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Thomas F. Farr is director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs...
April 29, 2011
March 1, 2011
February 24, 2011
RELATED RESOURCES: HUMAN RIGHTS
Religion and US Foreign Policy
Both the practice and analysis of US foreign policy has traditionally marginalized religious questions. With the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, the Berkley Center explores the role of religion in US policy. This program gives special attention to issues of human rights and international religious freedom.
Foreign Policy Practitioners Interview Series
Religion is an increasingly important dimension of US foreign policy. Since the passage of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, issues of religious liberty have been incorporated into the mechanics of American diplomacy -- with mixed results. Berkley Center Senior Fellow Thomas Farr, a career diplomat and founding director of the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom, is conducting a series of interviews with key foreign policy practitioners in this area. The focus is on their professional trajectory, the role of faith in their outlook, and their views of the challenges and opportunities facing US diplomacy into the future.
Proselytism as a Policy Challenge
Proselytism is an increasingly important and controversial issue in international affairs -- and has not received the attention it deserves. In a globalizing world, governments and religious communities are navigating the tensions between the rights of the individual to enter and exit religious communities and the rights of religious communities to defend and maintain their identity. The Proselytism as a Policy Challenge project explored these issues through major conferences in spring 2010 and spring 2011. The first conference brought religious leaders together and focused on recent efforts to construct voluntary codes of conduct that distinguish between aggressive proselytism and permissible missionary work. The second convened scholars working within religious studies, law, and political science with policymakers to discuss the democratic strategies for achieving cultural support and political protections for peaceful competition among religious communities.
Religion, Democracy, and US Diplomacy
This project explores the intersection of religion with US efforts to promote democracy around the world, with a focus on the challenges and opportunities facing the Obama administration. Key issues include: the role of religious communities in US democracy programs and policies; and the relationship of religion to democratic stability around the world; and how best to support democratic evolution in Muslim-majority societies, a key challenge in the wake of Obama's May 2009 Cairo speech. Project activities include two major conferences -- in fall 2009 and fall 2010 -- as well as the development of online knowledge resources that map key actors and issues.
The International Religious Freedom Act: Ten Years Later
In October 1998 Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). The IRFA mandated the promotion of religious liberty around the world as a central element of American foreign policy. In 2008 three symposia at Georgetown examined the origins and promise (February 25), performance (April 21), and future (October 10) of IRF policy. Experts from across the spectrum of American public life—scholars, policymakers, activists, and journalists—as well as informed officials and observers from around the globe, addressed the strengths, the weaknesses, and the prospects of a policy designed to advance international religious freedom.