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 Foundation: The 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 Studies: CIRIS 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 CIRIS.org.uk.
CIRIS contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 June 2017 – This week CIRIS facilitated a conference in Helsinki, in collaboration with the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the Transatlantic Policy Network on Religion and Diplomacy (TPNRD). The network met with the Lutheran Archbishop of Finland, the Orthodox Metropolitan of Helsinki, and with a range of Helsinki-based scholars and practitioners active at the intersection of religion and international affairs. CIRIS’s role as the secretariat for the TPNRD is supported by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.
16 March 2017 – CIRIS Managing Director Judd Birdsall presented a paper this week on ‘Religion, Politics, and Soft Power: Examples from U.S. Diplomacy’ at a conference at Tbilisi State University exploring ‘Religion and Soft Power in the South Caucasus’. The conference was coordinated by the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) and the University of Fribourg, and made possible by the financial support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SCOPES-Program). The conference showcased the publication of a new compendium of policy memos on religion and soft power in the South Caucasus region.
Photo credits: Georgia Institute of Politics
1 Nov. 2016 – Today CIRIS managing director Judd Birdsall participated in a panel discussion on the topic Can the Politics of Religious Freedom Stop at the Water’s Edge?: Faith, Freedom, and Foreign Policy in the Next Administration. The event was hosted by Pepperdine University in partnership with the Institute for Global Engagement. The panel also featured Tom Farr, President of the Religious Freedom Institute, and Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow on South Asia at the Heritage Foundation. All three speakers contributed articles to a recent issue of The Review of Faith & International Affairs.
Video of the entire event will be posted when available.
On 21 May CIRIS had the pleasure of hosting a stimulating conference on ‘Reconsidering Religious Radicalism’ at Clare College, Cambridge. The conference included keynote presentations and panel discussions with a diverse range of theologians, social scientists, and practitioners. The event, which attracted over 70 participants, was generously co-sponsored by the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme, the Woolf Institute, and the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics. The best papers from the conference will be published in an edited volume.
Credit for the photographs goes to Dr Charles Roddie, fellow and director of studies in economics at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
CIRIS is delighted to host Prof Simon Glendinning for a seminar on ‘European Philosophical History and Faith in God A Posteriori’. Glendinning is Professor of European Philosophy at the London School Economics. The seminar will take place in the Allison Richard Building (POLIS) room 138 at 13:00 on Tuesday 17th May. All our welcome.
Join us at Clare College, Cambridge for what promises to be a groundbreaking conversation about the way we talk about religious radicalism. During this day-long conference, world-renowned keynote speakers Lord Maurice Glasman, Professor Peter Mandaville, Professor Nicholas Adams, and Professor Mona Siddiqui will gather together to address the substance and semantics of religious radicalism from a variety of critical perspectives.
This interdisciplinary conference will be hosted by CIRIS at Clare College and is generously co-sponsored by the Cambridge Interfaith Programme, the Woolf Institute, and the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics. Initial funding for the conference was provided by the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Cambridge.
Reconsidering Religious Radicalism
21 May 2016
Clare College, Cambridge
Click here to register (deadline 12 May)
5 Feb. 2016 – CIRIS is pleased to release a call for papers for its 21st May conference on ‘Reconsidering Religious Radicalism’. The conference will explore the substance and semantics of ‘radicalism’ across religious traditions. Those interested in giving a paper at the conference should submit an abstract by the 11th of March. Please click here for the call for papers. Click here to register.
Lord Maurice Glasman – Lecturer in Political Theory, Director of Faith & Citizenship Programme, London Metropolitan University
Prof Nicholas Adams – Professor of Philosophical Theology, University of Birmingham
Prof Peter Mandaville – Senior Advisor, US State Department Office of Religion & Global Affairs; Professor of Government and Politics, George Mason University
Prof Mona Siddiqui, OBE – Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies, University of Edinburgh
This interdisciplinary conference will be hosted by CIRIS at Clare College, Cambridge, and is generously co-sponsored by the Cambridge Interfaith Programme, the Woolf Institute, and the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics. Initial funding for the conference was provided by the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Cambridge.
CIRIS Senior Research Associate Pasquale Annicchino recently attended the G20 Interfaith Summit in Istanbul. As the world is still coming to grips with the tragedy of the Paris attacks, many scholars, political leaders, and leaders of NGOs and religious groups gathered in Istanbul to discuss the role of religion in economic development, islamic finance, heritage protection, and other issues.
Also in Istanbul, Annicchino participated in a workshop organised by the Grassrootmobilise reserach project which studies the impact of the European Court of Human Rigths decisions on the protection of freedom of religion or belief.
On 26 October 2015 CIRIS Managing Director Judd Birdsall spoke on the inseparability of religious freedom and democracy at the 4th annual Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy. In his remarks Birdsall argued that democracy and religious freedom are too often promoted in isolation from each other. And yet the example of Poland’s Catholicism-inspired transition from communism to democracy shows that religious freedom and democracy are mutually reinforcing.
Click here to read the transcript of Birdsall’s remarks.
Launched in 2012, the Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy is organised by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This year the Dialogue brought together some 200 human rights activists to discuss the theme “Democracy at the crossroads? Current threats and opportunities.”