Religion in Global Politics

Year Awarded: 2002

This Initiative has concluded its research.

In March of 2002, a research team based at the Harvard Academy was awarded the Weatherhead Initiative Grant from Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. The project “Religion in Global Politics” draws on the contributions of members of the Harvard faculty who are considered to be experts in their respective fields. These faculty include J. Bryan Hehir, former head of the executive committee of Harvard Divinity School; Samuel P. Huntington, chairman of the Harvard Academy and Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor; David Little, T.J. Dermot Dunphy Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict, and director of the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at Harvard Divinity School; Jessica Stern, lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government; and Monica D. Toft, assistant professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government and assistant director of the Weatherhead Center's John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies. The project team also includes Daniel Philpott, assistant professor of government and international relations, and a fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame; and Timothy Shah, research fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC.

The research team aimed to produce a systematic, comprehensive, comparative analysis of the impact on global politics of religious beliefs and organizations. The project linked five studies that considered the relationship of religious belief to five types of political activity, including national identity and political legitimacy, terrorism and civil war, the transition to democratic rights and regimes, the reduction of conflict, and conceptions of international order. The award from the Weatherhead Center complemented an award made to the team by the Smith Richardson Foundation in July of 2001. The resulting research produced several monographs, three books, and a number of articles published in academic and policy-making journals.

Principal Investigators

Samuel P. Huntington

Faculty Associate (emeritus). Albert J.Weatherhead III University Professor, Emeritus, Department of Government, Harvard University.

J. Bryan Hehir

Executive Committee; Faculty Associate. Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life, Harvard Kennedy School, and President, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston.

David Little

Faculty Associate. Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict, Harvard Divinity School.

Monica Duffy Toft

Faculty Associate. Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. Jessica Stern Lecturer in Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Faculty affiliate at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University.

See also: Initiatives