A conference entitled "Religion and Secularism in a Global Age, Society, Democracy and Foreign Policy" is being held at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University on Friday 1 March from 15.00-20.00.
The event is being organised by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in collaboration with the American University of Rome, the Pontifical Council for Culture, the British embassy to the Holy See, and the Gregorian.
The conference will see eminent academics, religious leaders, diplomats and civil servants explore key international issues in the context of religious and secular world views. The key note address will be delivered by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the high-profile biblical scholar who recently led the Vatican Lenten retreat and who is behind the hugely-successful “Courtyard of the Gentiles” project in which prominent Christians discuss with equally prominent non-believers the subject of belief.
Britain's ambassador to the Holy See Nigel Baker will chair the afternoon session which includes a panel discussion by experts who will consider religion and foreign policy from practical, historical and academic perspectives.
Topics for discussion include: "Does Indian Secularism hold lessons for Europe?"; "Religion and politics: is there really an Islamic exceptionalism?"; "Reflections from the North African experience"; "The Turkish experience of secularism: a comparative perspective on laïcité"; "Religious Minorities and Human Rights"; and "Judging Religious Rights Cases: a Comparative Perspective".
The conference, which will be conducted in English, is open to the public but subject to advance booking at FGI@tonyblairfaithfoundation.org.