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Institute for Global Engagement

Faith-Based Diplomacy: An Ancient Idea Newly Emergent (Task Force Report)

  • October 15, 2003


Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, a chorus of scholars and analysts has been singing heartily about what only a few had spoken of for many decades: the influence of religion in international affairs. But their dominant melody is agonistic—religion, they say, has provoked a clash of civilizations, communal conflict in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kashmir, and the Sudan, and terrorist attacks against the United States. Audible, too, however, is a discordant strain, one that tells of churches and synagogues, imams and pastors, religious communities, organizations and networks who have worked to bring peace to Sudan, Kashmir, Nicaragua, and Mozambique, nonviolent transitions to democracy in Poland, Portugal, the Philippines, South Africa, and across Latin America, and truth commissions to South Africa, Chile, and El Salvador. This strain cries out for amplification. Irenic, restorative, and constructive, it holds realistic promise for those who seek to quell violent conflict, effect reconciliation, and elicit justice in the wake of evil.

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