tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 15, 2014 12:30am-2:31am EDT
just don't want to listen to it. but i think it matters quite a lot. the struggle for decency and freedom in egypt is ongoing right now and is much more complicated than the top lines have been presented since last year's ouster of morsi. would hope that is not too idealistic of a vision. i have a lot of worries about how president obama approaches this is an analyst. people do not comment on his notion that you have a sunni majority that feels disconnected from the global economy. i believe the figment of that. i think that is right. it is about people feeling like they have security and a job and things like that, but it is incomplete. the other aspects of basic freedom and human rights and dignity are so hard to talk
about right now. when you see isis and iran and other things. we approach the challenge of the soviet union, latin america, that is missing from this discussion. it seems a bit far i'm a but if you don't have that vision of , if that want to go interest is devoid of our sense of values, then we are fighting a losing battle in the long run. haveagree with you, you both described american foreign-policy the way it has been for a long time. it is a combination of values and interest in what makes us rare if not unique in the world. we will open it up for a few questions and see where it goes.
>> our deepest engagement of the region came more or less following 79 and the iranian revolution. if you look at what the region was and what we were doing, the region was a dysfunctional mess. eight years of a war in iran and , and millions of people of dead or wounded, which led to the invasion of kuwait by saddam hussein. what we have tried to do is to deal with that dysfunction. sometimes with more success and sometimes with less success. in the last five years we have been doing something different. we can let the region short itself out -- sort itself out
and the principles of that, how that is conceived of mayberry, but i think that is what was in mind in the administration. put it a couple of weeks ago as an interesting experiment. that experiment hasn't worked. it is signed to have a vision for the future. the question is what to do about it now, and what has worked for us and when it has worked is what michael suggests, we have friends and enemies. maybe if we get to where our friends are actually feeling empowered and confident and successful, then we can figure can draw the enemies into that sort of compact. for the moment, and i want to end on the sunni point, right
now the problem is an interesting way of saying we need a new sunni order. the difficulty is that the islamic state lays claim to be that new order. what is really frightening about it is not so much simply the terrorism, but the fact that a lot of people are beginning to think that is true. in their own way welcome it , andse it is successful much is things around the edges they don't like, maybe crucifixions and beheadings are excessive, but this is what the sunni world is and that is the feeling people are coming to have. >> just a quick response to brian. i totally agree with what he is saying in the abstract. i like it when we are a big muscular power with a very idealistic vision. isoticed the american public
supportive of the president when he says we need to reduce our profile internationally and i think that big vision is not really practical at the moment. i would love to come back. but what we do have at the , upwards of 7a million or more people displaced and at least 200,000 killed. the regime is dropping barrel and torturinges children and so forth. and the u.s. is absent from that fight. witness, and then we we say it's really horrible what is happening and we condemn. securityweets from the council about how bad the assad regime is, but we don't do anything about it.
>> i believed him going to open it up to questions right now. >> i think i'm going to do that. we have a gentleman over here that is waiting for the microphone. microphone, ife you would stand up and identify yourself, and make it a question very quickly. if your comment last more than 45 seconds i'm going to come down and take the conch shell away from you and give it to someone else. are entitled to say i told you so about the regionalization issue. strategy,king about and i hope you're about to tell me i'm completely wrong, but i listen to people, the resident and the secretary of state, and they say the president and secretary of state are not credible.
that is to say israelis and jordanian simply do not believe that the president and the administration promised. so is it a useful conversation to talk about strategic aspirations and people don't believe what it is you say you are going to do and ironically, to your point about the administration has a de facto butcy of alliance with iran he doesn't want to discuss it with anyone. >> there is a huge credibility problem in my analysis, it begins with the iran issue. thisn't like to talk about because it is kind of rude, but the u.s. cut a deal with iran backs of our allies and sprung it on the israelis and the salaries.
we did that before the election of rouhani. what damages credibility is our syria policy. basically every times. , we comehe news cycle up with that initiative that looks like were going to do something about the syrian problem and then we don't follow through on it. most obviously the strikes on syria, the proposed strikes last september. the latest example is the president speech at west point where he laid out this $500 million for the syrian opposition. when you start looking into the details you see that it is not getting appropriate until december and the program will not be up and running until .anuary or everywhere he we are talking about two years down the line.
burger dressed up as helping the syrian opposition. states andthe united we have enormous resources and power. if we just start doing stuff, people have to listen to us. >> ryan, i think it comes back to the question i want to ask you. when you said it might be too late right now to do much with the syrian opposition, why? this is the united states. we have stepped into iraq. why is it too late, and is that not affect american credibility? statement.mend that unrivaled military and
intelligence capabilities that we need to use judiciously. the challenge i was trying to , we did start some sort of covert action at least 18 months ago or beyond and i think it was very limited. i don't think it is ever too late. on the credibility issue, i don't mean to be live. -- i don't mean to be glib. i go to israel quite a lot and i have been in jordan quite a lot lately. the redline issue really was a challenge and presented difficulty. if i could respond, in addition to credibility which is important, there is an efficacy
challenge as well. trying to be evenhanded but i believe it is true that the perception has lasted for a while in the middle east that the bush administration stated we were going to do xyz in the global arena. when that did not happen, it creates a challenge -- it leaves an impression that you can't do what you say you want to do. model signals. what i thought was a bad mistake in 2006 and what the bush administration did at that point is their decision. the broader point is, given all are stiller, and we very powerful in the region and in the world, quite often we have our leaders state we are going to do xyz and were going to stop north korea from getting
a nuclear weapon and things like this. then when we go and achieve that, that creates a bigger problem of people looking at you to saying -- it contributes credibility. you cannot even get done what you said you wanted to get done. suggest that if we got our act together, and i have been involved in various , i worry what michael said is bought on, the architecture for u.s. engagement is much lower at the popular level. i think it was squandered a bit and now we are leaning back when i wish we would lean in. is a way for us to think of a path forward on iraq.
there is something to work with their. on syria there is a pathway to president obama is serious about this money is open on. talking to some friends in the administration, it sounds like if you look at robert menendez, tim kaine and democrats who want partnership this can happen. >> we should do it today and be done with our work tomorrow. >> you can do it this month. there have been various initiatives. can matter ahings lot in shaping the thinking of people.
