Scholars, Diplomats, Researchers, and Students Discuss the Influence of Religion on International Relations

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

seminar.jpgThe first edition of the AGS Seminar Series on Religion and International Relations on February 3-4 was a success, with over thirty scholars, diplomats, government researchers and graduate students who came from institutions in France and Italy, to participate in the presentations and discussions.

After opening addresses by Dr. Eileen Servidio-Delabre, Professor of International Law and President of AGS, and AGS Master’s Candidate Alexander Ybarra-Rojas, the co-organizers established the purpose of the seminar. Christophe Grannec, a sociologist of religions who works for a research group on religion and secularism at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), explained how the idea of this seminar emerged as a development of last year’s student conference on religion and international relations at AGS. Professor Manlio Graziano, AGS’s specialist of geopolitics of religion and the author of several books on the subject, emphasized the increasingly important role of religions in international politics and their comeback in the center stage of the public sphere, including that of secular countries.

Following the opening evening was a full day of presentations and debates moderated by Ambassador Michael Einik, a US Diplomat based in Paris who has been involved in diplomacy and foreign policy formulation from the administrations of Richard Nixon through that of Barack Obama, and currently teaches at the American Graduate School in Paris.

Some of the highlights include Professor Sophie-Hélène Trigeaud’s presentation of a study by the University of Kent (UK) about the influence and work of religious NGOs at the United Nations, and CNRS researcher Sabrina Pastorelli’s discussion on the role of religion in public debates in Europe.

The seminar also featured presentations by Master’s and doctoral students from the American Graduate School in Paris, Université Paris Sud (France), and Sapienza University (Italy), who explored specific aspects of the issue in various countries (Saudi Arabia, Italy, Nicaragua, and Egypt).

The second edition of this seminar series will focus on the theme "Religious Minorities and Freedom of Religion in the World".

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Stefan De Las Trinidad and Tobago
M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy
Class of 2014

quote leftAGS brought me closer to the world, and to those multinational perspectives that always tended to evade a simple islander. My own ideals were tested and defended on a daily basis, as I was challenged by almost everyone, from German, Russian and Ghanaian classmates to Ambassadors and professors, who have time and again embraced the practical and academic realms of life. Paris' hard-knock life style, AGS' academic structure and my own drive to succeed have definitely provided me with the foundation to give working life the pursuit it deserves.quote right

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