Monthly Archives: July 2017

Clare College’s CIRIS Awarded $330,000 from Luce Foundation

Cambridge, UK – The Cambridge Institute on Religion & International Studies (CIRIS), a research centre based at Clare College, Cambridge, has received a three-year grant of $330,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation in support of its role as the secretariat for the Transatlantic Policy Network on Religion and Diplomacy (TPNRD).

The TPNRD Secretariat facilitates communication, coordination, and collaboration among North American and European diplomats whose portfolios include religion-related foreign policy issues. The network is co-chaired by officials from the US State Department and the European External Action Service.

Officially established with support from the Luce Foundation in 2015, the TPNRD builds on the momentum of several antecedent initiatives, including the British Council’s Luce-funded ‘Bridging Voices’ programme. This new grant will enable the TPNRD Secretariat to continue organising biannual conferences and commissioning research papers for the TPNRD whilst also deepening engagement between diplomats and scholars by developing an academic advisory council and creating an online library of resources on religion and diplomacy.

CIRIS Managing Director Judd Birdsall also serves as Executive Director of the TPNRD. A former US diplomat himself, Birdsall received his PhD in Politics and International Studies at Clare College where he is currently a College Research Associate.

“In a world where religion continues to be a pervasive and politically salient force, for both good and ill, the TPNRD is helping our participating foreign ministries enhance their capacity to understand religious dynamics and engage religious communities,” Birdsall said. “I am grateful for the Luce Foundation’s generous support for the TPNRD’s efforts to foster transatlantic conversation and partnership in the field of religion and foreign affairs.”

Clare College Bursar Paul Warren said, “Clare College is delighted to host CIRIS and to facilitate its important work, including its role as the Secretariat for the Transatlantic Policy Network on Religion and Diplomacy.”

About the Luce FoundationThe Henry Luce Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities. Launched in 2005, the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs, aims to provide intellectual leadership, develop new paradigms for research and teaching, create new resources and networks, and enhance public understanding of and discussion about religion in the international sphere.

About the Cambridge Institute on Religion & International StudiesCIRIS is a multi-disciplinary research centre based at Clare College, Cambridge that provides students, policymakers, and the general public with credible and engaging insights to shape new scholarship, sound policy, and constructive debate on the role of faith in global affairs. For more information, please visit

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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 Conference and the expectations towards Muslims prescribe major restructuring measures of the Muslim community, cooperation with security agencies, and alignment with an undetermined set of “German values.” The full report, co-edited by Paul Anderson and Julian Hargreaves, presents papers from a symposium the Centre for Islamic Studies held in May 2016.

News & Events

24th Apr 2018

CIRIS Research Associate Leor Zmigrod Publishes Paper on Psychology of Brexit Voting

CIRIS Graduate Research Associate Leor Zmigrod has published a paper on the psychological processes that give rise to nationalistic ideologies in the context of the United Kingdom’s 2016 EU Referendum. The research identified cognitive information processing styles that contribute towards support for Brexit and opposition to immigration and free movement of labour. Specifically, the findings […]



21st Feb 2018

Interview: Christopher Douglas on ‘Religion and Fake News’

In January 2018 CIRIS released a fascinating new report by Prof Chris Douglas on religion and fake news. The report explores the religious dimension of fake news in both Europe and the United States and offers recommendations for how policymakers and other leaders can fight back against faith-based fake news. Christopher Douglas teaches American literature and […]


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.

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