it's part of what the debate is all about. how do we marshal our resources together in a more focused way? house.ved in the white you don't have the luxury of tank.ng in a think >> yes, we have a big credibility problem but it is twofold. wedon't deliver on what promised, but also that we don't see what they see. we don't see the region as they see it. fear thats a deeper we just cannot deliver on what they need because we just don't see it their way. i would say that at the moment, the only way to change that is
for the administration take some very dramatic action would departurek the 4 -- from the policy has been up until now. whether that is in syria or iraq or both. agree it is easier to still do something in iraq which would demonstrate to the people, and i think it would have to be a fairly forceful action, that the president has rethought what he thought and is prepared to do things he wasn't prepared to do before. i was just in the most immediate term, i'm tempted to say whether it has to be in syria because as i said before, there is a window of maybe a few months, if that much. in iraq i would say the clearest
thing he can do right now, now that there has been a rush to help, is to keep it going. it will be demonstrably different than the policy we have been following and because it will do some good. with aleppo and what is happening there, i wonder if there's a focus in the way there definitely was. if there is an opportunity there . the point i'm making is that syria may fall at some point. we did not even talk about things like christian minorities and things like this that are impinged by the bigger fight. but is there a moment with
aleppo. i tend to think that president obama got out there on iraq in ways that were essential to do. perhaps there is a moment here as well. going back to how you actually sell that, and be clear, because the administration needs to be clear. the way they talked about their actions in iraq, not that we should go in, but limited in the sense of defining what that threat actually is. from the president about the nature of what we are dealing with both iraq and. is essential, and i'm not talking about another conveyed and occupy mission. >> you mean like destroying the syrian air force on the ground?
you would have to talk to people like dmc who have been criticized by people in congress. you have to make a pragmatic case. this president is not squeamish about force. is very pragmatic in that sense. americans don't mind that as a principal. >> my, you're looking like you have something to say -- mike? i am going to quote eisenhower. when eisenhower sent troops into lebanon in 58 right back to the
, they askgime fell for help when he sent troops in. you met with sam rayburn who said mr. president, i am concerned that this will in badly. president obama said i'm concerned about arab nationalism, victory in lebanon, and the soviet union. this willent said into badly, i can assure you of that. is, does itquestion in badly with us taking action or not taking action? the most important thing is that we take action in order to send a message to all of our allies that we are willing to take action for them because they're really desperate at the moment. becausevery interesting eisenhower was a guy who really understood the use of force
extremely well and its limitations, and number two, he was very prudent and reluctant. isis,ing action against the sunni regimes are concerned about isis. everyone is worried about it. is that enough? >> if you would just wait for , please keep your questions extremely concise. the tv audience is far. >> have a question about credibility. [indiscernible] >> this is not why we love them.
>> they have traditionally been our allies. i don't agree with you that saudi arabia is one of the biggest supporters of terrorism around the world. disparatequalitative -- difference. there is no figure in saudi arabia like that. quos basically a status power that wants everything to be quiet. iran is dedicated to overturning the regional order. extra point is very important. i was trying to understand the misconception of friends and enemies. panel recently that put out a monograph on for enemies
-- frenemies. arabia areike saudi punching with their resources in the region. it's not only the security threats that they pose in terms of types of actors. cutting that all should be part of our discussion. it's one of the tools the bush administration did a good job at. the treasury is cutting off those financial networks completely. that's the centerpiece of the struggle is to hit it where it hurts. it involves strategic engagement . we will work with the pragmatist in saudi arabia who have said we have a problem, were going after
al qaeda. the countries are not monolithic. they are divided. we need to be called innocent of in making deals with them -- we need to be cognizant of that. there are nasty currents coming out of the golf and the sunni powers in the gulf. i would say the best way the u.s. can counter those is by having a vision of regional order taking the lead in establishing it so that the saudi's and everybody else are not pushed back on their own resources. they don't have an expeditionary military that they can send. it is often not in our interest either. i want to refer
you to the works of my colleague . his most recent book is about the long relationship between the u.s. and pakistan. i think you would find it very helpful in answering your questions. >> thank you very much. ideasdea about marshaling . >> i'm going to ask you to go very quickly because we are running out of time. the first issue has been um.ked about ad nausea hi one of the differences between the decision-making -- >> again, please.
>> how do we define what our priorities are? [indiscernible] terrorism, continuing our support for our allies and the free flow of oil. brian, i will ask you to start off with this and keep it as concise as possible. >> it is a tough question with nonstate actors. some of these people, you cannot deal with them. you just have to go after them and kill them. you need to till their ideas, that is the most important and. whatever we've done over the
last 10 or 12 years, we have done a much better job of targeting these individuals, but going back to the battle of , it's why we are still in this state after everything president bush and president obama did. the problem is political, social, and demographic. tapping intoare something it is hard for us to understand. we need to figure out how these societies can build a more decent respect for basic rights. without that we will just continually go through the cycle. >> we are going to close on that. i t is a wonderful place to end. it is a battle of ideas and
needs to be reengaged. it is an interstate question, why is this still going on? point. reconvene at some i want to thank you very much they the here and c-span audience. have a wonderful afternoon. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> coming on friday, discussing the congressional elections. we will be live from the asian american journalists association convention at 11 a.m. eastern on c-span. a panel covering asian communities. also on c-span.
