Bridging Voices: Current Projects
Bridging Voices: Current Projects © Mat Wright

STANHOPE CENTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS POLICY RESEARCH, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY, AND KADIR HAS UNIVERSITY - GAPPING THE BRIDGE: RECONSIDERING THE ROLE OF MUSLIM CIVIL SOCIETY IN CONFLICT ZONES

This project will build upon two years of multi-institutional research and programming collaboration to look at countering violent extremism (CVE) and the role of development-focused Muslim NGOs operating in transitioning conflict zones. Additionally, the project will look at the accomplishments and challenges of Muslim NGOs in transitioning or conflict zones and ask how models can be scaled and examine best practices. This practice-oriented research project asks: Can Muslim NGOs and faith-based civil society networks provide solutions to shared global challenges of social conflict and political violence in the MENA region? And, what role do digital communications play in the process? A policy report will be made available to the policymaking and academic communities, plus short essays on these different discussion questions and areas of enquiry.

GLOBAL POTENTIAL, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY, L’INSTITUT UNIVERSITAIRE DE TECHNOLOGIE DE MONTREUIL AND WOOLF INSTITUTE - PRESS START DIALOGUES

This grant will promote improved understanding of the role religion plays in France, the US and Europe as it relates to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21. Dialogues will focus on how youth social entrepreneurs, policymakers, academics and civil society practitioners can create social change through exploring their own cultural and religious identities while focusing on questions related to environmental protection. Together, these dialogues will put forth policy recommendations on how to commit 50% reduction in global warming pollution by 2030 and to promote carbon neutrality by 2050. 

INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC DIALOGUE, UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY AND UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - RELIGION AND STATE: HOW GOVERNMENTS CAN WORK EFFECTIVELY WITH RELIGIOUS BODIES AND CREDIBLE VOICES ADDRESSING THE GENDER DYNAMICS OF RADICALISATION TO COUNTER EXTREMIST MESSAGING AND ADDRESS THE UNDERLYING DRIVERS OF EXTREMIST VIOLENCE

This grant will focus on academics, policymakers and religious actors to share knowledge and best practice related to countering extremist religious narratives with particular aim to concentrate lessons learned at the nexus of gender and security. Within the context of countering extremist messaging, this team will explore role of women in CVE efforts. Tee team will look at how extremist groups leverage religious interpretations to further gender-based subjugation while also using religion as a tool for recruiting women into violent extremist groups, dictating it is their spiritual duty, a topic deserving greater attention.  Most importantly, the team will ask how greater female involvement in counter-messaging can change the perception of counter-messaging as being Western, male-dominated, top-down and aggressive, and how greater involvement of Muslim women can improve the effectiveness of counter-extremist messaging. There will be a dialogue report available to the policy community and the team will produce op-eds, media articles, radio shows and more to disseminate the outcomes of the dialogues.

Please see below two reports from both dialogues (Washington, DC and Cambridge)

See more Bridging Voices projects

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM, INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ASSOCIATION AND STEFANUS ALLIANCE INTERNATIONAL - MULTINATIONAL EFFORTS TO PROMOTE FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF

This project will bring together global parliamentarians, scholars, policymakers and diplomats to discuss case studies and blueprints on the issues of religious persecution and freedom of religion or belief. The conversation will focus on bringing together parliamentarians with academic and policy practitioners to broaden the conversation both in approach and in a global capacity. The key themes include: a discussion of the present global position in relation to religious restrictions; multinational collaboration in freedom of religion or belief; strategies for parliamentary collaboration; and strategies for interreligious collaboration in this space. These main sessions will feature eminent speakers who combine academic and policy expertise, and the discussion sessions will afford opportunity for academic and policy dialogue. This grant will join with the new International Panel of Parliamentarians, a new, diverse resource group for parliamentarians from around the globe working on freedom of religion or belief, and the first of two dialogues will take place during UNGA, hosted by the German Mission to the United Nations and supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The follow-up meeting of the IPP Steering Group in London in Spring 2016 will be even more dialogic in approach as the academic community will present its Academic/Parliamentary Engagement Strategic Action Plan. The meetings will produce a report of the discussions for the policy community to access. 

Please see policy briefing below.

NEW HORIZONS IN BRITISH ISLAM AND HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY - ENGAGING WITH SUNNI-SHIA DYNAMICS

 This grant will explore the context of the Sunni-Shia dynamic, specifically as it relates to sectarianism in Muslim communities and the role of diaspora. The grant is aimed towards policymakers, think tank professionals, activists and community leaders to engage under-represented voices, consider questions of approaches to dialogue and to broaden the consideration of the Sunni-Shia dynamic to include a greater understanding of the lived diversity of these religious traditions. The dialogue conversations will be turned into a user-friendly resource for policymaking professionals.

Learn more about Bridging Voices

Any further enquiries on the project should be sent to bridgingvoices@britishcouncil.org.