Long line of students

British Muslims for Secular Democracy – Muslims for Progressive Values – Danish Institute: Let’s Talk (and Walking the Walk)

Let’s Talk (and Walking the Walk) screened the documentary “Ijtihad: Nine Muslims with Progressive Values”, directed by Nancy Graham Holm of the Danish School of Media, in Washington, DC and London. These screenings were followed by ‘trialogues’ between policymakers, academics/activists, and members of the general public.

These trialogues took on such topics as Islamic perspectives of secular democracy and navigating between the rights of religious and non-religious groups in secular democracy. The project also produced three short PSA-style humorous videos on civic engagement.

Project Resources

Ijtihad: Feminism and Reform (Facebook event page)

Person Al Islaam – Islam Through My Human Being (blog post)

Capitol Hill Event – Ijtihad: Feminism & Reform (Facebook photo album from event)

City University, London – George Mason University: The Role of Religion in Foreign Policy and Societal Transformation: Bridging Scholarship and Policymaking

This project brought together academics and policymakers in Washington and London, seeking to capitalize on increasing interest from US and UK governments in engaging on issues of religion and religious actors in foreign policy.

One dialogue aimed to bridge the knowledge gap between academics and policymakers on these issues and tackle some of the practical challenges of integrating awareness of religious issues and religious actors into the foreign policymaking process.

The second dialogue followed on from the conclusions of the first and applied to the specific challenges of societal transformation and democratization in diplomacy and development.

Project Resources

Integrating Religious Engagement in Diplomacy: Challenges and Opportunities (paper from Peter Mandaville (George Mason University) and Sara Silvestri (City University London) for the Brookings Institution)

Diplomacy and Religious Engagement: Promise and Pitfalls (audio from a conference call from the Council on Foreign Relations Religion and Foreign Policy Initiative)

Religion, Foreign Policy and Development: Making Better Policy to Make a Bigger Difference (conference program)

European and US Approaches to Religion in Foreign Policy: Responses to the Arab Uprisings and Beyond (event page)

Religion & Foreign Policy (review)

Religion and Foreign Policy: A Transatlantic Dialogue (transcript)

Religion and Foreign Policy: A Transatlantic dialogue (event page)

See more Bridging Voices projects

University of Kent – Tufts University– University of Groningen: Addressing the Asylum Crisis: Postsecular Contributions to Rethinking Protection in Global Politics

In response to the overwhelming pressure being put on established procedures and mechanisms for asylum seekers, refugees, and people in need of protection, this project aimed to explore the role of religious actors in providing services to those groups.

The dialogues organized as part of this project brought together an interdisciplinary group of policymakers, scholars, and practitioners and explored potential opportunities for partnerships between governments, NGOs, international organizations, and religious organizations to create new frameworks for working on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees.

Project Resources

The Refugee Crisis and Religion: Secularism, Security and Hospitality in Question (book)

Faith and the Asylum Crisis (policy paper)

The Religious/Secular Divide and the Global Displacement Crisis (blog post)

Georgia State University – Royal Holloway, University of London – Oxford University – The Carter Center: Religion, Conflict Resolution, and Digital Media in the Greater Muslim World: Dialogue Among Policymakers and Researchers

This project responded to the increasing role of religious institutions and networks in addressing social unrest, conflict, extremism, and discord through arbitration and/or humanitarian assistance. The project also sought to unravel the interplay between the governance and conflict resolution work of these organizations and the growing use of digital technologies.

The dialogues organized as part of this project brought together policymakers, scholars, and the media to specifically examine the role of Muslim institutions in the aforementioned aspects of international affairs.

Project Resources  

Muslim NGOs could help counter violent extremism (Washington Post blog)

Syria, the Human Toll: Prospects for Reconciliation and Redevelopment (video)

Can religious media bring peace? London workshop and debate (blog post)

Religion, Conflict Resolution, and Media in the Syrian Crisis (blog post)

School of Oriental & African Studies – Brandeis University: Gender, Religion, and Equality in Public Life: Perspectives from the United States and United Kingdom

This project explored the role of religion in the struggle for women’s equality around the world, particularly within the contexts of domestic/foreign law and international human rights policy.

Through dialogues in Boston and London, participants from the academic and policy spheres discussed how the latest scholarship on the complex interplay between religious norms and legal frameworks which may frustrate efforts to achieve gender equity in a number of societies around the world.

Project Resources

Women's Rights and Religious Law: Domestic and International Perspectives (book)

SOAS-Brandeis Workshop on Gender, Religion and Equality in Public Life: Perspectives from the United States and United Kingdom (event page)

SOAS-Brandeis Workshop on Gender, Religion and Equality in Public Life: Perspectives from the United States and United Kingdom (program)

Learn more about Bridging Voices

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