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Interreligious Dialogue Initiatives and International Politics

One of the two angles in front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva
Thursday, March 30, 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Interreligious dialogue (IRD) has developed into an increasingly significant dimension of international politics. The lecture presents two dimensions of this process: (a) It analyses the integration of the notions of ‘dialogue’ and ‘harmony’ into the official resolutions of the United Nations’ General Assembly (UN-GA) and discusses their significance for the religion-discourse within the United Nations. (b) It reconstructs the developments of three organizations that have an international agenda and are explicitly propagating IRD – the World’s Parliament of Religions, the World Conference on Religion and Peace, and the United Religions Initiative. On this basis, the lecture develops a two-directional argument: On the one hand, it will substantiate the proposition that IRD has developed into a central dimension of international politics. On the other hand, it will make the point that the international segment of IRD-activities is strongly influenced by international relations.

Prof. Dr. Karsten Lehmann is a sociologist as well as a scholar of Religious Studies. He holds degrees from Lancaster University (Master in Religious Studies), the University of Tübingen (Doctorate in Sociology), and Bayreuth University (Post-Doctoral in Religious Studies). As far as his own research is concerned, Karsten Lehmann is primarily interested in religious plurality on the borders between the religious and other social fields – such as education, politics, or arts. So far, his publications have inter alia been dealing with new religious movements, the religious associations of immigrants, as well as the role of religiously affiliated actors in international politics and interreligious dialogue-activities. Lehmann is full professor at the Private University of Education Vienna / Krems.