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Council on Foreign Relations Religion and Foreign Policy Bulletin
December 2013

Spotlight on Religious Scholar Hussein Rashid

Hussein Rashid is a CFR term member who teaches at Hofstra University; is associate editor at Religion Dispatches; and blogs at Talk Islam and AltMuslimah. As a Nizari Ismaili Muslim, he believes his faith guides him to leave the world in a better state than he found it. In addition to theology, Dr. Rashid is currently interested in the representation and self-representation of Muslims in America. Most recently, Dr. Rashid began contributing to State of Formation (SofF), an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders writing on issues at the nexus of international affairs and religion. Previously, he served as a consultant to two U.S. presidential candidates and in 2003 worked with Harvard Law School's Afghan legal history project to draft a constitution for Afghanistan.

December 2013

How Mandela Changed South Africa

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(Courtesy Reuters)


In this Expert Brief, CFR's John Campbell assesses Nelson Mandela's legacy, including the racial and economic challenges he faced while working tirelessly to move South Africa from an apartheid state to a democracy. According to Ambassador Campbell, although Nelson Mandela leaves behind a nation with a robust democracy, racial divisions and deep economic problems endure.

If you are interested in listening to Ambassador Campbell discuss this topic in depth on Wednesday, January 8, email

Listen to CFR's Discussion on Ending the Practice of Child Marriage

CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Initiative hosted a luncheon for 150 religious leaders and scholars who attended the November American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD. The conversation on the moral and strategic imperatives behind ending the practice of child marriage, featured CFR Senior Fellow for Women and Policy Rachel Vogelstein and American Jewish World Service President Ruth Messinger. Thank you to everyone who joined us and made the event a huge success!


Ten Elections to Watch in 2014

On his blog The Water's Edge, a platform to analyze the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power, CFR Senior Vice President and Director of Studies James M. Lindsay lists ten elections to watch in 2014. Dr. Lindsay writes that "2014 is shaping up as a year in which the choices voters make could reverberate well beyond their country's borders." To see which elections CFR will be following closely, visit the blog »

The Threat to Myanmar’s Awakening

Just as the country is beginning to open up politically, civil unrest and anger over the slow pace of change threaten to destabilize Myanmar and the region, writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick.

Mr. Kurlantzick recently discussed the transition to democracy and inter-religious violence in Myanmar with religious leaders and scholars from around the country. To listen to the audio from the Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call, visit our dedicated portal at