June 15, 2016

The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination’s Program on Religion, Diplomacy, and International Relations (PORDIR) convened its ninth annual colloquium from June 2-5, 2016, at the Universidade Católica Portuguese in Lisbon, Portugal. This year’s theme was "Religion and Strategy.” Previous PORDIR conferences have focused on religion and revolution (2014), religion, crisis, and the situation of women and the next generation (2013), religion and self-determination (2011), religion in crisis diplomacy (2010), religion in development (2009), and the influence of religion and religious beliefs in the conduct of international diplomacy and power politics (2008). Participation in the conference was by invitation only.

The objective of the 2016 PORDIR colloquium was to analyze issues pertaining to the nexus between religion and strategy within a historical context, in current global affairs, and through both theoretical and case study-based approaches. Thirteen PORDIR fellows presented their research papers during roundtable seminar-style discussions and received feedback and questions from invited practitioners, diplomats, and scholars. The colloquium was chaired by Wolfgang Danspeckgruber, Director of LISD.

Student papers and presentations included: "Assessing Religion in France and its Effect on Foreign Affairs and Domestic Politics" by Mikhael Smits (class of 2018), "Backsliding and its Ramifications for European Union Cohesion in the Wake of the Refugee Crisis" by Jacqueline Gufford (class of 2017), "The Roman Catholic Church and the Shaping of the Lisbon Treaty: To What Extent Can European Fundamental Law Combine Secularism with Roman Catholicism," by Matthieu Basselier (undergraduate exchange student from Sciences Po Paris), "Religion and Citizenship: Algeria under the Third Republic" by Olivia Wicki (class of 2018), "Theories of Fundamentalism and the Sudanese Mahdiyya" by George Grealy (class of 2019), "The False Hope of Coexistence: Why Conflict Will Persist because of Global Jihadists" by Michael Kelvington (MPA class of 2017), "A Bitter Aftertaste of Jasmine: Islamic State Recruitment of Tunisian Fighters" by Sarah Jacobs (class of 2016), "The Effects of British Colonial Orientalism on Conceptions (not Constructions) of Hinduism in India" by Durva Trivedi (class of 2017), "Stirring the Sleeping Giant: The Christian Church and Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo" by Ann Thompson (MPA class of 2017), "Religious Motivation as an Explanation for Understanding Humanitarian Aid" by Tumise Asebiomo (class of 2016), "An Examination of Laudato Si’ and Contemporary Policy" by Irene Burke (class of 2016), and "An Inquiry on Institutional Mechanisms for the Protection of Religious Liberty: What’s New about the European Union and the United States?" by Maria Maddalena Giungi (post-doctoral researcher, Politics Department.)

As part of the visit to Lisbon, the PORDIR fellows additionally visited the Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower, with Professor Michael Barry providing background on Portugal’s global maritime empire and domestic political and religious history.

LISD created the Program on Religion, Diplomacy, and International relations in 2007 in response to the increasingly important role of religion in interstate and intrastate conflicts, and in aspects of international affairs. Given this undeniable role, PORDIR aims to explore the influence of religion in the conduct of international relations, diplomacy and politics; facilitate discussions about religion and international relations in a neutral, non-ideological forum; encourage interdisciplinary, inter-generational, international and interreligious exchanges among students, scholars and policy practitioners; and promote research, teaching and publication relating to religion and international relations. The program offers students and faculty at Princeton the opportunity to study, reflect, and generate ideas concerning these multiple intersections. The project currently includes a student fellowship program, weekly seminar series, and an annual conference.