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  • Author: Theresa Reidy
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to introduce same-sex marriage through a national referendum vote. The decision to introduce equal marriage received a great deal of attention, and not just because it was the first positive referendum decision on this issue; the vote was also preceded by a citizens’ assembly which recommended the referendum and endorsed a “yes” vote. The resounding victory for the liberal position provided definitive evidence of Ireland’s shift from a conservative, inward-looking European periphery state to a modern, liberal, and inclusive republic.
  • Topic: Religion, Culture, Domestic politics, LGBT+
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ireland, European Union
  • Author: Scott M. Thomas, Anthony O'Mahony
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In February 2019, Pope Francis became the first pope to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Like John-Paul II before him, he has also visited Egypt, and he went to Morocco in March 2019. The pope participated in a colloquium on “human fraternity” and interreligious dialogue sponsored by the UAE-based Muslim Council of Elders—the brain-child of Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the most important Sunni Muslim university in the world. The Council of Elders sponsors initiatives to engage young Muslims on Islamist ideology by promoting a more “authentic” interpretation of Islam. Islamist violence—with its beheadings and mass executions—has provoked disgust across the Muslim world and is causing young Muslims to become more distant from their imams and mosques. It is becoming clear to many Muslim intellectuals in Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon that, in order to defeat Islamism, there needs to be greater dialogue and coexistence with Christians. Pope Francis is attempting to lead the way, extending his “culture of encounter.”
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Culture, Violence, Catholic Church
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, United Arab Emirates, Vatican city
  • Author: Aleksandre Kvakhadze
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgian Foundation for Strategic International Studies -GFSIS
  • Abstract: Since declaring its independence, the Georgian state has been struggling with the integration of its ethnic minorities. The regions densely populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis and Armenians have been passively involved in the social and political processes in Georgia. The combination of the legacy of Soviet ‘national policy,’ an ineffective educational system and socio-economic problems hinder the integration of these regions. This paper will be devoted to the Gardabani municipality, an administrative entity with a significant Azerbaijani population. Several factors have determined the choice of this region for this study. Firstly, geographically speaking, the region represents a suburban area of the cities of Tbilisi and Rustavi. It can be considered as a part of ‘greater Tbilisi/Rustavi’ or a ‘Tbilisi-Rustavi agglomeration.’ Secondly, despite its proximity to Georgia’s political and economic center, the Azerbaijani community in this region has been leading a parallel life and is disconnected from the country’s social and political dynamics. Simultaneously, very little is known about this region and very little research has been carried out on its multi-ethnic population. Unlike the neighboring Marneuli municipality, which has been receiving increasing attention from academia, the media and the non-governmental sector, the Azerbaijani population in Garbadani remains neglected by academic and non-governmental bodies. For instance, there is no comprehensive academic research on the linguistic, historical, ethnologic, social and religious parameters of Azerbaijanis in Gardabani. The absence of reliable works leads to myths and uncertainties regarding Georgia’s Azerbaijanis. Thirdly, the Gardabani municipality has been an artificially fabricated landmass with at least two culturally and geographically unrelated regions which leads to the lack of interaction between the ethnic Georgian and the Azerbaijani population. Nevertheless, the Gardabani municipality has a significant potential due its strategic geographic location. Several strategic pipelines and the Georgian railway cross the region. In addition to infrastructural and economic development, using the potential of human resources is crucial in regional development. Incorporating the Azerbaijani population of the region in Georgia’s domestic socio-political dynamics and removing the ethnic boundaries will reinforce the development of the region. This paper will discuss the economy, religion, education, women’s rights, organized crime, politics and inter-ethnic relationships in the Gardabani municipality. This paper is a first endeavor to describe this region’s Azerbaijani population. I hope that this paper will become a source of guidance for practitioners, scholars, journalists and NGO activists and assist them to implement their projects in this region. I also hope that it will lead to more comprehensive research on this region.
  • Topic: Education, Religion, Governance, Minorities, Women, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Eurasia, Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: David Díaz Arias, Luisa Cajamarca, Maya Collombon, Olivier Dabène, Gaspard Estrada, Manuel Gárate, Marie-Laure Geoffray, Damien Larrouqué, Frédéric Louault, Maria Teresa Martínez, Anaís Medeiros Passos, Kevin Parthenay, Gustavo Pastor, Carlos A. Romero, Pierre Salama, Sebastián Urioste
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Amérique latine - L’Année politique is a publication by CERI-Sciences Po’s Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean (OPALC). The study extends the work presented on the Observatory’s website (www.sciencespo.fr/opalc) by offering tools for understanding a continent that is in the grip of deep transformations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Civil Society, Corruption, Crime, Democratization, Nationalism, Political Economy, Religion, Governance, Peacekeeping, Economy, Political Science, Regional Integration, Memory, Transnational Actors
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Latin America, Nicaragua, Caribbean, Venezuela, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: For ten years, the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue, an initiative of The Russell Berrie Foundation (RBF) and The Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), has supported the next generation of religious leaders with a comprehensive understanding of and dedication to interfaith issues and action (2008 – 2018). The Russell Berrie Fellowship in Interreligious Studies, administered by the John Paul II Center and the Institute of International Education (IIE), has supported 87 Fellows from over 33 countries to study at the Angelicum and impact their professional lives and their work in their communities and parishes. In 2018, the Foundation commissioned IIE to conduct an impact evaluation of the John Paul II Center and the Russell Berrie Fellowship, measuring the program’s success in achieving its goals. The evaluation included survey responses from 58 Russell Berrie Alumni (76% response rate), and 30 interviews with key stakeholders, including Russell Berrie Alumni, their community members, leaders in interreligious dialogue (IRD), John Paul II Center leadership, and program staff from RBF and IIE.
