At the invitation of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), Dr. Chris Seiple, President of the Institute for Global Engagement, will lead a one-day seminar in Doral, FL on September 9, 2014. Entitled “Religion Matters,” this seminar responds to the Joint Force and Inter-Agency community’s growing interest in examining the positive dynamics of religion and understanding ways to engage religious actors and institutions towards positive outcomes in the SOUTHCOM Area of Operations (AOR). Various SOUTHCOM staff and chaplains will be in attendance, along with clergy and leaders of faith-based NGOs in the Miami area.

The seminar will explore how to respectfully leverage the positive influences of religion in:

    countering terrorist and illicit trafficking networks;
  • assisting in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; and,
  • increasing engagement with Partner Nations in the SOUTHCOM AOR

Dr. Seiple will directly engage the question of how best to frame broad religious considerations in language that makes sense to U.S. military commanders and staffs. He will also discuss the relevance of religious factors in other sectors, including U.S. diplomacy and U.S. based non-governmental organizations that work internationally.

Dr. Seiple is a former Marine infantry officer. His last posting was to the Pentagon, where he was a member of the Strategic Initiatives Group, an internal think tank for the Commandant of the Marine Corps. He speaks regularly at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute, U.S. military schools, and within the intelligence community regarding national security, social-cultural-religious engagement, and the interdependence of religion and realpolitik. He is co-editor (with Dennis R. Hoover and Pauletta Otis) of the Routledge Handbook of Religion and Security (2013).