 October 2015.

Featured. “Labor in Curriculum.” George Mason University’s Global Citizenship Report; United Nations Global Compact Communication on Progress. 1 July 2013, p. 12.