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.”
On 8 October 2015 CIRIS Senior Research Associate Pasquale Annicchino participated in a panel discussion on ‘Overcoming Differences Between Western Democracies in Developing a Common Religious Freedom Policy’ at conference at Georgetown University. Dr. Annicchino argued for a more coherent and consistent approach from Western countries and, at the same time, for serious reflection on how to enlarge the spectrum of countries and actors involved in the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief.
The conference was hosted by the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.
The YouTube video of the panel discussion is available below. Dr Annicchino’s remarks begin at 20:00.
On 16-17 September CIRIS managing director Judd Birdsall participated in a dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, hosted by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams at Magdalen College, Cambridge. Organised by the Inspire Dialogue Foundation, the event focussed on the theme ‘Growing Wisdom. Changing People.’
The Dalai Lama’s official website provides further information on the event.
On 14 September 2015 CIRIS managing director Judd Birdsall presented a paper on ‘Obama’s Faith in Diplomacy’ at the British International Studies Association US Foreign Policy Working Group Conference. The two-day conference brought together scholars of American foreign relations from throughout the UK. In his paper Birdsall explored how President Obama’s religious views have influenced his diplomatic engagement over the past six-and-a-half years.
On 8 June 2015 CIRIS president Andrew Preston gave a lecture on “Religion and Values in US Foreign Policy” at the Institute for International and Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. The lecture was based on Dr Preston’s award-winning 2012 book, Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy.
IISS has posted on the video of Dr Preston’s lecture on their website. At the outset of his remarks, Preston introduces CIRIS and explains why we pronounce our name as “Cyrus.”