Faith-Based Diplomacy Under Examination
The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 3 (2008) 209-231
27 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2017
Date Written: 2008
Religion has been largely absent in diplomacy, particularly in the Western world, for a long time. Some would even say since the Enlightenment. Moreover, religion has been ignored in present-day theories of international relations, and thus also in diplomatic studies. A recent ‘resurgence’ of religion in international affairs, however, presents an opportunity to apply moral insights and religious concepts towards the development of peaceful settlements of conflicts through diplomatic techniques. Th e approach of faith-based diplomatic approaches may infuse those insights into today’s political reality, thereby incorporating important initiatives, such as reconciliation and forgiveness, into conflict resolution. This article examines the concept of faith-based diplomacy as declared track-two diplomacy in the context of classical track-one diplomacy. It starts with a brief overview of political science research of track-one and track-two diplomacy. Additional focus is applied to the principles and practices of Christian faith traditions and their potential contributions to peace-building. Finally, the article also evaluates the ‘spiritual roots’ of diplomacy. It assesses how ‘diplomatic theory and practice can be informed and enriched by experimenting with spirituality’. The success of faith-based diplomacy lies in its insights and applications of religious values and methods. But it is also its realistic approach that makes faith-based diplomacy a promising, needed and additional style of diplomacy even though it cannot be properly located within either track-one or track-two diplomacy.
Keywords: Faith-based diplomacy, religious resurgence, moral insights, ethical principles, realism, idealism, reconciliation, forgiveness, conflict resolution, peace-building, track-one and track-two diplomacy, spirituality
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