>> here are some of the highlights for this weekend. friday at history to her looking at the civil war. eastern,at 6:30 p.m. and pat buchanan. friday night at 8:00 eastern, books on hillary clinton, barack obama, and edward snowden. saturday at 10 p.m. eastern, and the weekly standard's daniel halper. we toured the literary sites of casper, wyoming. eastern, the8:00 negro leagues kansas city monarchs. saturday at 6 p.m. eastern on the civil war, the depiction of slavery in movies. four p.m., an interview with president herbert hoover. let us know what you think about the programs you are watching. us. us or e-mail
join the c-span conversation. like us on facebook. follow us on twitter. now, state department representatives discuss how the u.s. addresses religion and diplomatic efforts in iraq, afghanistan, and the middle east. the panel was hosted by the middle east institute in washington dc. it is 90 minutes. like to welcome you to on our panel in preventing violence in the name of god. religion and diplomacy in the middle east. issue a special welcome to our c-span viewers this morning. second in our series on diplomacy and religion. the the ago, featuring our guest taking up the topic from a religious point of view.
today we take it up from a diplomatic perspective. things have changed regarding religion and statecraft, particularly in the department of state. madeline albright records in this attitude contrasts sharply with secretary kerry at the launch of the state department's office of faith based initiatives. he admonished we ignore the global impact of religion at our pearl and told foreign service officers go out and engage religious leaders and faith based communities in our
day-to-day work. at a time when relidges violence inflames the middle east, the question of ow diplomacy and religion can interact takes on a high "sportscenter." what is the department of state doing to fulfill secretary kerry's instructions? what are the scope and limits of cooperation? we are honored this morning to welcome our panelists, first of all jerry white to my right. jerry is the deputy assistant secretary of state in the bureau of conflict and stabilization operations. in i have to say a leader land mine removal. an unconventional diplomat. also the deputy envoy of islamic cooperation and it's a
tribute to his commitment that he is taking time off from paternity leave after being a father now for one week. i'd also like to welcome ambassador tom pickering who is very distinguished diplomatic career includes ambassadorships n almost every continent except antarctica and being u.s. ambassador to the united nations. jerry will speak first and give the out lines. he floor is yours. >> thank you and welcome.
thank you for the kind introduction. it's a very exciting time to be at the state department working on this issue of diplomacy and religion as well as conflict. as you heard i'm the deputy assistant secretary for the department of conflict and stabilization operations. it was launched under secretary clinton as a new bureau to develop non-traditional ways of engaging on conflict prevention and rise sis response. as we see around the world, there is plenty to do. the question is how to pick which had battles and how to proceed. one of them i think was presentationed for secretary clinton and now secretary kerry it was issue of religion and diplomacy. 2014 and 2015 may become known as the year of religion and conflict in diplomacy because it is front and center on every newspaper.
as you are reading it people are confused of what is religious violence? is there such a thing? what is the source for religious violence? had when is it a match or kerosene or causing a viral spread of violence? what are we seeing happening in the middle east for example? is this something new or old? when i first came into the state department nearly three years ago this was starting to percolate. secretary clinton had started a strategic dialogue on religion and diplomacy and i was charged with chairing a working group on religion and conflict mitigation. when i came in someone gave me a bucket of books and papers and said jerry you love this stuff, why don't you take it over. i thought there was a cultural bias taking on religion. it was the third rail you weren't supposed to touch. so there we were with a basket
and lots of ideas and people understanding we had to tackle this new issue. so the issue was a bias in terms of culture because of our establishment clause and the separation of church and state and the reality of what that would mean, most people wouldn't touch religious engagement. it was one of those things don't do it, we rant loud or go to the legal office. get permission to engage. so this was a challenge for world diplomacy when you find out that 85% of the world are religious or function out of sets of beliefs and rituals and practices. so not even knowing that language. not being able to engage at that most fundamental level is a challenge. so the question is how does one understand separation of church and state and the establishment clause as it applies to our role and representing the
government abroad. it's become the new hot topic. the second piece was finding out after 9/11 the concept of how to engage became a little instrumentle. after 9/11 how do we engage with muslims who hate us or like us or voy cab larry of terrorism and extreme itch was attached to the religious dialogue. so there are good partners and bad partners and somehow we were in the business ofing who was moderate or extreme or who we could engage with. this was another challenge to overcome that we had been wrestling with as well. and we found that in fact the foreign service institute had not actually had lots of training of our diplomats in faith in based engagement. there was an optional class of four days or maybe four hours
on route to afghanistan or iraq or wherever you were going to be stationed next. looking at that material was a challenge because there wasn't literacy inside the government as well as the idea of where are do you call or go to in the state department? there were different people working on pieces of this. secretary came in and moved quickly to launch the first faith based community initiatives office and asibed a special advisor sean casey to help navigate this space. up until this point there was another issue in terms of who to call. ople went to the religious freedom office. the white house and the state department have done a complete u turn or 180 degree shift in the last year in terms of
religious engagement and they set up three major lines of effort and three working groups to accompany them. number someone how to partner with religious communities around the world and in the united states on issues related to health, development and humanitarian assistance. that's one big strand. the second is as i just mentioned religious freedom, human rights. how protection of minorities and religious groups is in the category of religious freedom we've been standing for since our founding. and third was related to conflict mitigation. that's where we stand there. has been a khang. there have been new case studies coming forward and we set out to look at new training materials being finished up after a year of work that may not be perfect but among the best out there in terms of diplomatic training on issues
of biases,ster grow types and how to navigate relidgen in conflict zones. one thing we could discuss is how is a religious language can manifest itself in conflict and how do you engage in different groups who might be in a different phase of their formation. for example, if a group feels under threat the language they use that may be more exclusivist or fear based black and white could shift sometimes to a call to violence but is it going to be violent? is hate speech, no matter how dispickable going to trigger violence? we're now just learning how to look at language usage in ways that could show violent behavior could be coming. doesn't mean someone expressing themselves on social media or
elsewhere in hateful ways are going to be violent. our job is to look at that space of violence, not necessarily the space of free speech and religion but it's important to track language. other language on the other end of the spectrum might be textbook language. you might be a priest or faith based organization like world vision and you may use faith based motivated language but in fact you function just like an n.g.o. along sectarian principles but your value based under pins that work. how to engage on that end of the spectrum is another way to look at things. another approach that is sort of what most embassies would be used to working with. and there is everything in between. after a war for example in a conflict zone religious groups may be in a period of questioning or recovery or
wondering how to find their way and reconstruction of their communities after violence. that's another space of engagement which is more one might say almost like trauma recovery after war. how is it your community based outreach can minister to your communities in ways that are open and right for a partnership with other governments and partners locally. all of this gives you a flavor of what has been happening with the state demept terms of policy. what is actually the intention on the ground to work on these three main issues and working groups. i think actually lastly i would say that the working group we're working on right now is looking at the possibility of a global covenant using some religiously infused language because the prince of jordan and king of jordan have asked for a response from the united
nations and also world religeyouse leaders including the pope and others to take a look at how do we respond to the type of violence we are seeing that seems politically and religiously infused. what can we do to protect the leaf, protect practices and groups and sacred sites that are are trigger points for violence? i would say the global covenant nishstive being looked at by the working group because it's not generated or started by the united states but we would like to track it and understand how to work and lead alongside our colleagues in the middle east and elsewhere on looking at this new challenge of religiously motivated violence. there are three, i will close with three pieces of this. one is the interreligious leadership where elleders can gather together like pope john
