Unrealized Ideal: 40 Years After a Seminal Declaration on Religious Freedom

Unrealized Ideal: 40 Years After a Seminal Declaration on Religious Freedom

Monday, November 29, 2021

By: Knox Thames

Anniversaries serve as natural inflection points, opportunities for introspection, to take stock and to consider where to go next. November 25 marked the 40th anniversary of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Despite its unwieldy name, the aim was simple: to promote freedom of religion or belief and condemn discrimination based on faith. The 1981 Declaration was a culmination of almost four decades of U.N. efforts to develop international legal protections for freedom of belief to defend minorities from persecution. Forty years later, however, almost two-thirds of humanity live in countries with restrictions on the practice of faith. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

ReligionHuman Rights

Many Venezuelans Choose a Flawed Election Over No Election

Many Venezuelans Choose a Flawed Election Over No Election

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

By: Ana Caridad;  Keith Mines

Venezuelans elected governors, mayors and local officials November 21 in a vote condemned by many as stacked hopelessly against the opposition or simply fraudulent. An increased turnout over elections last year appears to reflect many Venezuelans’ growing belief that they have gained little with voting boycotts. They believe participation in even a flawed election advances the concept of “re-institutionalization,” which aims to progressively reform the machinery of democracy after years in which it has been undermined by the ruling party. Advocates of this strategy say that restoring democracy must be a long game of incremental advances.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Advancing Global Peace and Security through Religious Engagement: Lessons to Improve U.S. Policy

Advancing Global Peace and Security through Religious Engagement: Lessons to Improve U.S. Policy

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

By: Peter Mandaville, Ph.D.;  Chris Seiple, Ph.D.

Since 2001, when the Bush administration created a unit within the White House to work on faith-based initiatives, Democratic and Republican administrations alike have sought to engage religious actors worldwide in support of their diplomatic, development, and defense initiatives. This report, based on the authors’ decades of experience working within and outside government, offers specific suggestions for steps the U.S. government can take to clarify the nature of its religious engagement mission and to better coordinate that mission in relation to its other peacebuilding and national security priorities. 

Type: Special Report

Religion

Young and Angry in Fezzan: Achieving Stability in Southern Libya through Greater Economic Opportunity

Young and Angry in Fezzan: Achieving Stability in Southern Libya through Greater Economic Opportunity

Monday, November 22, 2021

By: Mary Fitzgerald;  Nate Wilson

The Fezzan region of Libya is home both to the country’s largest oil field, making it key to Libya’s oil-based economy, and to some of its direst poverty. Young people have borne the brunt of the region’s chronic development challenges, making them vulnerable to recruitment by armed groups and criminal networks. This report focuses on the grievances of Fezzan’s youth and explores how peacebuilding efforts can channel their needs and aspirations into larger conversations about the region’s long-term political and economic development.

Type: Peaceworks

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Aiding Afghan Local Governance: What Went Wrong?

Aiding Afghan Local Governance: What Went Wrong?

Thursday, November 18, 2021

By: Frances Z. Brown

After 20 years of an ambitious, costly international state-building effort, the government of Afghanistan collapsed in the summer of 2021 in a matter of weeks. The Afghan security forces’ remarkably rapid defeat earned significant attention, but the Taliban victory over the internationally backed Afghan republic stemmed equally from deep-seated political and governance factors. Across all the facets of the Western state-building endeavor in Afghanistan, there is now an enormous need to assess how the international project fell so far short of its aims.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyDemocracy & Governance

Glasgow’s Summit Will Spur Change—on Climate and in Conflicts

Glasgow’s Summit Will Spur Change—on Climate and in Conflicts

Thursday, November 18, 2021

By: Tegan Blaine, Ph.D.

When the 26th Conference of Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change closed over the weekend in Glasgow, delegates and observers left with both disappointment that so little had happened and relief that so much had. As the world now weighs the results of the Glasgow climate summit, the global peacebuilding community should do the same. We should analyze where the summit might alter risks of violent conflict and opportunities for the community—including peacebuilding organizations, local civil society groups and policymakers—to respond.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment

Neither Summit, nor Sidebar: Assessing the Biden-Xi ‘Virtual Meeting’

Neither Summit, nor Sidebar: Assessing the Biden-Xi ‘Virtual Meeting’

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

By: Carla Freeman, Ph.D.;  Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.;  Jennifer Staats, Ph.D.

To address growing tensions between the United States and China, particularly over Taiwan, President Joe Biden and General Secretary Xi Jinping met virtually on Monday night (Tuesday morning in Beijing) for a three-hour discussion that covered a wide array of contentious issues. Both sides downplayed expectations for the session beforehand and have been relatively subdued albeit somewhat positive in their respective post-meeting statements and spins. Less formal than a summit and more structured than a sidebar, what if anything did the extended virtual top-level bilateral discussion achieve?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy