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T. Walsh: The Relevance of Religion in Peacebuilding

This article was prepared and presented at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City, January 13, 2014, at a special conference on the crisis in Syria. It appeared in the UPF journal Dialogue & Alliance, Vol. 28, No. 1, Summer 2014.

I want to express at the outset my appreciation for the effort that is being made by His Holiness Pope Francis and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and its Chancellor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. This consultation on “Syria: Can We Remain Indifferent” is urgently needed. The following reflections offer a perspective on the broader context of the Syrian crisis, with special emphasis on the significance of religion and its relevance to international relations and peacebuilding.

The post-Cold War era has been a time of religious resurgence, a time when religious actors move out of the shadows. Hand in hand is an awareness that secularization, a process linked to modernization and the primacy of scientific rationality, has not led, as some anticipated, to the obsolescence of religion. Religion continues to thrive throughout most of the world, while worldviews that disregard religion, some of which have utopian aspirations, have fallen far short of their ideals.

Religion continues to provide vision, meaning, moral direction and communal solidarity for billions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Sikhs, Jains, etc., and to many who consider themselves “spiritual” but not necessarily “religious.” In the process, believers, as actors in the world spanning all sectors of society, have an unmistakable impact on our world.

During much of the Cold War era religion was on the back pages of history. The Cold War era was dominated by competing ideologies related to political economic systems and geopolitical power. Religion was often understood, by communists and capitalists alike, as a private affair or as an anachronistic carry-over from humanity’s primitive past. Such a construal of religion’s place in the world was short-sighted.

The passing of the Cold War era exposed an ideological void that precipitated a new search for meaning and identity. At the same time, this global shift, occurring in the late twentieth century, opened up new opportunities, and dangers, for religious voices and religious actors.

We know, for example, that during the latter days of the Cold War, Pope John Paul II, lacking any “hard power” divisions, was a critical player in challenging the authority of Soviet communism and its state-sponsored atheism. Moreover, when the former Yugoslavia began to break apart in the post-Soviet era, it did so largely along religious and ethnic lines. That is, religious beliefs and ideas, coupled with ethnic identity and social solidarity, were drivers of political action.

An awareness of religion’s significance for society and world affairs has a long, distinguished history in academia, in fields such as the sociology of religion, phenomenology of religion, religionswissenschaft, and religious studies. Max Weber’s own lifelong research project, for example, was to try to understand the underpinnings of the rise of modernity and western rationality, and he attributed that rise to unique religious ideas found within Protestantism. The point for Weber was that ideas, and not merely materials forces, drive historical development. [i]

Roman Catholicism’s rich tradition of “social encyclicals” is widely known, underscoring the necessary relevance of religion to social and moral action in the world. Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum of 1891, and Pope John XXIII’s Mater et Magister (1961), subtitled, “Christianity and Social Progress,” and his Pacem in Terris (1963) are examples of the enormous influence which religious ideas have on our world.

In addition, the various efforts in recent decades to formulate social and political theologies, both the theologies of liberation, as well as theologies of democratic capitalism, demonstrate the natural and necessary interface between religion and society, between religion and public life.[ii]

The well-known German social theorist and philosopher Jurgen Habermas, who had understood modernization and rationalization – that is, the “Enlightenment project” – as being necessarily accompanied by secularization, has re-assessed his position and now is affirmative about the ongoing relevance of religion, acknowledging that many, if not most of the moral ideals that are upheld in modernity and within the “Enlightenment project” have their roots, often unacknowledged, in religion and spirituality.[iii] Habermas engaged in a significant dialogue with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the topic of secularization and rationality.[iv] Likewise, the sociologist Peter Berger, who had once accepted secularization as an inevitable counterpart to modernization, has also come to question the once taken-for-granted secularization thesis.[v]

In the late 20th century, even the field of international relations has opened up more widely to an awareness of the religious factor. Evidence of religion’s relevance is seen, for example, in conflicts ranging from Mindanao, to Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Azerbaijan and Armenia, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Myanmar, Central African Republic, and, broadly speaking, the tensions between “Islam and the West.”

