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Council on Foreign Relations Religion and Foreign Policy Bulletin
October 2012

Join CFR and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in Chicago, November 16

CFR, in partnership with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, invites you to attend a discussion on "The Role of Religion in Foreign Policy," in Chicago on Friday, November 16, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. For details on the event and to register, please go to

Visit CFR at the American Academy of Religion's (AAR) Annual Meeting at Chicago's McCormick Place West Convention Center, November 17 to 20. Stop by Booth 611 to meet with CFR representatives, learn more about the Religion and Foreign Policy initiative, and collect complimentary issues of CFR resources and Foreign Affairs magazine.

October 2012

And the Emmy Goes To...CFR!

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CFR's "Crisis Guide: Iran" won the 2012 Emmy Award for "New Approaches to News & Documentary Programming: Current News Coverage."

Understanding Iran is central to understanding the challenges facing the Middle East. "Crisis Guide: Iran" uses interactive timelines, graphs, maps, and images to trace Iran's history, examine its oil-driven economy, and survey its nuclear program. The guide's seven chapters include video interviews with more than twenty-five leading analysts, journalists, and Iranian leaders. Use this resource to explore the country's complex regime structure and watch experts debate the range of policy options.

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Where Do Our Rights Come From?

CFR Senior Fellow Elliott Abrams examines the inalienable rights that we as humans exercise, and critiques a recent statement by UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, in which Eliasson gives credit to the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the sources of these rights.

"The UN and its documents may be effective or ineffective at respecting and protecting peoples' rights, but the UN cannot possibly be the origin of those rights." Abrams goes on to conclude, "there is of course a deeper problem here, which the secular Mr. Eliasson and the secular states of Europe cannot solve: if there is no God who endows us with rights, there really are no 'rights' at all, just 'gifts' the state may or may not hand us from time to time."

New CFR Fellow to Focus on Religion in the Middle East

Reza Aslan, best-selling author and acclaimed scholar of religions, joins CFR as adjunct senior fellow. Among other activities, Dr. Aslan will lead a roundtable series on religion in the Middle East.

In his first op-ed as a CFR fellow, Aslan examines the relationship between Islam and democracy, dispelling the claim that the the two are inherently incompatible. For him, "there is no such thing as Christianity, Judaism, Islam. There are only Christians, Jews, Muslims," and people, not religion, are responsible for promoting democracy.

To learn more about his background and award-winning publications, visit

The Future of Millenium Development Goals

As the current Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) are set to expire in 2015, CFR experts reflect on the future of global development and examine the process by which a new set of goals will be chosen. Skeptics maintain that the high-level panel charged with advising UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the next MDGs fails to "incorporate the perspectives of those actually living in poverty." To learn more about the selection process and the obstacles that lie ahead, visit CFR's Development Channel »