paul did pulling religious leaders from around the world to renounce this collective violence in the name of god or mass killing in the name of religion. that is something that non-state actors and leaders have to address even outside the nation state program terse of the u.n. for example. so one movement is at that highest level of religious groups talking to each other and developing some declaration. the second level is as i mentioned the u.n. level. nation states have laws and policies against genocide, violence and other norms. but something different seems to be interesting in which is olence against religions themselves. groups and their practices and beliefs and their gatherings, their cemeteries, their sacred sites. so the u.n. would like to look at the question as i lose traive. where we see extreme violence
conducted in the name of religion, what can stop that or contain it and when is it actually a crime against humanity. these are new issues that are coming up that are not just nation to nation but also dealing with non-state actors committing atrosstiss. and lastly n.g.o.'s around the world have been on the front lines doing this work for some time and they have best practices. people know a lot about that. and violence takes place at a communele level. so this third level is what are the best practices, how do people build neighborhood to neighborhood the type of resilient fabric that prevents and protects against future violence? whether constructing after war or to preventura future conflict. that's a lot but it's to say in has st couple of years
seen quite a significant shift in how the government and our allies are are looking at this issue and lessons we've learned from the past. >> thank you for your attention o the topic. >> thank you. jerry gave much of the overview of a lot of changes at the defment and i wanted to add one small thing to that which is to highlight the role that the
white house strategy on religious leader engagement played. in 2013 the white house issued a strategy which is meant to promote government wide greater engagement with religious leaders in the three areas that jerry outlined. it's not just the state department but also meant to affect our department of defense and other actors who are engaging in foreign policy work and diplomatic work to encourage them to also engage with these communities who are playing a very significant role in the world. and if we ignore them, we gnore them to our pearl. i want to talk about some of the work we've done. as an example of some of the ways we have engaged and worked in collaboration with religious
actors to promote some of the goals, including some of the goals that jerry talked about. so some of you may not be familiar wut the office of the special envoy was established at the end of the george bush administration. president obama appointed ra shad hussein to the position. when he did so he gave him the mandate of deepening the partnerships the president announced during his cairo speech. it went through a whole litany of issues, the hot topic issues that have been problematic in terms of ts relations with the muslim world covering the wars to could wanter terrorism policies to human rights issues to democracy promotion. our office has worked on a lot of different areas but one of the areas we have been working on in particular is to engage
with religious communities and religious leaders in our work to include them because of the significant role they play in general and also in particular in muslim societies. so one example that i want to give which touches a little bit on what jerry was talking about in terms of the role of the u.n. and how religious communities sometimes define themselves as a group is initiative we worked on that dealt with the issue of defamation of relidgens. some of you may be familiar but beginning in 1998 the o.i.c. advocated a resolution at the u.n. on defamation of religions. it was a resolution that essentially was calling out a lot of the hate speech or discrimination or that many people were identifying in the post 9/11 years in particular but even before that because this resolution started in
1998, before even 9/11. and the idea behind it in part was to address discrimination against people on the basis of religion. however the problem that the united states had with this resolution was it went a step further and talked about banning speech and restricting speech and other statements or criticisms you can make about religion. and that was problematic for a number of reasons but in particular because freedom of expression we believe is an extremely important human right d restrictions on freedom of expression restrict that and infringe on an ability's to exercise that religion freely. for a number of years we had been working to essentially defeat this resolution at the u.n. and when the obama administration came in, we took an approach that was also working to defeat the
resolution but also to work th the o.i.c. on potentially transforming the resolution into a positive because we shared some of the underlying concerns about discrimination but we did not agree with the means. and so in 2011, we worked andrus alternative to that resolution which passed by consensus in the u.n. called resolution 1618. that resolution focuses on positive actions that governments can take to address religious tolerance. thanges like enforcing anti-discrimination laws, education awareness programs, engaging with religious communities. all of these proactive positive measures we practice in the united states are in this resolution. we've been working since 2011 on promoting implementation of that resolution. one of the key ways we've been working on this is with religious communities and
actors. as you are aware, this resolution on defamation of religions, some governments were using that as a way of justifying or providing cover for a domestic law. those laws are often abused in ways which target religious minorities and justify violence against religious minorities. one of the key efforts behind the 1618 efforts was to move past that and get governments to move away from that. religious communities and leaders were important domestically and internationally. we explain we understand your concerns about hate speech that might be directed toward your religion but the way this type of approach tries to address that goal doesn't actually work, bans on speech often increase the attention that people give to that speech and often it's used to repress
religious minorities. and so we worked on explaining this position not only with governments and the o.i.c. directly and with the religious communities and their support was important in order to convince various communities and countries in the 1618 approach. and their support has been important in the implementation process. we have initiated a training program to work with interested government tons specific activities that we outlined in the resolution and we have also had a series of meetings which are focusing on best practices or implementing those goals. the focus on the last meeting was to protect religious
freedom. you had human rights advocates and religious leaders and government officials all together working on the same shared issue. and it was very interesting to observe because that grouping of individuals don't often get together. and so it was a nice way of using this initiative to queen a lot of the -- convene a lot of actors that share the same goals and work on shared policy initiatives. another way we've used it to open new channels of communication. through our office we often are visiting o.i.c. member countries. as you may be aware, many of them are under going democratic transitions. there have been a lot of sectarian tensions around the transitions that are happening or national dialogue and democracy movement there and so on one of the visits we used
our office in order to try to expand the lines of communication that the united states has with actors there. our government has often met with the opposition party leadership. but up to a certain point last year, we had never met can w the spiritual leader of that group. and we took the opportunity for one of the visits a special envoy to meet with that relinlyouse lead tore explain to him directly u.s. policy in the country and to explain our concerns we had about certain groups that were engaging in violence. through that activity, you can kind of open a new relationship with a religious lead tore explain to them our position and to express concerns that we have. concerns that were shared by the government there and to promote the national dialogue and effort that were happening
on the ground. finally, i want to mention one other initiative we have been working with religious actors on and that is an initiative that a number of religious lars -- scholars had developed or worked on had is issuing a declaration on the rights and protection of full citizenship rights for minorities in the muslim world. in our work in the o.i.c. anyone who has been observing this space can see there is a very difficult and ongoing problem of violence against religious minorities particularly in the middle east and o.i.c. countries. that was something we talked about a lot in our efforts. and this initiative was a way of the religious leaders and community to try to address
that. there have been meetings by the scholars and ministers of religious affairs from various countries who have attended these meetings where there have been discussions on a framework for a declaration including based largely on a research paper which was authored by one of the most influential scholars in the middle east. we've been encouraging these actors to continue with this project and hopeful it may conclude by tend of this year or earl next year. we're not directing any actors to do anything. we're not funding anyone to do anything but we are engaging on shared goals and engaging in a way that respects these leaders and the authority that they carry and encuging them in certain ways that also lines up with our goals. with those examples i'll turn it back to allen.
> thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much for gathering us, and it is a pleasure and honor to have the opportunity to say a few words. after the speakers we have already heard, thanks to the institute and carnegie as well for helping us put it all together. my sense is that this is both a new and an old adventure. i thought that jerry's approach in seeking three areas makes a deal of sense. certainly the broad spectrum of humanitarian work around the lobe has always had an appeal,
2a sense of conjuring to the common good him, and the feeling of what i would call satisfaction that it ranscended theological differences and puts into place the values that are widely shared among religions that in themselves contribute to a more armonious and better globe. i think the notion of dialogue between religious leaders and between religious leaders and thought leaders across the spectrum is extremely important. and another way of emphasizing those portions of religious
activity which i think it epitomizes that plan of action can be epitomized in the second effort through plans of coordination and indeed plans of mutual information and in dealing with problem areas that inevitably have come up in the differences between belief systems. and i think the third area is very important and perhaps i would like to spend a little bit of time on the conflict resolution. i say this against a backdrop f something i had not realized until i thought a little bit about it as i was doing an oral history after i retired. i am in a unique position of being an ambassador first to a muslim country, jordan, with an important christian minority. i then went on to nigeria where in effect two great religions, christianity and islam, had advanced down the road of convergence and proselytization, done so with reasonable harmony week at the time i was there, but left a lot in many ways in the hands of traditional african religion, and indeed themselves were heavily influenced by african religious biases.
while homosexuality is looked down among nigerian christians, polygamy is widely winked t. in many ways the edges of christianity and islam are linked by the development of syncretic sects. it was an interesting and indeed somewhat eye-opening xperience. i then went on to a largely traditional roman catholic country, el salvador, one in many ways in the throes of liberation wars and theological conflict among the majority that was also undergoing a
change in the influence of evangelical protestantism within the community and played an enormously valuable role in some ways in bringing up things together and a divisive role and others in failing to recognize the transcendental values of the principal system that made things work. i went from there to the world's only jewish country, israel, and from there to the united nations, everything for everybody. was delighted to see from arsalan's new information from me on work being done in the context of the united nations, which has to skirt the difficult questions that we
americans have skirted -- how do we differentiate between faith-based belief systems, which are distant consider to e individual largely and the absolute need to develop communication and indeed understanding and cooperation on a world scale? what you are undertaking is challenging in many ways. clearly, it is not the role of diplomats or in my view though world role of world leaders to help redefine theological concepts. it is the role, however, for all of us to try to bring together those who think and work in the realm of theology around the areas where they can find agreement and help them in their definition of areas of disagreement, hopefully, first, to do no damage and, secondly, to seek the seeds of commonality where they might exist. i went from there to the world's largest hindu country. you may see the -- one, but nepal also fits that one model. that was fascinating. i was there only a short time, but it was extremely
interesting the degree to which, despite the predominance of hinduism, islam and others, many other religious experiences, including the birthplace of buddhism played a role in indian thinking and indian ideas. indeed, india has had a strong history of and working together with the terrible devastation as a result of religious differences, not any different from those differences that have transcended world harmony in the western world for thousands of years and which diplomats have to deal with. finally, i went to russia, then and still the largest eastern orthodox christian country, but one just until a few eye blinks before i arrived was totally committed atheist.
