Religion in international relations and interfaith dialogue

Sezenler, Olcay
Religion was regarded as a marginal factor by scholars of International Relations for a long time. The main reason for this ignorance is that the discipline of International Relations has followed the major paradigm - secularization thesis - in social sciences until recently. This resulted in ignorance of religion as an explanatory factor in International Relations. However, this situation has recently started to change. Beginning from 1990s, the role of religion in international relations has started to be reexamined; and secularization theory has started to be criticized. On the other hand, religion has started to be regarded as a tool for peacebuilding, at the same time. In addition to its contribution to conflicts and wars, religion is increasingly seen as a potential tool for peaceful cooperation; and inter-religious dialogue is becoming a part of diplomacy and conflict resolution policies. Within this context, interfaith dialogue is a case which shows the extent of the change in the discipline of IR regarding the role of religion. This thesis aims to make a comprehensive discussion on the historical and contemporary relation between religion and international relations by focusing on the role of interfaith dialogue, specifically dialogue initiatives within the EU and the UN. The dialogue projects of these institutions and their relation with security-driven policies are examined. Thus, the main concern of this study is to raise a question about the role of interfaith dialogue, especially the one proposed by the institutions above, in transforming the role of religion in international relations.


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Citation Formats
O. Sezenler, “Religion in international relations and interfaith dialogue,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2010.