Bridging Voices: Current Projects
Bridging Voices: Current Projects ©

Mat Wright

WORLD FAITH & THREE FAITHS FORUM  – RELIGIOUS LITERACY FOR FOREIGN POLICY PROFESSIONALS

World Faith, Three Faiths Forum and independent consultant Josh Cass worked with academics and policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic to further develop and refine a religious literacy training program for foreign policy professionals. Participants in the project engaged with and critiqued the program material which is focused on the effective integration of religious engagement (with religious actors and religious issues) into diplomatic institutions and foreign policies. The trainings focused on how such engagement can improve the design and delivery of policy. While maintaining academic rigor, the program utilized case studies and simulations as part of its methodology.

Project Resources

Religious Engagement Training Pack, February 2015 (report in documents below)

Religious Engagement Training Pack, May 2015 (report in documents below)

Because of these dialogues, some partners from this grant went on to create the Forum in Religion and International Affairs (FRIA), a collaborative training experience for professionals working in international affairs with approaches for effective engagement with religion, faith and belief. Visit the website here.

UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS, INSTITUTE FOR GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT & GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY – TOWARD BETTER INTERNATIONAL POLICYMAKING: UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN PRIORITY REGIONS

This project brought together regional specialists from the academic and foreign policymaking communities focused on two regions: the Horn of Africa and the Middle East/North Africa. In two workshops, these specialists focused on the role of religion and religious actors in regional foreign policy, development and conflict stabilization. Participants in these workshops worked towards the production of a set of working guidelines to help practitioners engaged in ‘religion-related’ policymaking to work with religious actors, understand religious dynamics and the influence of religion, and learn from previous cases.

Project Resources

Faith in the Special Relationship, Huffington Post (article)

Toward Religion-Attentive Foreign Policy: A Report on an Anglo-American Dialogue (report)

See more Bridging Voices projects

UNIVERSITY OF EXETER, COMMUNITIES ENGAGING WITH DIFFERENCE AND RELIGION (CEDAR), GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY & CHATHAM HOUSE – ISLAM, SECULARISM AND SECURITY IN CENTRAL ASIA AND BEYOND

The dialogues organised as part of this project considered the place of political Islam in Muslim-majority countries which also have strong experiences of secularism, chiefly in post-Soviet Central Asia. Academics and policy participants explored how radicalism can emerge from confrontation between political Islamic groups and the state’s assertive Islamic secularism and how the state’s associated security discourse has shaped Muslim groups’ faith and behaviour. The dialogues produced 16 short written pieces on related policy challenges for a general and policymaking audience. 

Please see the attached document below for a list of all 21 web links.

Project Resources

Heathershaw and Montgomery's Chatham House paper

Chatham House paper cited on eurasianet.org (article)

Heathershaw and Montgomery on openDemocracy (article)

The Diplomat on Chatham House Paper (article)

The Diplomat on the Washington Workshop (article)

UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX, NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY, EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE & INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM FOR LAW AND RELIGION STUDIES (ICLARS) – FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF (FoRB) AND FOREIGN POLICY: TRANSATLANTIC DIALOGUE FOR A MULTILATERAL APPROACH TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

This project identified, addressed and discussed differences on both sides of the Atlantic in approaches to international religious engagement and religious freedom policy. The project critically evaluatde the effectiveness of these approaches and contextualize them within broader foreign policy strategies. In bringing together relevant academics and policymakers from the US and Europe to discuss these particular issues, the project ultimately aimed to outline and develop a transatlantic multilateral approach to such policies. 

Please see Policy Brief below.

Project Resources

Wilton Park Dialogue (report)

Roundtable discussion at Sussex University: Global Religions in a Postsecular Age (video)

Georgetown University: A conversation on Religious Freedom and Its Social Implications (blog)

Arc of the Universe: Religious Freedom Over There: Can It Span the Atlantic? (article)

The American Interest: Religious Freedom and the Vicissitudes of Power (article)

LANCASTER UNIVERSITY, RELIGION NEWS SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI & THE NEWSEUM – SHINING KNIGHT OR TROJAN HORSE? POLITICAL, ACADEMIC AND MEDIA PORTRAYALS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN US AND UK FOREIGN POLICY

Transatlantic dialogues addressed some critical questions about religious freedom policies in the US and Europe. They identified key challenges including areas in which religious freedoms may conflict with other rights and freedoms. Much of the dialogues’ focus was on religious freedom initiatives directed at the Middle East and Europe and the impact of media coverage of international religious freedom policy on domestic politics and the implementation of the policy itself.

Please see below PDF on the Bridging Voices Conference.

Project Resources

Religious Freedom & Foreign Policy, Religion News Service's (video)

Religious Freedom & Foreign Policy, Newseum (video)

London public event, Westminster Faith Debate (audio)

Learn more about Bridging Voices

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