Religion, of course, is not merely a cause of conflict. Religion’s sins seem to be well reported, while its virtues are often overlooked. The role of religion in providing not only meaning and community, but in providing essential life-sustaining humanitarian services – hospitals, medical care, disaster relief, etc. -to those in need is enormous. Take away the work of Caritas Internationalis, World Vision, Islamic charities, Jewish humanitarian organizations, and the work of socially-engaged Buddhists, along with countless other faith-based organizations that dedicate themselves to charity and humanitarian relief, and there’s an enormous gap.

While acknowledging religious resurgence as a global fact of life in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, coupled with an increasing convergence of religious and political interests, we also come to recognize accompanying dangers, particularly in the interface between religions. Interreligious conflict is a growing global threat and, for this reason, interfaith dialogue more important than ever; that is, if we are to succeed in building a world of lasting peace.



The interaction between the believers of various faiths has existed for millennia. We also know that religions, understood historically, do not emerge ex nihilo but rather emerge from pre-existing contexts, often arising intentionally as corrections, purifications, alternatives or new expressions of pre-existing traditions. One thinks of the long narrative that includes the rise of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the many variations within these traditions. We also recognize the family resemblances among Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains.

The awareness of the presence of other faiths has increased in recent decades, as international trade, travel, communications and education has grown.

The 1893 Parliament of the World’s Religions was a watershed in the history of intentional interfaith, convened in Chicago as part of the World Exposition in honor of the “discovery” of America. Charles Bonney, a Swedenborgian, advocated for the Parliament as a component of the World Exposition, believing in a “mystical union” that transcended historical manifestations of religion. Four thousand people attended the opening session of the Parliament. Swami Vivekananda, whose birth 150 years ago was just celebrated, was a key figure at the Chicago parliament.[vi] The Parliament of the World’s Religions was re-activated in Chicago on its centenary, and since 1993 it continues to hold interfaith meetings approximately every five years.

Other major interfaith organizations and efforts of the twentieth century include the World Congress of Faiths, the Temple of Understanding, International Association for Religious Freedom, World Conference on Religions and Peace, now known as Religions for Peace, Universal Peace Federation, the United Religions Initiative, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, headed by Cardinal Tauran, the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna, and many others that work on regional, national and local levels.

There is growing awareness that interfaith dialogue, as a basis for building respect, understanding, mutual trust and cooperation, is necessary for peace among peoples and, therefore, among nations. For the vast majority of the world’s peoples, religion forms the basis for their worldview and core values, which in turn form the basis of ideas and practices in the world. To understand “the other” is difficult without an understanding of that person’s most deeply held values and beliefs. These are most often religious in nature, even when they may be poorly articulated or taken for granted.

Unfortunately, the history of relations among religions has often been characterized by disparagement and polemics, giving rise to mutual misunderstanding, distrust, and eventually conflict. That is why interfaith dialogue is so necessary, to promote understanding, respect, appreciation and cooperation.

Intra-faith dialogue

However, it is not merely the relations between different religions that are the problem, for the relationships between those of the same faith tradition can be equally troubled. We know that within each major faith or religious tradition broadly conceived – Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism – there are divisions. Sometimes these divisions are very acrimonious, leading to conflict. Thus, there is need not only for interfaith dialogue or interreligious dialogue that takes place between different religions, but, equally important, the need for intra-faith or intra-religious dialogue, that is, a dialogue among differing denominations or sects within a religious tradition. The divisions within major faith traditions often undermine possibilities for cooperation on a wider level in society.[vii]

Pluralism, a wider ecumenism and theology of religions

Within most religious traditions, there is growing awareness of the need to come to terms constructively with the empirical, sociological fact of pluralism. Much of the world’s population lives in urban, increasingly pluralistic, multi-cultural environments. While times of worship and ritual provide opportunities for renewal and revitalization for the community of the like-minded, everyday life is much more complex.[viii] For this reason, it is necessary that we find constructive ways to understand and respect the “other,” so that we do not view the “other” as a threat or disconfirmation of my own deeply held beliefs and that of my community.

