Religious Freedom as an Instrument of US Foreign Policy

Asia/Hong_KongReligious Freedom as an Instrument of US Foreign Policy
    Asia/Hong_KongReligious Freedom as an Instrument of US Foreign Policy


      Religious Freedom as an Instrument of US Foreign Policy


      Professor Blandine Chelini-Pont (Professor of History, Law and Religion at University of Aix-Marseille, France)


      December 8, 2015


      12:30 pm – 1:30 pm


      Room 201, 2/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong (Map)




      (Tel) (852) 3917-5772


      Religious freedom has been a component of the United States’ international power projection since the 19th century, and its importance has increased since the Cold War. It became a form of resistance in the rivalry between the two Blocs and a key element of detente in the Helsinki Accords. Since 1996 and the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), the US State Department is required to take freedom of religion into account in its bilateral relations, and to publish an annual report on religious freedom for the US Congress. However, especially in its relations with China, freedom of religion has been sidelined during the Obama Administration, which has preferred a policy of “religious engagement”, primarily with Muslim communities. What are the stakes and limitations of this new policy? Has religious freedom become a global issue defended by other, more efficient and diversified actors?

      About the Speaker

      Blandine Chelini-Pont obtained her Ph.D in Law and Political Ideas at the Université d’Aix-Marseille and her Ph.D in History and International Relations at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. She is a Full Professeur in History, Law and Religion at Aix-Marseille University. Her researches are distinctively focused on legal secularism; on issues of the legal and cultural accommodation for religious freedom and religious pluralism in secular or Muslim legal systems; on contemporary political ideologies rooted in religious reference; and on religious actors or religiously motivated policies in the international relations. She has published more than eighty articles in French, Spanish, German and English on Religion and International Relations, American Catholicism, American Political/Religious History, Law and Religion (French Secularism, American Separatism, Islam in the Law). Her latest published book was on the rise of the Catholic Right in the United States, as an unknown source of American conservatism and its political influence (La droite catholique aux Etats-Unis, de la guerre froide aux années 2000, PUR, 2014).  She is currently preparing two new books, one on the Vatican and The United States from the American Revolution to President Obama’s administration, and the second on the Religious Politics of the United States at the international level since World War II.