Date range
2 February 2018, 3:30pm to 2 April 2018, 2:30pm
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Our second Freedom of Religion or Belief retreat of 2017/18 will take place at Cumberland Lodge on 2 - 4 February 2018.

The retreat is part of our Emerging International Leaders programme, which brings together 50 high-achieving international students from universities across the UK, who are all Chevening or Commonwealth Scholars and have been selected for participation in the programme on the basis of their academic performance and future leadership potential.

Global violations

Over the course of the weekend, participants will explore global violations of the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief, and hear from a diverse line-up of guest speakers, including Professor Andrew Copson of Humanists UK, Professor Grace Davie of the University of Exeter, Author and Journalist Edna Fernandes, Dilwar Hussain of New Horizons, John Kinahan of Forum 18 News Service, Oliver McTernan of Forward Thinking and Professor Lucy Vickers of Oxford Brookes University.

Delegates will be facilitated in their group work by Josh Cass and Tamanda Walker, both of Forum for Religion and International Affairs (FRIA).

This discussion will be informed by case-studies of violations in relation to conversion and apostasy laws, legislation around disclosure of religion or belief, destruction of religious property, denial of education for minority religious groups, and religiously motivated conflict and violence.

Challenges facing practitioners

The participants will also re-cap on some of the relevant legal and policy frameworks covered in the first retreat, and look at some of the challenges facing practitioners who engage with issues of religion, faith or belief in their work. They will explore the academic, policy and practitioner discourses around religion in international affairs, and look at what makes religious engagement so challenging in difficult, real-life situations, through case-studies and personal testimonies.

They will also explore the emotions, power dynamics and identity structures that come into play when navigating difficult issues around religion or belief in foreign policy, and will be encouraged to think about the relevance of religion or belief to their own work and lives.

Final retreat

The third and final retreat of 2017/18, due to take place in April 2018, will focus on 'Freedom of Religion or Belief in Action' - how to take this learning out into the real world.

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