and in many ways these experiences as a diplomat meant hat inevitably i had to deal with the patriarch, with the archbishop, with the mullahs. without doing that i cannot understand what was happening or more or less unable to help to make a contribution to ispute settlement. we american diplomats in some ays are saddled by invisible handcuffs that over the years have served us well, but always need to be re-examined. one of those, which is the handcuff that we all share, is that we cannot operate outside the constitution, the law, the regulations, and the policy, and we must serve those interests. we have the privilege of seeking to change the latter
and indeed the task of doing so when it is inadequate, and we have the right to change the law through our elected representatives, and indeed, only the constitution, with its own processes. the second invisible handcuffs is we do not do domestic politics. in my view that is extremely important, but i found the higher up i got in the state department, the more i had to take it into account. there was no way to convince the president to adopt a oreign-policy initiative i was interested in if in fact it was completely antithetical to his domestic political success. that is a reality, but it is a fancifully hard one to deal with. the third is religion, and here we tend to take a constitutional barrier to establishing state religion as a broader barrier against even
involving religion, thinking about religion, or talking about it. and in many ways it was the asis for harmony in this country that we did not use in whatever ways we could have avoided religious differences as a source of political and personal gain. in many ways that holds true, but it is also true we have to face up to the reality that we live in a world of a large number of faith-based systems which help people operate. as a diplomat in dispute settlement, i found it was increasingly important first and foremost to understand those particular faith-based systems as much as i could. secondly, to communicate with the leadership in those systems as to how they solve the kinds of issues that i wished to deal with as a diplomat. thirdly, to see how the conjunction of views could be used as a basis for harmonizing
and moving processes ahead rather than agitating and dividing. there is no question, of course, that each of the major religions has what i would call its fundamentalist wing. i saw an old friend, the prime minister of israel, assassinated by co-reglioner on what were religious grounds. we have seen among christians the use of violence in this country to destroy people associated with our government because of apparent religious beliefs, and we have seen as well in islam a late manifestation, what we call isil, or what my friends in the region called -- and to some extent this presents us with special problems which we do need to understand, but it was never absent from our military engagement in iraq and afghanistan over the last 10
years. it is in many ways the problem e must continue to work on and olve with our friends in israel and the arab world, particularly palestinians. it is extremely important. the gaza truce has broken down again. we need to work on it. the last effort with the help of the egyptians made some progress in the areas of what i would call fundamental change on both sides. we need to find a way to link
that particular set of processes to the longer run requirement that we continue to push and do everything we can for the two-state solution. i admire john kerry, even in the aftermath of what is an apparent failure, that he is prepared to take it on, and i do not think he has given up the notion that this is still a major challenge for us and we have to work at it. and being able in many ways to solve the problems, which are now a mixture obviously of fear, a fear of annihilation on the part of many, a sense of concern about ethnic and ethnic religious identity and how that will be respected, and over that most fundamental of human goods beyond, put it this way,
how in what way people can live together in differences and at the same time enjoy the promise that religious harmony will bring us to us as we go ahead. syria and iraq are the centerpiece of these issues, and unfortunately, in my view, widely informed, if i can use that expression, by heavy emphasis on religious differences, which over a period of time given goodwill and wise leadership could become the basis of change and indeed rather than the basis for further radicalization and destruction of human life. and we need to accept the challenge that we as a major player in the world have been contributing whatever way we can do the answers to those problems. agree with the president that boots on the ground has not
turned out to be a very good answer to inferences, whether they are religiously inspired, motivated, or informed, and we need to be careful about that. but i think there are ways ahead. we now have a world among our friends who speak arabic of turmoil and difficulty, of change that has come about through the satisfaction. i think mainly with secular approaches, but in some cases with religious approaches, and we need to understand that and decide how to do with it. as a diplomat, we never have perfect options. we are always saddled with dealing with people whose frailties we understand, maybe even disdain and would like to hange and have very little possibility of doing that, but
who we have to inspire obviously to greater accomplishments, if i can put it that way, through personal motivation, through the long run in first in their own value system, and the opportunity to make a contribution to their federal -- which should be the highest good, but often the worst danger. so there are plenty of things out there for us to do. failure to understand how important religion is in these conflicts is a first point of error. the other -- of success is to populate the relationships that can take common understanding forward to make those changes, and i think that the notion that senator kerry had, that it is time in an organizational and institutional sense to put the state department in that path is very valuable. we need to avoid the traps and
pitfalls of going too far in theology and perhaps too little into peace. but if we can keep those two points in mind, i know we will have success, and i am very pleased that jerry and arsalan are making their contributions to that effort. i compliment them on taking on that task and thank them for doing so. and i thank you very much. >> thank you very much, ambassador pickering, and in some ways i would like to take off from what you just said to pose some questions about both to you and to arsalan and to jerry. i mentioned in my remarks to he middle east is in flames, and in many case of beirut issues are religious issues.
so the diplomacy is sometimes at a high level, which you talked about, but quite frequently it is how did you get people to stop killing each other over religious issues, whether it is in iraq or syria or bahrain or so on and so forth. what is the contribution that your work can make to resolving he very issues that ambassador pickering talked about, and maybe you two could talk first, and maybe ambassador pickering could give his own vibes. jerry? >> thank you. to speak about strategies, we need to come up with some case studies. starting at the bottom-up approach in terms of ntercommunal work, i think
religious -- is needed not just for diplomats, but also on the ground, because it is easy to demonize the others. i've been working on examining the role of scriptural reasoning in this work of increasing tolerance and respect for difference. t is one way that has been largely tried among or between abrahamic faith staff groups, to study their scriptures together -- the koran, new testament, torah -- and have groups looking at related passages. what happens in the course of the group study is a dialogue and a relationship noting that in fact can be seen to reduce prospects for example. let's say i go into a textual study and i believe as a christian that you are bound for hell, and i might feel i'm under threat. some people have taken their passions to violent ends.
