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Council on Foreign Relations Religion and Foreign Policy Bulletin
May 2014

May 2014

CFR Backgrounder on Boko Haram

This CFR Backgrounder explains Boko Haram, a diffuse Islamist insurgency, which has plagued Nigeria's North for years. The group, which targets civil and military institutions, has launched violent attacks with increasing regularity since 2009. To better understand the group's ideology, grievances, and structure, consult the Backgrounder.


Additional Resources on the Crisis in Nigeria

  • Read the transcript from a recent media call featuring John Campbell, CFR senior fellow and former ambassador to Nigeria, and Johnnie Carson, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs and senior adviser at the United States Institute of Peace.
  • CFR Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman addresses the kidnapping of nearly 280 schoolgirls from a school in Northern Nigeria and offers policy suggestions for how to defeat Boko Haram on her blog, "Democracy in Development."

How Latin America is Shaping the Vatican

In this Foreign Affairs Snapshot, Omar G. Encarnacion, professor of political studies at Bard College, looks at Pope Francis's stances on social, theological, and economic issues and the influence his Latin American roots have on his papacy thus far. Visit "Foreign Affairs" »

Why Washington Should Focus on Middle East Peace

In this Foreign Affairs essay, Kenneth Pollack, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, and Ray Takeyh, CFR senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies, contend that the problems of the Middle East are too deeply intertwined with U.S. national security and the American economy to ignore. According to them, the Obama administration would be wise to take a greater interest in the region. Read the essay »

How Immigrants are Changing Sweden's Welfare State

Swedish radio host Ivar Ekman weighs in on how a lax immigration policy in Sweden has divided the nation and ultimately reshaped the population. Read more »



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The CFR Religion and Foreign Policy Initiative connects religious and congregational leaders, scholars, and thinkers with CFR's resources on U.S. foreign policy and provides a forum for this community to discuss a broad range of pressing international issues. For more information, please contact Lizzy McCourt, associate director for the National Program & Outreach, at 212.434.9848 or

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CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Portal,, is a "first stop" on the internet for members of the religious community seeking information on and analysis of U.S. foreign policy and global developments. In addition to a wide range of CFR materials—including work from the think tank, interviews with experts, meeting transcripts, and new backgrounders—users will find analysis and documents from other sources that have been carefully selected by the website's editorial staff for their relevance and quality.


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