Faith in Politics? The role of religion in shaping modern British policy

12 November 2013

A Conference

Date: 12-13 November 2013

Venue: Churchill College, Cambridge

For more details of the programme click here

In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.

- Autobiography of Mark Twain

This is a chance to examine our political and religious beliefs in the company of experts, and to discuss them first-hand with other examiners whose opinions matter.

In a unique collaboration the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge, is working with the Cambridge Public Policy initiative to stage a two-day conference discussing the complex interfaces between politics and religion, at home and abroad, in modern Britain.

The Rt Hon Baroness Warsi, Minister for Faith and Communities, will give her own perspective on religious issues and the prominent role being played by people of faith in public and political life.

The Rt Hon Lord Wilson of Dinton will lead a panel looking at the changing relations between the churches and the political establishment in the modern era.

There will be panels looking at the impact of faith on policy making, for both domestic and foreign policy, bringing together politicians, policy makers, religious commentators and faith organisation representatives to discuss how policy has been shaped and influenced, and to debate the positive or negative impact of religious issues on our political and public life.

List of confirmed Speakers

Tuesday 12 November


Understanding Religious Diversity

  • Dr Noelle Higgins, Irish centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway
  • Dr Javier Oliva, Lecturer in Law, University of Manchester
  • Dr Edward Kessler, Executive Director, The Woolf Institute

The Recent Past on its Impact Today

  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Wilson, former Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of Home Civil Service
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Deben, John Gummer, former MP for Suffolk Coastal, member of the House of Lords and Chairman of UK Independent Committee on Climate Change
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Trimble, member of the House of Lords, former First Minister of Northern Ireland and Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Nobel Peace Laureate
  • Bruce Kent, Vice-President of CND, member of the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and former Roman Catholic priest

Reconciling Multi-Faith with Multi-Cultural in Modern Britain

  • Dr Edward Kessler, Executive Director of The Woolf Institute
  • The Rt. Hon. Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister for Faith and Communities
  • The Rt. Hon. John Battle, Knight Commander with Star of the Order of St Gregory the Great, British Labour Party politician, Fellow of Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford
  • The Rt Rev. Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester
  • Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, member of the Green Party, member of OutRage!, campaigner for human rights in Britain and internationally
  • Mr Marius Carney, Headmaster, English Martyrs Catholic School, Leicester

Wednesday 13 November

The Role of Religion in Shaping Western Foreign Policy in the Twentieth Century

  • Professor Christopher Hill, Professor of International Relations, Cambridge University
  • Dr Piers Brendon, Fellow of Churchill College, author and historian
  • Dr Warren Dockter, Junior Research Fellow, Clare College, Cambridge University
  • Dr Eliza Filby, Lecturer in Modern British History, King's College London
  • Dianne Kirby, Reader in History, University of Ulster, member of co-ordinating committee for the global research project Christian World Community and the Cold War

The Role of Religion in Making Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century

  • Chair: Dr Shana Cohen, Deputy Director, The Woolf Institute
  • Ian Linden, Senior Advisor, The Tony Blair Faith Foundation
  • Anthony Layden, Special Representative for Deportation with Assurances and former UK Ambassador to Morocco and Libya
  • Dr Makram Khoury-Machool, Supervisor, University of Cambridge and media expert

Beyond Borders: A comparison with America and Europe

  • Dr Matthew Wilson, Associate Professor of Political Science, Southern Methodist University, Dallas
  • Dr. Mike Fitzgerald, Professor of Political Science The University of Tennessee
  • Dr Sara Silvestri, Senior Lecturer, Department of International Politics, City University, London
  • Dr Andrew Preston, Senior Lecturer in American History, Cambridge University
  • Professor Joao Espada, Director of the Institute for Political Studies, Catholic University of Portugal

Admission is free but registration is required. Sign up for for this event.

Delegates will receive tea and coffee, and have the option of purchasing their own lunch in Churchill College. There will be a drinks reception and display in the Jock Colville Hall of the Churchill Archives Centre at 18:15pm on Tuesday 12 November.

If you have any questions about the conference please e-mail Julie Sanderson: julie.sanderson@chu.cam.ac.uk

This conference has been made possible through the generosity of Mr Michael Lewis.