Enculturation and the development of trans-cultural competences are as old as religion itself, as believers search for ways to present their religious ideas in ways that best convey their meaning to diverse audiences. One thinks of St. Paul’s message to the Athenians as reported in Acts 17.[ix] In our globalized world, the plural nature of social reality increases the need to address “otherness.” Concepts such as the “wider ecumenism” and the “theology of religion” have emerged largely in response to this reality.[x] Consider Vatican II’s “Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions,” Nostra Aetate (1965), which states, “We reject nothing which is true and holy in these religions.” The Qur’an itself speaks respectfully of “the people of the Book” and builds significantly and often respectfully on the foundations established by Judaism and Christianity. As we read in Matthew chapter eight, Jesus himself affirmed the exemplary character and faith of a Roman centurion, not to mention his affirmation of the “good Samaritan.”

The fact of pluralism does not logically entail the embrace of relativism on matters of truth, faith and morals. It does, however, offer an opportunity to learn from others, to search for common ground, and to value and appreciate the other, even when there are points of significant disagreement. After all, one can become both better informed and more deeply committed to one’s own religious identity and tradition through engagement with others. In the process, we often expand our own capacities, cultivating wisdom and compassion along the way.

Pluralism and the reassertion of identity

Accompanying the overwhelming social reality of pluralism is the tendency, if not the need to secure the foundations of meaning, identity, tradition and community. Therefore, as we experience multi-cultural trends, and face the vertigo of urban life, indeed digital life, we also see contrasting or balancing trends arising, trends that call us toward community solidarity as a way to resist the acids of modernity and the deterioration of valued traditions. Hence, we observe movements to return back to a previous if not “golden” era, or trends toward separation and the drawing of new boundaries. Communitarians, for example, aim to avoid radical individualism and relativism, while affirming the importance of tradition and community solidarity. While some such approaches may be reactionary and crude, others correctly recognize aspects of modernity and post-modernity which are destructive of tradition and community solidarity.

Fundamentalism is present in virtually all religions, calling for a return to core “fundamentals” that appear to be either eroded or endangered by contemporary values. Identity politics, as well, evidences a desire to avoid the loss of identity and tradition. This is reflected in various nationalist movements, such as we find in the USA, increasingly in Europe, and in India.[xi] Certainly, within the Islamic world, the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc., appeal to ideological purity and tradition, often in reaction to the temptations of modernity and “westernization.” Of course, on the other hand, there are those who have seen the downside of communal solidarity, tribal togetherness, and the appeal to the way of the ancestors, and seek more freedom and political participation within a largely secular public sphere.

We can see that many of these trends are reflected in the complex dynamics of the crisis in Syria.

Religion and international relations

Based on the social realities described above, one increasingly comes across books that recognize the relevance of religion in the context of international relations. Douglas Johnston, the founder of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, based in Washington, DC, was an early advocate of having international relations experts take a closer look at religion.[xii] Others in the field of international relations include Jack Snyder, editor of Religion and International Relations Theory;[xiii] Jeffrey Haynes, author of An Introduction to International Relations and Religion;[xiv] and Scott M. Thomas, author of The Global Resurgence of Religion and the Transformation of International Relations: The Struggle for the Soul of the Twenty-First Century.[xv]

Of course, Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” essay in Foreign Affairs in 1993, and subsequent book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, opened a wide debate about the role of religion in global affairs.[xvi] Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke about the need for religious literacy and the linkage between religion and diplomacy in her volume entitled, The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on God, America and World Affairs.[xvii]

September 11, 2001 was a turning point, a rude and tragic wake-up call that underscored the relevance of religion as a factor in human affairs; something to be ignored only at our peril.

Even if one considers the rise of China as a secular state, one is at the same time reminded of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, Falun Gong, and a growing trend toward “house churches.” In India, a nation of one billion people, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu Nationalist party, is very likely to become the majority party after elections this April 2014, guided by hindutva philosophy, a Hindu-based, nationalist worldview. And, as is well known, in America religion is always at play in the public square, on the left and the right, and in the middle. In Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, there is a strengthening of the primacy of the Russian Orthodox Church. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan recently visited the Yasakuni Shrine of Shintoism, causing an uproar from neighboring countries who have painful memories of World War II.

