September 7, 2009

SAIS to examine critical role of religion in international affairs

Each summer, a subject of special interest is selected at SAIS to serve as a substantive theme in the coming academic year. During 2009 – 2010, the school will examine the critical role of religion in international affairs.

With events in Iran; the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; the search for lasting peace in Israel-Palestine; and the changing patterns of faith around the globe, religion as a factor in international relations is a timely topic for exploration, SAIS officials said.

The Year of Religion is expected to provide many opportunities for faculty, students and alumni to review scholarship, exchange views and celebrate a diverse set of holidays. Building on the theme, the 2009 issue of SAISPHERE will focus on the interchange between religion and international relations.

SAIS will partner with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in organizing three panel discussions that examine the diversity of religion in Africa, the spread of Islam through Europe and the demographic characteristics of Islam. Cultural Conversations, a research center at SAIS, will welcome Iranian-American author Haleh Esfandiari, who has written a memoir about her unlawful imprisonment in her home country. Other prominent speakers will be announced throughout the year.

To stay informed of Year of Religion initiatives and events, go to