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MBI Al Jaber Lecture Series: ‘Keeping Faith in Foreign Affairs’ by Dr Ed Kessler

Dr Ed Kessler MBE, Founder and Director of the Woolf Institute at Cambridge
Dr Ed Kessler MBE, Founder and Director of the Woolf Institute at Cambridge

The MBI Al Jaber Foundation hosted the first lecture of the third series on Thursday, 20th October. Dr Ed Kessler MBE, Founder and Director of the Woolf Institute at Cambridge, presented ‘Keeping Faith in Foreign Affairs’. A leading thinker in Interfaith Relations, he has been described by The Times Higher Education Supplement as 'probably the most prolific interfaith figure in British academia’.

In his exploration of how faith interacts at local, national and international levels, Dr Kessler discussed how it is key to fostering not only a flourishing and rich society but also to contributing to instability and conflict. Society and faith are engaged in a two-way relationship, both for good and for ill, each being shaped by the other. ‘Belief’ is both a unifier and a divider, and understanding its role is vital. With this in mind, the importance of Dr Kessler’s current work with the FCO – the attempt to identify what interfaith dialogue can do in terms of responding to problems that arise – is clear. Policy makers, politicians and diplomats need to be better informed about ‘belief’, as it cannot be separated from international affairs.

In his conclusion, Ed Kessler referred to John Dunne, stating that “the increasing interdependence of the modern world means that no country, no religion, no culture, no people is an island, entire of itself, and that the changing religious landscape epitomises today’s complicated, fragmented and multifaceted world”.

The second lecture in the MBI Al Jaber Lecture Series will take place at 5.45pm on Thursday, 17th November and will be presented by Martin Jerrett, former United Nations Senior Political Officer, who will be talking about ‘Difficult Diplomacy: The Challenges of Speaking to the South’. We look forward to seeing you there!

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