Thus, we can see the interplay between religion and national politics, and international relations.

The United Nations is increasingly showing awareness, interest and appreciation for the reality of religion, and the need for interreligious dialogue. It is not unusual to find quotations from recent Secretaries General citing the need and value of interreligious dialogue. Kofi Annan spoke as follows in 2000:

Men and women of faith are a strong influence on group and individual conduct. As teachers and guides, you can be powerful agents of change….You can set a powerful example of interfaith dialogue and cooperation.[xviii]

Of course religious, interfaith and faith-based NGOs have been active at the UN for decades, many affiliated with the UN’s Department of Public Information and some with the Economic and Social Council. In 2004, with an initiative promoted by the Philippines, the UN’s 59th Session of the General Assembly resolved to call for increased attention to interreligious dialogue.[xix] In 2009, General Assembly Resolution A/64/L.15/Rev. 1 called for the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to give attention to the “promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace.” In 2010 the General Assembly resolved (A/RES/65/5) to establish the “World Interfaith Harmony Week,” to be honored each year during the first week of February. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World Interfaith Harmony Week 2013 stated that “mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace.”[xx] The Universal Peace Federation, along with many other NGOs, has worked to encourage and support such initiatives, including a call for the establishment of an interreligious council within the UN system.[xxi]

The call for a “dialogue among civilizations” has been advanced at the UN, perhaps in part to offset the influence of Samuel Huntington’s assertion about the impending or existing “clash of civilizations.” The UN’s Alliance of Civilizations is actively engaged to promote dialogue and cooperation among people of different cultures and civilizations.

Religion is a powerful force in human affairs. Like technology, religion can be a force for good or a force for evil, a force for peace or a force for conflict and war. For this reason, the increasing attention given to religion at the United Nations is timely and urgently needed.


The crisis in Syria has become a boiling cauldron in which the complex geopolitical and interreligious trends are coming together. A popular uprising leading to a violent government overreaction has opened the gates to a great cast of players, including super-powers, the UN, regional powers, sectarian movements and extremists. Some see eerie parallels between 1914 and 2014, fearing some spark may trigger a wider conflagration. But hopefully, the lessons of history have been learned, and such madness and destruction will not be repeated. What has already happened in Syria is enough, with 130,000 killed and millions displaced.

In some ways Syria brings back memories of the Cold War Era, only now coupled with the more recent dynamics of interreligious and intra-religious conflict. The US, Russia, along with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are among the significant players. This is not “business as usual” in world affairs. This is not the American Revolution, nor the French nor the Bolshevik. It’s something altogether new.

In this context, it seems insufficient to speak of the need for interfaith or intra-faith dialogue. The crisis, after all, has become too severe. Of course, dialogue is needed, on all levels. Geneva II is an important step in the right direction, and the dialogue that has begun, as of January 2014, between the government and the opposition will hopefully bring positive outcomes for the sake of the people of Syria.

What can be done

Much of the burden of resolving the crisis in Syria lies with the United Nations, the Security Council, and other regional powers. The forces of “hard power” are needed to provide incentives for establishing a ceasefire, withdrawal of external forces, opening of corridors for humanitarian aid, release of hostages and exchange of prisoners, and setting a time-table for political transition. At the same time, “soft power” approaches are essential as well. In this way, a balanced approach can be developed.[xxii]

In this respect His Holiness Pope Francis has a critical role. His voice speaks loudly and carries moral authority. He can exhort and compel the various stakeholders to consider spiritual and moral principles. In particular, emphasis can be given to encourage:

  • Involvement of religious leaders in the peace deliberations
  • Leaders from Islam, Christianity and Judaism (the Abrahamic faiths) to set an example of dialogue and cooperation
  • Intra-religious dialogue and cooperation within Islam and Christianity
  • Increased collaboration among the sectors of government, civil society and faith-based organizations, including within the United Nations system
  • Religious education that is respectful and affirming of other faiths
  • The empowerment of women
  • Cooperation among all sectors in providing humanitarian aid

