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Russia's Soft Power: A Matter for Church and State | 09/14/15
Nadieszda Kizenko, Nikolas K. Gvosdev, Nicolai N. Petro
If other countries wish to understand Russia, they need to have a grasp of her values, which provide the moral framework for her policies and world view. In this fascinating discussion, three leading experts on Russia's "soft power" explain the roles of the state and the Russian Orthodox Church and their complex interplay in formulating this framework.
"Soft Power": The Values that Shape Russian Foreign Policy | 07/30/15
David C. Speedie
In the increasingly frigid environment of U.S.-Russia relations, much attention is given to what may be seen as Russia's strategic "interests." Of at least equal significance for understanding Russian attitudes, however, is a grasp of the values, the moral framework for Russia's foreign policy.
From Nuclear Deterrence to Disarmament: Evolving Catholic Perspectives | 06/01/15
Bernardito C. Auza, Des Browne, J. Bryan Hehir, Maryann Cusimano Love, Gerard F. Powers
In this timely and important discussion on nuclear weapons, Des Browne provides the broader policy context; Archbishop Auza presents the Holy See's position over the last 70 years; Father Hehir connects the policy debate and the moral debate; and Professor Love connects the nuclear debate to the wider debate about peacebuilding.
Patriotism and Altruism (1915) | 04/09/15
As a response to World War I, in 1915-16 the Church Peace Union (now Carnegie Council) launched an innovative program of peace education in churches and Sunday Schools. It also held an essay contest, and the young Reinhold Niebuhr won the top prize for seminary students. Here is his winning essay, dated 1915.
Clip of the Month: Michael Walzer on the Radicalism of Early American Secularism | 04/07/15
Michael Walzer, professor emeritus of the Institute for Advanced Study, tells a story about changes to postal law in the 1800s to illustrate the strictness of American secularism, even among religious citizens and politicians.
Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East | 11/19/14
Despite its reputation for religious intolerance, the Middle East has long sheltered many distinctive faiths. How are groups such as the Mandaeans and Yazidis of Iraq, the Zoroastrians of Iran, and the Copts of Egypt hanging on to their ancient traditions? How can we combat religious hatred?
A Conversation with Will Kymlicka on the Challenges of Multiculturalism | 11/11/14
Will Kymlicka, James Traub
From Canada to Europe, how do different societies deal with immigrant groups? How have their policies evolved and where are they headed? What rights should domestic animals have? Will Kymlicka ably shows that the world is going through a rights revolution, demolishing the old hierarchies and gradually becoming more and more inclusive.
Religion in War and Reconciliation | 09/03/14
"There is a long way to go before religious communities become more of a resource for reducing rather than a source for increasing antagonism. But to move in that direction clearly requires greater understanding at the local level."
Sarajevo: Perspectives from a Carnegie New Leader | 08/18/14
Conor Moran, a member of the Carnegie Council Centennial delegation, shares some complex thoughts on the city of Sarajevo and the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina 100 years after World War I and 20 years after the Yugoslav Wars. How can this part of the world move on from its troubled history?
Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings | 06/01/14
Frederic M. Wehrey
It's tempting to see today's Middle East conflicts as the continuation of centuries-old sectarian divisions, but Frederick Wehrey cautions against it. "Sectarianism is really a local institutional governance phenomenon that needs to be addressed through political reform in the Gulf, through ending discrimination, through greater participation in governance."
Moral Imagination | 05/14/14
David Bromwich draws upon thinkers such as Burke, Lincoln, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. to show that it is moral imagination which allows us to judge the right and wrong of actions apart from ourselves, to see the needs of strangers as clearly as the needs of friends. Thus it is essential to governing and to the well-being of the state.
Conviction, Conflict, Community: A Conversation with George Rupp | 04/07/14
George Rupp, James Traub
The United States' problem is the presumption of individualism, which is deeply resented and resisted in most of the world, except in some parts of Western Europe. Until we get over that, we are not going to be able to engage with international issues, because we are unaware of how deeply unacceptable our default position is to all those other communities.
No Ordinary Men: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans von Dohnanyi, Resisters Against Hitler in Church and State | 03/31/14
Elisabeth Sifton, Fritz Stern
Sifton and Stern tell the story of two of the most courageous opponents of the Nazi regime, pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and lawyer Hans von Dohnányi. From the earliest days of Nazism, both men perceived the threats, documented them, and plotted to overthrow Hitler. And they paid with their lives.
God, Faith, and Reason | 03/27/14
This course examines the meaning and limitations of some of the central concepts and beliefs in the philosophical and public discourse on the question of God's existence.
The Constitution Project: Task Force Report on Detainee Treatment | 11/27/13
David Gushee, David R. Irvine
In many instances, U.S. forces used interrogation techniques which constitute torture; the nation's most senior officials bear ultimate responsibility; and there is no evidence that torture produced significant information of value. These are the unanimous conclusions of the task force on detainee treatment, as discussed here by two of its members.
Thought Leader: Chan Heng Chee | 11/19/13
Chan Heng Chee, Devin T. Stewart, Anna Kiefer
"Globally, have we reached a point where we accept that genocide is not acceptable? I think we have. But what to do about it is something different. I'm not sure that, while we know what we have to do, the wherewithal is there, the resources are there, the will is there to deal with some of the larger egregious behavior in the world."
Passionate Conviction and Inclusive Community | 11/19/13
"Convictions matter. At least our own convictions—the affirmations, commitments, and practices that are central to our personal and social identity—matter to us. Yet because we live in an era of unprecedented global interaction, the convictions of people everywhere also matter to all of us whether we know it or not."
Thought Leader: Rowan Williams | 07/30/13
Rowan Williams, Devin T. Stewart
"The heart of a global ethic for our time, or a convergent point of global ethical systems, is that twofold sense of recognizing one another's dignity and sharing our resources in justice. That is one of the areas where the religious traditions of the world have a very significant role to play, since they all in their different ways have a strong sense of how human dignity is to be understood and a strong commitment to justice."
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America | 06/17/13
Since the late 1970s, says George Packer, we've been living in a new era. The structures that supported ordinary Americans' ambitions, from government to business to schools, have stopped working on their behalf. Instead, people felt they were on their own. Some have thrived greatly and others have been left behind, with a rising sense of panic.
When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God | 05/20/13
T. M. Luhrmann
What does it mean to have frequent conversations with God, as so many evangelicals say they do? Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann spent over 10 years as an active member of evangelical churches in different parts of the U.S., and uses her personal experiences, interviews, and scientific training to report on the evangelical faith.