you can start to learn with textual reasoning and deeper understanding of text that you may still think they're going to hell, but there might be some interpretation or some wiggle room out what is the exclusion or the need for action. and in that course of opening up anyone's mind to the possibility that there might be another interpretation of texts, not just a liberal one of this particular text, the have seen that groups have become more tolerant and started building relationships, and that can take place in the place of four hours, four days, four months, four years, but in fact people are looking and scanning the globe for techniques that yet at religious literacy as well as relationship building at the community level. scriptural reading just happens to be one that is used out there. at the community service level, that is another area people have to look at. i think ambassador pickering was right, the humanitarian or collective action, another way
to get interfaith groups working together and serving the community. it builds resilience, so there is a new initiative to save the jordan river where it is understood that all the faiths value creation, but the particular iconic river jordan is at risk of dying. it is basically running out of water, filled mostly with sewage, surrounded by minefields, and is a victim of conflict. religious groups will and say, how do we save the river, how do we work on issues of environment, and that is another way of building fabric on issues of common concern. then i think we have seen with, as arsalan said, when atrocities have broken out across, sudan, we have dispatched diplomats and tried to pull together religious leaders to go on the site and
try to work with local religious leaders. we are seeing that in nigeria, n a lot of cases, but it has done at almost an ad hoc level. we do not have the capacity to create a mediation team that is literate in religion and engagement so it can be more effective. the u.n. could look at what would a rapid response team, look like and inspect this category of religious engagement, how does one do that here in reaction to crisis, but from an ongoing capacity, whether at the u.n., the u.s. government, or among faith-based organizations? this would require leaders working more closely together to learn each other's language of conflict resolution as well as scriptural reasoning. those are three examples. >> before we go on, i would
like to understand, the department of state already has sort of an emergency reaction or religious mediation team? >> no, i would like to build the capacity. the special envoy has been dispatched with others to do this work and to good effect. what is interesting when we see this working, people speaking their own language and being able to engage with leaders and effectively, we should be working to do this. >> i might add, to build on that, i think obviously every situation is different and we have to understand the context of a particular conflict. in many cases, religion is not actually the source of the contract. it just happens to sometimes overlap with the political lines of other economic or whatever factors are driving the conflict. so to say that a certain situation is religious violence really sometimes
mischaracterizes the situation and glosses over a lot of the underlying factors. that is important to recognize because when you intervene or when you engage with actors on the ground, whether they are parties that are affected by he conflict, the role they can play is important. jerry was talking about the scratching delegations. one of temple of that recently was in the central african republic and where the state department assessment said it was not a religious conflict per se, a conflict that is being driven by various political factors and other factors, but there is a lot of overlap in terms of religious lines. and so back in april, rashad had visited the central african republic, and he brought
religious leaders from the united states, representing the catholic community, the muslim community, and the protestant community. and they met there on the ground with religious leaders who had already been working to get her to promote peace and to end violence between the communities. the archbishop and the leader of the muslim community there were working together and there were various articles about the work they had done trying to promote peace and try to prevent their communities from being sucked into the violence that was going on there. the idea of sending this delegation was to highlight the efforts that these religious leaders were doing already on the ground to provide them with some solidarity and support from co-religionists who are interested in helping in that situation. and since that the delegation visited, some of the members have gone back, and some of the
groups they are affiliate with have increased their assistance in certain ways. there was one group that was part of the delegation of leaders that had visited a couple of times, and they are working along with other partners, including the king abdullah international center r interfaith and religious dialogue, the oic, on promoting intra-faith mediation in the central african republic, which was divided by some people who were in favor of working with the christian communities toward peace and some groups who were writing off those efforts. as result of that delegation, there are mediation efforts of the intra-religious level. that is an example where we can
bring parties together, and those parties might have different resources where they can bring to bear and can help efforts on the ground. one thing i want to mention is a lot of the situations that we are facing right now where there is conflict with the elements of religion involved, it is often a case where you have kind of a minority interpretation or a minority group that is claiming to speak on behalf of the larger religion, and the majority of those religionists or people who follow that religion feel it has been misinterpreted or abused or taken advantage of. not just for islam, but you see that in certain cases in burma and sri lanka where you have buddhist communities, certain groups that are promoting violence in certain ways and
other co-religionists who are not supportive of that. in those types of situations, i think there's another set of tools or factors that can be employed to highlight the voices of the mainstream members of those communities or leaders who represent most of the members of the religious community whose religion may be abused in certain ways. an example of that recently is in nigeria, where you have book boko haram organized around a particular ideology. they are kind of a mafia group run by this guy who is claiming to act on a religious basis, but is not. and there are religious leaders in nigeria who were speaking gainst boko haram, and their voices were silenced. one of the things that we at the state department, after the
kidnapping of the schoolgirls, we had a school conference where the embassy had senior religious leaders have a link with religious leaders in the u.s., to ask them, what kind of assistance can you get? we know you have been speaking out on this group. what can you do? the state department convened these in journals, and they are now trying to organize an international conference room you can have assisting some of the nigerian -- backing groups. another example of how in this situation of violence -- the authority to bring together people who share the same goals are can help the situation on the ground. >> we have heard a lot of isdom from the two speakers,
and i have little to add. let me say a couple of things. one is that most conflicts are immediately distinguished by the we/they syndrome. the we/they syndrome then seeks o develop all of the rationale, all of the logic, all of the illogic as to why the conflict should be erpetuated and why my side should win. it is in that cycle that historically religion has played a large role or enroll as an additional identifier or s a role for rationalizing a point of view in one way or another.
t is also clear that the conflict are often over other questions. that is, that the primary intention of religion x is not to convert everybody in religion y. it is to resolve some other problem, a conflict over doing business, over running a country. many of these are power centered in their own way. and, therefore, religion in an interesting way can play a remedial role as well as an aggravating role, particularly the more the leadership invests itself in the clothing of religion, the more it should be susceptible in terms of a religious interpretation gap to resolve the problem. one could start with that perception. next, there are two or three levels where this can work, and you have examples from us of all of them. but one of those is nterreligious dialogue using
religious leaders and their influence as a major way to effect the movement of the problem toward resolution, whatever that might be. it has been an interesting in the history of non-american iranian relations that to some extent the religious differences have been high. on the other hand, particularly on the iranian side, the respect for religious leaders from the other side has been well above their tolerance for the political leaders on the other side, in part because of a feeling because people of religion have enough in common to bridge the differences and they share some common sense of values, some common sense of devotion to a deity that they can see as having a common role
and interest in their religious lives, and that is important. the second is obviously how those in the political sphere, the diplomatic sphere can use their understanding to bridge the differences,. that itself is extremely significant and very important. and the third is, because the public always plays a huge role, much of what is done in agitating and making worse foreign affairs problems is done in the name of domestic politics, unfortunately. we may say democracy is
splendid, and i agree it is, that democracy, put it this way, informed by people committed to the wrong values, is as hard a problem as with autocracy where the leadership wants to say to you, my people, will not go for this, i cannot sell it. in both cases, we have a common issue. if in fact the public beliefs, put it this way, myths, lies, falsehoods about the other side, then you have a huge problem in trying to work with that, and if that has a religious quotient, as it often does, which may stem from a religious tradition, then you can use that as a way to find your way to the streets, in an effort to give some structure context to these things that i said what i said. >> questions from the audience.
