Annual Fall Conference

Approaching Religious Literacy in International Affairs

Friday, November 3rd 2017 | ASEAN Auditorium at The Fletcher School

How do you train a diplomat, a businesswoman, or a soldier to be an effective & transformational leader in a religiously pluralistic world?

Despite data from a recent Pew Study that 80% of the world’s population identifies with a religion, shockingly few of us have a basic understanding of the relevance of religion to our academic and professional fields. The tools needed to engage effectively can best be described as religious literacy. However, we shouldn’t confuse the word “literacy” which does not mean just staying home all weekend to read the Qur’an or going to weekly services. In fact, even religious people might not necessarily be religiously literate.

Religious literacy, as defined by Diane L. Moore of the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard University, “entails the ability to discern and analyze the fundamental intersections of religion and social/political/cultural life through multiple lenses.” This conference will introduce a framework that allows for productive engagement with religion in international affairs. With notable keynote speakers and interdisciplinary panelists discussing what religious literacy means for conflict resolution, business, security, diplomacy and humanitarian action, the purpose of our conference aims to develop this very mindset.

This student run conference will introduce graduate students and the greater Fletcher community to the importance of religious literacy in their professional spheres. The secondary goal is to create a platform for interdisciplinary dialogue between academics and practitioners. We will invite inspiring religious peacebuilders, pragmatic security professionals, culturally aware business leaders, and cutting edge academics to engage with case studies that explore the necessity of religious literacy in their field.

Case Studies

Conflict Resolution Case Study

Security Case Study

International Business Case Study