  • Topic: Education, Religion, Leadership, Survey
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: When Pope Francis I visited Egypt in 2017 to stimulate interfaith dialogue he walked into a religious and geopolitical minefield at the heart of which was Al-Azhar, one of the world’s oldest and foremost seats of Islamic learning. The pope’s visit took on added significance with Al-Azhar standing accused of promoting the kind of ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim Islam that potentially creates an environment conducive to breeding extremism.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics, Religion, Violent Extremism, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Amy Lillis, Arsalan Suleman
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • Abstract: The Oct. 27, 2018 attack on worshipers in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue was a stark reminder that hate crimes and religious persecution threaten not just individuals and communities, but undermine fundamental human freedoms. A new ISD report on “Religious Intolerance and America’s Image and Policies Abroad” examines the rise in domestic hate crimes against Jews, Muslims, and other faith communities in America – and how the impact of domestic religious intolerance and bigotry extends far beyond the U.S. border. The report, based on a March 2018 working group and public forum with experts from the diplomatic corps, academia, nongovernment organizations, and U.S.-based faith communities, explores these dynamics and ways in which governments and civil society can mitigate the dangerous consequences.
  • Topic: Crime, Diplomacy, Religion, Freedom of Expression, Discrimination, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Vicki Valosik, Isabel Roemer, Nancy Howar
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: A profile on A. Joseph Howar, the CCAS benefactor behind one of Washington’s most iconic cultural and religious institutions. A. Joseph Howar, an immigrant from Palestine who became one of the most prominent Arab- Americans of the early 20th century, touched the lives of countless people during his 103+ years. A talented real-estate developer with an uncanny instinct for location, Mr. Howar was determined to give back to both his adopted country and his homeland. A proponent of education, he built a school and mosque in Palestine, and was the catalyst behind the creation of the Washington Islamic Center, which remains an important cultural and religious icon on Washington’s Embassy Row. Even closer to home, Howar’s legacy continues at Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, where for more than 25 years, the Howar family has generously funded a scholarship in Joseph’s memory for students of the Master of Arts in Arab Studies program.
  • Topic: Religion, History, Immigration, Culture, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Shiraz Maher
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: A close look at the competing claims, actors, and movements for authority within the Syrian civil war reveals three distinct periods of political and religious influence: that of Syrian scholars, who were the first to inject religious language into the revolution; that of Salafi scholars predominantly from the Gulf; and lastly, that of jihadi organizations like ISIS and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, who were active on the ground. This paper focuses on which figures relied on action—rather than theoretical abstraction—to establish legitimacy and authority on the ground in Syria. Tracing the conflict from the first clerical attempts to coordinate the Syrian opposition to the conflict’s regionalization, and, later, internationalization, this paper demonstrates that the words of actors on the ground are more likely than those of far-off figures—however popular—to resound effectively.
  • Topic: Politics, Religion, Syrian War, Islamism, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Bayram Balci, Juliette Tolay
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: While the issue of Syrian refugees has led an increasing number of countries to work on curbing arrivals, one country, Turkey, hosts almost half of these refugees. Yet, far from imposing restrictions, Turkey has distinguished itself for its open border policy and large-scale humanitarian contribution. Turkey’s generosity alone is not sufficient to understand this asylum policy put in place specifically for Syrians. There are indeed a number of political factors that indicate a certain level of instrumentalisation of this issue. In particular, Turkey’s benevolent attitude can be explained by Turkey’s early opposition to Assad in the Syrian conflict and its wish to play a role in the post-conflict reconstruction of Syria, as well as by its willingness to extract material and symbolic benefits from the European Union. But the refugee crisis also matters at the level of domestic politics, where different political parties (in power or in the opposition) seem to have used the refugee issue opportunistically, at the expense of a climate favorable to Syrians’ healthy integration in Turkey.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Nationalism, Religion, Terrorism, War, International Security, Diaspora, Peacekeeping, Refugees, Syrian War, Regional Integration, Transnational Actors
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Balkans, Syria