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Religion and Foreign Policy Seminar in Washington DC

16 October 2015

Shaun Casey and Dr Ed Kessler

On September 30, The McCain Institute and The Woolf Institute hosted a seminar in Washington DC on "Religion and International Affairs: Faith, Conflict and Governance"

Ed Kessler was joined by Hassan Abbas (Professor of International Security Studies, National Defense University), Shaun Casey (U.S. Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs, State Department) and Farah Pandith (Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations) to discuss the role of religion in international affairs, particularly how it impacts societies who are experiencing conflict.

Chaired by Ambassador Kurt Volker (Executive Director, The McCain Institute), the panellists discussed the danger of conflating the Middle East crisis solely with religion, often forgetting that it is also about society and government. They also discussed potential and real conflict in countries outside the Middle East such as Bosnia and Pakistan, as well as commenting on the situation in countries where large minorities are being persecuted such as Nigeria and China. The growth of non-religious groups was also considered.

After their presentations the panelists engaged in a Q&A with the 80+ audience and questions included how to ‘not waste a crisis’ and how to create stability in highly religious societies.  A video of the discussion is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2S9bdqjLmo

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