Skip to Content

Faith-based Diplomacy: Bridging the Religious Divide

Events | Headline and Cultural Forums

How should the United States deal with the jihadist challenge and other religious imperatives that permeate today's geopolitical landscape? If so many of the challenges facing America and U.S. interests across the globe — al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iran, Boko Haram, the Taliban, etc. — are driven by religious motive or ideology, shouldn’t we develop a foreign policy that has a deeper understanding of the causal factors that nurture religious extremism? Douglas M. Johnston, Jr., president and founder of the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy, argues that what is required is a longer‐term strategy of cultural engagement, offering an update to the rational-actor model of decision-making that reconsiders religion, not as the usual "irrational" factor, but as a significant guidepost that can aid U.S. leadership more effectively in an impending multipolar globe. 

Douglas M. Johnston, Jr., PhD, is president and founder of the Washington‐based International Center for Religion & Diplomacy. Dr. Johnston is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University. He has served in senior positions in both the public and private sectors, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy; director of policy planning and management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; planning officer with the President's Office of Emergency Preparedness; founder and director of Harvard University’s Executive Program in National and International Security; and as Executive Vice President and COO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. His publications include Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft Foreign Policy into the 21st Century: the U.S. Leadership Challenge; Faith-based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik; and Religion, Terror, and Error: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Challenge of Spiritual Engagement.

$5 World Affairs Council and Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon members, $10 general public

Hosted by Spiretech