News Overview 2015

Faith, Freedom, and Foreign Policy

Religion has reemerged as a major factor on both sides of the Atlantic. Religiously motivated terrorist attacks in Europe have renewed debate on the relationship between Islam and the West. The growing authoritarianism of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey has raised a debate about whether Islam is compatible with democracy or if his actions simply constitute a power grab. In the United States, the influence of Christian groups on both domestic and international policies remains a hotly debated issue. These and other aspects of the role of religion in the transatlantic community are the focus of the new report by the Fellows of the Transatlantic Academy, entitled Faith, Freedom, and Foreign Policy: Challenges for the Transatlantic Community.

"Policymakers in the transatlantic community must factor the influence of religion into their decision making on numerous issues,” the Academy’s executive director, Stephen F. Szabo, writes in the introduction. “This report suggests ways of doing so and of thinking about the interplay of faith, freedom, and foreign policy."

The report was authored by the six Academy fellows:
  • Michael Barnett of George Washington University,
  • Clifford Bob of Duquesne University,
  • Nora Fisher Onar of the University of Oxford,
  • Anne Jenichen of the University of Bremen, Volkswagen Stiftung Fellow
  • Sir Michael Leigh of German Marshall Fund of the United States,
  • Lucian N. Leustean of Aston University.

Additional chapters are authored by Bosch Public Policy Fellows Mustafa Akyol, an independent journalist and author of Turkish background, and Janice Gross Stein of the University of Toronto, as well as Alicja Curanović of the University of Warsaw.

The Transatlantic Academy is a research institution devoted to creating common approaches to the longterm challenges facing Europe and North America. The Academy does this by each year bringing together scholars, policy experts, and authors from both sides of the Atlantic and from different disciplinary perspectives to research and analyze a distinct policy theme of transatlantic interest. Working together from a collaborative and interdisciplinary perspective, Academy fellows bridge the Atlantic academic and policy communities, and use research, publications, and seminars to develop policyrelevant contributions to critical debates in North America and Europe.

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The Transatlantic Academy was created in 2007 as a partnership between the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius. The Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Lynde and Har-ry Bradley Foundation joined as full partners beginning in 2008, other donors joined throughout the years.