On the Significance of Religion for Global Diplomacy
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What could it mean, in terms of strengthening multilateral diplomacy, if the UN, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union, and other regional diplomatic frameworks engaged more creatively with a religious perspective?
In this ground-breaking volume it is argued that international organisations, backed by governments, can and should use their convening power to initiate new, multi-layered frameworks of engagement, inclusive of the representatives of religion. This can make multilateralism more fit for purpose and have a major impact over time on our planetary future.
The book is divided into an introduction and six chapters:
- Towards a culture of encounter inclusive of the world’s religious traditions
- Structural questions in 21st-century diplomacy
- Knowing what we ought to know: the issues that face 21st-century diplomacy
- Towards the global objective of a common peace for humanity
- Understanding how change happens
- The diplomacy of the two standards
- The development of new frameworks of engagement
A brief outline is offered of what an all-European initiative – an agora for Europe – might look like if, in the 2020s, there were the political will to inaugurate a European regional process reflecting the orientation and methodology proposed in the book.
Combining cutting-edge research and reflection, with concrete recommendations for academics, religious actors, policy makers, and practitioners, this concise and accessible volume helps to build bridges between these oftentimes separated spheres of engagement.
The Open Access version of this book, available at https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003053842, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.
Table of Contents
Summary and Recommendations to Governments, International Organisations, and Civil Society
Introduction: Towards a Culture of Encounter Inclusive of the World’s Religious Traditions
Chapter One: Structural Questions in 21st-Century Diplomacy
Chapter Two: Knowing What We Ought to Know: The Issues That Face 21st-Century Diplomacy
Chapter Three: Towards the Global Objective of a Common Peace for Humanity
Chapter Four: Understanding How Change Happens
Chapter Five: The Diplomacy of The Two Standards
Chapter Six: The Development of New Frameworks of Engagement
Epilogue: An Agora for Europe?
Philip McDonagh, a former ambassador, is Adjunct Professor and Director of the Centre for Religion, Human Values, and International Relations at Dublin City University, Ireland, and Distinguished Global Fellow at the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, USA.
Kishan Manocha is Head of the Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw, Poland.
John Neary, a former ambassador, is Adjunct Professor at University College Dublin, Ireland.
Lucia Vázquez Mendoza is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Sociology, Maynooth University, Ireland.
"More often seen as a source of conflict, religion is generally overlooked as a potential resource in promoting global diplomacy. The 2019 Abu Dhabi document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Immam pointed towards a new international dialogue on the values that bind us and the common human desire for peace. This fascinating book plunges deep into that dialogue and gives us hope for a future where the engagement between religions, global politics and human rights can push us into a new and more reassuring era."
— Mary McAleese, Former President of Ireland
"In this moment of fractured politics and dissolving ethics, renewed attention to religion as a source of unity is a bold and much-needed initiative. The tradition is long and the ideas are inspiring. This volume provides a practical guide to creating a new dialogue suited to the distinct challenges of the 21st century."
— Joel H. Rosenthal, President, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
"I warmly recommend this original book to all those interested in the values underpinning multilateral diplomacy. Today’s challenges are set out clearly – epochal changes in the natural world, the virtual world, and in politics. The authors put forward ‘axioms of the historical imagination’ with a view to an inclusive, values-led, fit-for-purpose global diplomacy over the coming decades.At a practical level, they propose guidelines for innovative processes under UN auspices – long-term, regional, and multi-layered. They argue persuasively that well-judged forms of engagement between public authorities and religion (and other ‘life stances’) can contribute meaningfully to sustainable development and to the changes in habits, assumptions, and actions that are urgently needed at a global level."
— Michael Møller, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
"Finally! Diplomats call other diplomats to take religious and cultural values seriously as irreplaceable subjects of foreign policy planning and peacekeeping doctrine. In this compelling and urgently needed book, distinguished ambassadors and peacebuilders argue that the international community has lost its consensus on the values and beliefs that would enable it to respond effectively to today’s unprecedented challenges to human civilization. What gives me greatest hope are the authors’ practical recommendations: detailed analyses of how agencies like the UN, OSCE, and EU can expand institutional doctrines and strategic plans in service to a multi-civilizational vision of human values. Here is reason to hope that there is still time...."
— Peter Ochs, Edgar M. Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia, USA.
"On the Significance of Religion, though a relatively short book, is an inspirational, imaginative and sophisticated work drawing upon history from classical times and upon what may be learned from the wisdom of the world’s religions, as well as from an interdisciplinary literature, to shape its central thesis ‑ that new forms of historical and religious literacy, allied to new frameworks of engagement, can enable a more creative global diplomacy."— Fergus O’Ferrall, Dublin Review of Books.