Religion and Diplomacy
Religion is personal, yet it looms large in international diplomacy, much as it factors into interpersonal relations. This year’s lecture is a high level conversation between two veteran diplomats, Archbishop Bernardito Auza and Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, whose religions are essential to who they are and how they conduct their diplomatic work. The moderator of this conversation, Dr. Azza Karam, serves as the director of the UN Interagency Taskforce on Religion and Development. We look to answer the following questions:
- What do the three Abrahamic religions contribute to the international diplomatic conversation?
- Has the diplomatic community pretended religion doesn’t play a role and are they now playing catch up?
- Looking at 2016: Can global diplomacy exclude religion? Should religion have a role in the presidential race?
- Does personal religious belief influence diplomacy on behalf of the Church? Does personal religious belief influence diplomacy on behalf of a state with no established religion?
His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Papal Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. Archbishop Bernardito Auza is the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. Born in the Philippines, he was ordained a priest in 1985. The archbishop joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1990, serving in different capacities successively in Madagascar and Mauritius, Bulgaria, Albania, the Secretariat of State in the Vatican and the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York (2006-2008). In 2008 Archbishop Auza was named Papal Nuncio to Haiti. He was ordained an archbishop in 2008. In July 2014 Archbishop Auza was named the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations in New York and permanent observer of the Holy See to the Organization of American States in Washington DC.
Daniel Kurtzer, Former US Ambassador to Egypt and Israel
Daniel C. Kurtzer is the S. Daniel Abraham Professor of Middle East policy studies at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Following a 29-year career in the US Foreign Service, Kurtzer retired in 2005 with the rank of Career-Minister. From 2001 to 2005 he served as the United States Ambassador to Israel and from 1997 to 2001 as the United States Ambassador to Egypt. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research. Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Kurtzer to the Secretary’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. He is the coauthor of Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East; coauthor of The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989–2011; and editor of Pathways to Peace: America and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
Dr. Azza Karam, Director, UN Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development
Dr. Azza Karam serves as the senior culture advisor at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), where she coordinates global activities on culture and religion. She also directs the UN Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development. Prior to joining UNFPA, she was the senior policy research advisor at the United Nations Development Program. Earlier, Dr. Karam worked at the World Conference of Religions for Peace. She also served as the president of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations. Her books include Transnational Political Islam; Islamisms, Women and the State; Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers; and A Woman’s Place: Religious Women as Public Actors.
Hosted by The Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue of The Jewish Theological Seminary and the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the Angelicum in Rome, with thanks to the Russell Berrie Foundation.