News & Events

CIRIS Director Speaks on Democracy and Religious Freedom at Warsaw Dialogue for Democracy

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.”


CIRIS Senior Research Associate Pasquale Annicchino Compares US and European Approaches to Religious Freedom at Georgetown University Conference

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.

CIRIS Director Participates in Dialogue Event with Dalai Lama, Rowan Williams


His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lord Rowan Williams at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Photo/Ian Cumming

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.


Birdsall Speaks on ‘Obama’s Faith in Diplomacy’ at BISA US Foreign Policy Conference

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.


Andrew Preston Lectures at IISS on ‘Religion and Values in US Foreign Policy’

imagesOn 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.”

News & Events

26th Sep 2017

CIRIS Research Associate Margot Dazey Awarded Fellowship at Yale

CIRIS Graduate Research Associate Margot Dazey has been awarded a Fox International Fellowship to spend the year at Yale University. Fox Fellows are selected for their potential to offer practical solutions to the problems which stand in the way of the world’s peace and prosperity. Hosted at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, […]



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.

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