Spring 2010 Symposium: Faith, Freedom, and Foreign Affairs: Religious Freedom and international Relations

We are used to thinking of religious freedom as a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution, and the role of religion in American politics has been a matter of widespread public debate in recent years.  But is religious freedom simply a matter of domestic policy?  Controversies relating to religious freedom, including the relationship of religion and politics, exist worldwide.  What sort of role, if any, should these global religious realities play in international relations and U.S. foreign policy?  This Symposium will address this question from a variety of perspectives.


Wear and Tear: Tensions within the Institutional Protection of Religious Human Rights

February 11, 2010

11:00 a.m., Blocker Science Auditorium; 7:30 p.m., Boyd Dining Center

Brett Heindl, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science, Virginia Wesleyan College.

What role do international institutions and documents such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the European Convention for the Protection of Fundamental Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms play in protecting religious freedom?  What can the experiences of particular groups such as Muslims in Europe tell us about the benefits and limitations of existing structures?


Faith-Based Diplomacy and the Conduct of Statecraft

February 18, 2010

11:00 a.m., Blocker Science Auditorium; 7:30 p.m., Boyd Dining Center

DouglasJohnstonphotoDouglas Johnston, Ph.D., President and Founder of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy.

Faith-based social programs have received much attention in recent years.  Is there a place for faith-based international diplomacy?  What role can or should religion play in the conduct of statecraft?  Does the American commitment to church-state separation interfere with our ability to deal constructively with global religious differences?


Global Religious Liberty and American National SecurityTomFarr_000

February 25, 2010

11:00 a.m., Blocker Science Auditorium; 7:30 p.m., Boyd Dining Center

Thomas Farr, Ph.D., Visiting Associate Professor of Religion and World Affairs and Senior Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University.

We have long understood that religious liberty, often called the “first freedom,” is essential for the flourishing of American democracy.  Might it also be an essential component of American national security?  How can the United States strengthen its security by fostering religious freedom around the world?


Religion and International Conflict

March 4, 2010

11:00 a.m., Blocker Science Auditorium; 7:30 p.m., Boyd Dining Center

ChrisSeiplephotoChris Seiple, Ph.D., President of the Institute for Global Engagement.

Religion is often seen as creating conflict in international affairs, and therefore as part of the problem.  How might religion make a positive contribution to international relations and become part of the solution?  Can religious commitments be expressed in ways that help increase international cooperation?


The Impact of American Foreign Policy on International Religious Freedom

March 10, 2010, 7:30 p.m., Boyd Dining Center

March 11, 2010, 11:00 a.m., Blocker Auditorium

ElizabethProdromouphotoElizabeth H. Prodromou, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of International Relations and Faculty Coordinator of the Master’s Program in International Relation and Religion, Boston University; Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

There are many national and international governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations whose work addresses issues of religious freedom around the world.  How do American institutions such as the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom fit into this global picture?  What are the challenges of advocating for international religious freedom as a representative of the U.S. Government?

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