Peace education, character education and the virtues

Peace is not only related to broad principles and public policies adopted by national governments and international organizations. Peace is also rooted in the heart, mind and character of individuals. Thus, it is essential that efforts be made to develop a curriculum that cultivates the qualities of character that are necessary in building a world of peace and human development. Along these lines, Pope Francis spoke recently, in Evangelii Gaudium, of the virtues and the acts which proceed from them, citing Thomas Aquinas, and underscoring the importance of virtues such as faith and mercy. His Holiness reminded us of the need for understanding the “organic unity among the virtues,” and their capacity to empower us “to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others.”[xxiii]

The project of developing an interfaith curriculum that underscores the importance of cultivating the virtues as the foundation of character development, and peacebuilding, could form a basis for building common ground among the faith traditions, and could play a critical role in post-conflict peacebuilding efforts in Syria.

A defining moment

We stand at a defining moment or at the very least, a critical moment in world affairs. Defining moments seldom arise in an abstract context. Moreover, they are seldom the outgrowth of academic reflection alone. If this were the case, perhaps Immanuel Kant would have solved the problems of international relations a few centuries ago with the publication of his influential essay entitled “On Perpetual Peace.”[xxiv]

Great advances in the relations among nations take place in the face of either severe threats or the exhaustion that comes after years of power struggles and war. Such was the case with the Congress of Vienna and Concert of Europe in 1814-15, and subsequently with the formation of the League of Nations in 1920, and the United Nations in 1945. Threat, horror and fear often drive human action. Of course, good ideas and the “better angels of our nature” are required to convert fear into constructive action. Perhaps now is such a time?

In terms of Syria, and all that “Syria” now represents, the UN, and the super-powers [Russia, China and the USA and EU] have the hard power role to play. And yet their role needs to be played out cooperatively, guided not only by their respective national interests, but by placing highest priority on the interests of the people of Syria.

To some extent the “secularist” approach to international relations, with emphasis on national self-interest and realpolitik, the dominant paradigm since Westphalia, is also now being called into question. Religion is intertwined with politics. Hence, international relations experts must become professionally bilingual. Non-state actors are emerging as strong forces in global affairs.

Civil society, people-to-people diplomacy and “track two” diplomacy are widespread. The digital revolution is a advancing on the popular level and governments cannot easily keep up. These create new challenges for governments. And yet, as important as these developments may be, this time in history may be pre-eminently a defining moment for religion itself. To some extent, religion is on trial and the world is watching

While religions have a reputation, not totally undeserved, for misbehaving, and for being a source of division, we stand at a moment when the various religions have the opportunity to come together and lead the way to peace. This applies, in the case of Syria, to the Abrahamic faiths.

In this respect, Pope Francis stands in a truly critical point. Already he is making an enormously positive impact. His model of servant leadership, his openness to the other, his planned visit to the Holy Land in May, are all dramatic and positive steps in the right direction. His efforts to build bridges of trust and cooperation within the divided Christian family are enormously important, especially in terms of repairing relations between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox traditions, divided for a thousand years. By promoting intra-Christian unity and cooperation, a new standard can be set for all religions around the world.

Christian unity, in turn, opens the way for the wider ecumenism among the world’s religions, though the priority in the Middle East should be among the Abrahamic traditions. These faiths, after all, belong to the same family. They share the same larger meta-narrative of divine providence leading toward ultimate redemption. If Muslim, Christians and Jews can come closer together at this time, it will represent an enormous breakthrough for humanity. I believe Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land has precisely this potential.

It will not happen quickly or in one stroke, but a process can begin. With the Pope’s “convening power” many subsequent steps can be taken. Pope Francis’s example can serve as a model or template for other religions to practice intra-faith and interfaith dialogue, bridge-building and cooperation. Pope Francis has the convening “soft power” to take steps that can have far-reaching impact on interreligious relations. The distrust and ill will between “Islam and the West” needs desperately the “intervention” of soft power forces, and Pope France can lead the way with a vision that simultaneously affirms sacred tradition and openness to the other.

Our world needs a spiritual awakening, and a paradigm shift. Each religion has within itself an essential core consisting of truth and love that can lead us beyond conflict toward mutual love and cooperation. The goal is not a facile syncretism, but rather a unity in diversity and a unity in love, under one God. We are all members of one family under one God.

