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Religious communities frequently work with special motivation, specific credibility and international networks for peace on a global level - even though some perpetrators of violent acts who repeatedly invoke religion cause significant foreign-policy crises.
New efforts for peace and challenges in international relations thus require increased competence in and sensitivity to religion in foreign and security policy, and the willingness and qualification to work with religious communities in a spirit of partnership.
Numerous states and international organisations have increasingly directed their focus to the peace potential of religions, recognised the strategic meaning of religion-related peace policy and initiated corresponding cooperation.
Religions which have assumed responsibility for peace and a foreign policy that has competence in religion could jointly make an important contribution for the peaceful coexistence of humanity. This applies even more so as European societies, which are increasingly becoming secular, are often confronted with communities outside of Europe that are steadily becoming more religious.
How can religion-based actors be included into foreign policy as partners? With which subjects, formats or forums?
Peter Bender, political scientist and Catholic theologian, has been involved with religion and international politics for over 20 years.
After his studies of political science, theology and economics in Freiburg i. Br., including stays abroad in Bordeaux, Los Angeles, at the United Nations in New York, in Washington DC, Guadalajara (Mexico) and São Paulo (Brazil), he worked in the European Parliament in Brussels as a journalist for European topics, as a university lecturer for relations between Europe and the Islamic world and as a religious policy advisor to the SPD party executive in Berlin.