Birdsall co-authors new report on transatlantic cooperation on religious freedom

FORB report coverCIRIS managing director Judd Birdsall has co-authored a new policy report on FoRB – Recognising our Differences can be Our Strength: Enhancing Transatlantic Cooperation on Promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief. The briefing is the outcome of two 2015 transatlantic policy dialogues on ‘Freedom of Religion or Belief and Foreign Policy’, one at Wilton Park in the United Kingdom in February 2015 and the other at Georgetown University in the United States in October 2015. The project was funded by a ‘Bridging Voices’ grant from the British Council awarded to the University of Sussex and the University of Notre Dame, in partnership with the European University Institute and the University of Milan. The final report was co-authored by Judd Birdsall, Fabio Petito, Dan Philpott, and Silvio Ferrari.

The Policy Brief suggests a shift in policy emphasis and put forward 7 key recommendations to enhance transatlantic cooperation on the promotion of FoRB worldwide:

1.Draw upon transatlantic church-state differences as an asset
2 ‘IRF’ vs ‘FoRB’ – Be mindful of the subtle differences in language
3 Seek collaboration between ‘religious freedom’ and ‘religious engagement’
4 Upgrading the listening mode – enhance knowledge of and training on FoRB
5 Build coalitions and new multilateral strategies to engage FoRB violators
6 Bolster the nascent multinational and transnational FoRB networks
7 Share stories of struggling with religious diversity


For media or other enquiries on the Policy Brief, please contact

In Europe:
Dr Fabio Petito
Department of International Relations
School of Global Studies
University of Sussex, UK

In North America:
Professor Daniel Philpott
Center for Civil and Human Rights
University of Notre Dame, USA

Back to Publications
Filed Under

News & Events

8th Dec 2017

CIRIS Co-sponsors 2-day Workshop on ‘Islam and Space in Europe’

CIRIS Research Associates Tobias Muller and Chris Moses organised a workshop, “Religious? Secular? Re-thinking Islam and Space in Europe”,  together with Adela Taleb (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). CIRIS was one of the sponsors of the two-day event, which brought together twenty scholars from a diverse range of fields, including anthropology, political science, music, architecture, geography, sociology, criminology, […]



13th Jul 2017

CIRIS Research Associate Tobias Müller Contributes Chapter to Report on Muslims in Europe

13 July 2017 – CIRIS Graduate Research Associate Tobias Müller recently contributed a chapter in a report on Muslims in the UK and Europe published by the Centre for Islamic Studies at Cambridge University. Müller’s chapter, ‘Constructing Islam and Secularism in the German Islam Conference,’ argues that beyond the intentions expressed by government officials, the aims of the […]


Our Work

Equipping academics

At CIRIS, we aim to equip students and scholars in Cambridge and beyond with a robust and nuanced appreciation for the role of religion in international politics that they will take with them into their future research and/or practice around the world. To this end, we host public lectures, academic seminars, and other events. We are also pursuing research projects that draw on the contributions of Cambridge-based academics.

Engaging the public

We use our platform at Cambridge to influence the public conversation on matters of faith and politics—in the UK and around the world. CIRIS enjoys strong links to key governments, media outlets, religious groups, NGOs, civic leaders, and scholars. We want our website and social media platforms to provide a dynamic space for disseminating and discussing the contributions of our staff, associates, and partners.

Supporting diplomats

CIRIS serves as the secretariat for the Transatlantic Policy Network on Religion and Diplomacy (TPNRD). We facilitate communication, coordination, and collaboration among this community of diplomats from Europe and North America who have a responsibility for religion-related issues within their respective foreign ministries. The work of the TPNRD secretariat is generously supported by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Subscribe to CIRIS Updates

Clare College, Trinity Lane
Cambridge, CB2 1TL