We live in a multi-religious world. It is time that believers from all religions rise to the occasion and open a new chapter in interreligious relations, for the sake of all humanity. Perhaps the pain and suffering of the Syrian people can awaken us to this moment of opportunity.

Dr. Thomas Walsh is the president of UPF. With academic training in the field of religion, he earned his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University. He has been a teacher, author and editor with specialization in areas of interfaith, religious studies, peace studies, philosophy and social theory. He serves on the International Council of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations and on the board of directors of the International Coalition for Religious Freedom.

[i] Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, New York: Charles Scribner’s, 1958.

[ii] See for example, Richard J. Neuhaus, The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America, 1984.

[iii] See, Jurgen Habermas, “The Political: The Rational Meaning of a Questionable Inheritance of Political Theology,” in Edourado Mendieta and Jonathan Vanantwerpen, Eds., The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere, New York: Columbia University Press, 2011; Nicholas Adams, Habermas and Theology, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006; Thomas G. Walsh, “Religion, Peace and the Post-Secular Public Sphere,” in International Journal on World Peace, Vol. XXIX, No. 2, June 2012.

[iv] Jurgen Habermas and Joseph Ratzinger, The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion, San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

[v] Peter Berger, Ed., The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics, Washington, D.C.: Eerdmanns, 1999.

[vi] See Marcus Braybrooke, Widening Vision, Oxford: Braybrooke Press, 2013, and Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age, Grand Rapids, MI: CoNexus Press, 1998.

[vii] It is commendable that present in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences’ consultation on Syria that both the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity were represented. These institutions evidence the need and the value of both interfaith dialogue and intra-faith dialogue.

[viii] See Jonathan Sacks, The Dignity of Difference, London: Continuum, 2003.

[ix] See Robert A. Hunt, The Gospel Among the Nations, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2010.

[x] The concept of a wider ecumenism refers to the expansion of Christian ecumenism to include consideration of the believers of other religions. See Peter Phan, Ed., Christianity and the Wider Ecumenism, New York: Paragon, 1990. The concept of a theology of religions refers to a branch of theology that aspires to understand and explain other religions, and their truth claims, theologically. See Paul F. Knitter, Theologies of Religions, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012.

[xi] See, “Europe’s Tea Parties” in The Economist, January 6-10, 2014.

[xii] See Douglas Johnston’s, Religion, The Missing Dimension of Statecraft [1994]; Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik [2003]; and Religion, Terror and Error: US Foreign Policy and the Challenge of Spiritual Engagement.

[xiii] Jack Snyder, Religion and International Relations Theory, New York: Columbia, 2011.

[xiv] Jeffrey Haynes, An Introduction to International Relations and Religion, Essex, UK: Pearson, 2007.

[xv] Scott M. Thomas, The Global Resurgence of Religion and the Transformation of International Relations, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005.

[xvi] Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.

[xvii] Madeleine Albright, The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on God, America and World Affairs, New York: Harper Collins, 2006.

[xviii] Kofi Annan, “Address, Millennium Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders,” United Nations Press Release SG/SM/7520, August 29, 2000.

[xix] General Assembly Resolution A/59/23, December 2, 2004.

[xx] Ban Ki-moon, “Message for World Interfaith Harmony Week 2013,” UN Web Services Section, Department of Public Information, United Nations, 2013.

[xxi] See Sun Myung Moon, “Founder’s Address,” in Thomas G. Walsh, Ed., Assembly 2000 Report, New York: IIFWP Books, 2000.

[xxii] The concept of “hard power” refers largely to instruments of political, economic and military force. “Soft power” refers to instruments that affect “hearts and minds” through people-to-people contact, education and civil society activism.

[xxiii] Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, III: 37-39, 2013. See also Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, South Bend, IN: Notre Dame, 1981.

[xxiv] Immanuel Kant, “On Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch,” 1795. See Francis H. Hinsley, Power and the Pursuit of Peace: Theory and Practice in the History of Relations between States. Cambridge University Press, 1967.