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Faith a forgotten component of international policy?

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By dxw

 

Richard Burge, Chief Executive, writes:

 

The blog from Dominic Asquith, British Ambassador in Egypt, came at a critical moment for us in Wilton Park.  His thoughtful reflection on diversity and respect in faith coincided with discussion here about how we might address faith and its impact on international policy.  It is complicated, sensitive and risky.

In his piece, Dominic asks us to think about how diversity and differentiation in faith are good and part of being human, but the danger comes when differentiation brings with it distinctions in the value we place on one individual or group compared to another.  In many ways it is the classic dilemma of international relations.  It is an atmosphere that we try to resolve when people gather here.  We ask for difference and diversity to be fully, openly, and honestly expressed.  Wilton Park is where you come to influence others, but also arrive with a willingness to be influenced in return.  Our big challenge, I feel, will be creating an international opportunity for the religious and the secular to talk constructively to each other; at all levels from the governmental to institutional to individual.

So what does this mean for our emerging programme?  Should we take a lead from Dominics persuasive thinking?  Should our programme focus on religious freedom and liberty?  How do we make sure that this is not simply a debate between the Abrahamic faiths and secularism?  Is this an opportunity to reach out in a truly global manner?  In 2012, it will be the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali poet, novelist, musician, painter and playwright. He was Asias first Nobel laureate and a man of myriad gifts. Tagore sought to be a bridge-builder between East and West. He once said, I refuse to think that the twin spirits of the East and the West, the Mary and Martha, can never meet to make perfect the realisation of truth.  Now there is a powerful ambition.

Comments

Ingo-Steven Wais says

Dear Richard and your team, you might surely wondering why I 've wrote this comment today,July 4th, 2012.For it 's written in January 2011.Well, I have a simple answer:The problems, described in
Mr. Dominic Asquith blog are until today nearly the same and surely not solved.E.g. "Diversity" or "Respect".And the worsest problem-in my opinion-these "Classic dilemma of International
Relations" will be-to me-never really solved at all.Nevertheless I do believe that at least the most important problems, e.g. the relationship or maybe the conflict between Israel and Egypt can be solved.But only if both sides are playing fair and have also a real wish to solve them-and to change their politics against each other in a positive sense.And that 's exactly what Egypt and Israel did.That 's why one sentence of you is the the key to open or reopen doors which have been closed for a much to long time:
"Wilton Park is where you come to influence others, but also with
a willingness to be influenced in return".This is really great!And I immediateley interpreted this into a "Wilton Park is the best place to broaden up your horizons".And, according to your question "Is this an opportunity to reach out....?" I only can answer:Yes, it 's the best opportunity!And "Wilton Park "is the best place to begin! To conclude my comment I only can say:Just remember Mr.Rabindranath Tagore and his attempt to become some kind of a brigde-builder between two total different cultures. Within this context, Kate Bush
was once asked about her feelings in re. of the Berlin-Wall.She simply answered:I 'm not interested in any kind of walls.I 'm only interested of how to jump over them. BW, Ingo-Steven Wais, Stuttgart

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Ingo-Steven Wais says

Dear Richard, pls.let me add a short remark to my 1st. comment:
Of course, "International Relations" isn 't correct.It should be called:"International Relationships."
Sorry + bw, Ingo-Steven

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