who would like to be first? back here. >> thank you. with the foreign service. i would like to follow up on some of the remarks of mr. suleman, who was speaking about boko haram, but also the islamic state. i'm wondering if you think it would be appropriate, helpful, and possible if authoritative islamic leaders who could speak on a global stage would issue some kind of statement or doctrine saying people who use the tactics of the islamic state or boko haram are completely off the reservation do not represent the islamic faith and should be shunned or declared erratic, and, if in fact it should be
appropriate and help for possible, is there a role for the u.s. in that? >> i think you were fingered, but maybe others would like to take it. >> absolutely. there have been some statements. the oic had a very strong statement kind of rejecting what isis has claimed to have established, and the group in and of itself, there have been a number of international islamic scholars who have also issued statements directly condemning the group and rejecting their claims, establishment of the state. there is a union of scholars that has a number of senior scholars that are members of that organization which issued a statement, and other personalities have issued such
statements. there is or have been those kinds of statements out there, not just about isis, but also groups against al qaeda, boko haram, and others. we do not just necessarily i guess get reporting on that, or the media has not highlighted that as much, but the statements are certainly there, in that position has been expressed by some of the senior leaders. >> you have anything to comment, jerry, tom? >> what arsalan said about the lack of knowledge in this country speaks in many ways. we do not hear much of the good news, particularly from the islamic side, as to how mainstream leaders in islam treat the particular problems. and it has been a problem before 9/11, but it was certainly seriously aggravated.
my greatest fear of 9/11 was not another attack. it was that we would launch a war against islam. president bush shared that, but was never capable of taking it fully into account. i've been concerned about that, and to some extent, it is true that christian denominations in the united states are aware practically of what is being said, and for the first time arsalan has put it out in its various manifestations in a way it is easy to understand. you wonder why we have the ideas we have, and i think partly it is ignorance about what else is going on in other parts of the world. we are marvelously served by highly competitive press whose principal interest is bad news. >> i think that question begs another one, which others might have commentary on, the role of media in this.
media, like religion, can be remedial or aggravating, to use ambassador pickering's words. what is the parallelism of this communication on religion and religious leaders and group or media, social or traditional media. it is when we are seeing viral spread of ignorance or lies, what does one do about that when you're balancing the free speech allowing the internet to be the internet? these are very serious rest about this, because people are starting to fight their battles with violent language online, and people tend to use various types of media. for example, there is a recent study i was being briefed on related to extremists and exclusion this weekend be violent prefer youtube and the graphic nature and fear factor
that can be generated by showing very awful pictures, as you have been seeing of beheadings. on the other end of the spectrum, there are the nice people who want us to live together in love and peace just use twitter to retweet positive stories. in between, there is the crowd that you might call more tribal or entho or nationalist who use facebook. one has to look at how the continuum of religious-based actors, and politically motivated actors, power actors, are using media and how is it that we have a strategy on that front the counter viral spread
of violence online. lastly, it raises this question, too, of what the positive nature of religion, how is it that the silent majority, those who are lovers, not fighters, want to us to live peaceably and respect the dignity of differences of others, how is it their voice can be amplified, not as clashing images of moderates. i do not think you would like to be called a moderate friend if you feel you are devoted friend or a devout person. so this language of this inviting people to take a stand for something, faith, resilience -- the peace, and protection of communities and practice and standing against something, which is things that are beyond the pale. it is interesting to see pope francis taking a stand and saying isil's behavior so far
beyond the pale that it justifies military action. that is a strong and unexpected statement coming out this week. >> there we go. >> thank you. my name is hassan. i was born in tehran. so nice to see you, tom, arsalan, and jerry. there is a lot of talk, and right now in a place called manassas, there is a mosque that was vandalized a couple of days ago. and i do not know what information has been already printed. everybody knows about it or not? this mosque is particularly open to all faiths, christians, jews,
muslims, and they have dialogue all the time, and they were vandalized a few days ago. we hope that the public is aware of what is going on. and jerry said 85% of the people of the world are religious. if i am worshiping in iraq, would i be a religious person, worshipping an idol, would i be a religious person, or an unseen entity? am i a religious person? there is also a saying that talk is cheap, put your money where your mouth is. i do not know the budget that you have, both of you, to combat such a big, big mission, and so if the evil is not fed, the evil will die under its own weight.
your task is to find out who is feeding these people, the boko harams, or other people who are cutting people's heads and playing with it for the name of religion. >> who is religious? there was a poll being done around the world, mostly people who would self-described as religious. whether they are worshiping this or that is their business. i would add a put on that front, that people of no faith, the seculars or atheists, are also protected. it is important we keep the conversation that is being exploited in religious circles to say "the secular west."
by polls, united states is one of the more religious countries in the world, but if we just worship hollywood. this idea of who is religious is an interesting question, but it is true the majority of the world expresses itself and finds meaning in religious and religious practice and belief. i think that other question about money and resources is important and how we are also building up this capacity inside the state department to deploy expeditionarily and train the diplomats. it is a challenge for all of us to stave off and stem and contain conflict and counter some of those resources. >> a lot of questions, so we will pick two at a time at this
point. here and here. >> before i asked my question, i would like to make an aside considering how the media sometimes creates misunderstanding in religion and hatred to a concerns isis. i've seen it reported that isis offers christians the choice of conversion or death. i have also seen -- >> flight. >> and flight, but i have seen they are being offered conversion, death, or paying a tax. a big difference, a tax that goes back to the very first day of islam. my question is we have been
engaged in a war on terror for a long time now. do the so-called terrorists oppose us because of our religion? >> ok. >> retired foreign service. i wanted to back up on the diplomacy and religious conundrum. one is, as several of the panelists have noted, that conflicts frequently our struggles for power, influence, resources, covered in theological garb or religion. how does american diplomacy in general take into account that conundrum as a seed to positively engage without being seen as making choices among those contending parties? that would require it seems to me a great deal of knowledge that we do not always possess about what is seen as the situational on the ground lay of the players.
the second is a term of any intervention on ourselves, the challenge of at times of validating the narrative of. we follow the site or the services that monitor extremist websites. you will see words or actions on our part that are then used, exploited to validate the narrative that they are seeking to advance. it can be from the standard crusaders, zionist collaboration, or in iraq, it is the west seeking to protect minorities, be they christians, or others, that then are exploited by isis or whomever -- >> the question? >> how do you deal with them in
reality as you come up with specific diplomatic or policy initiatives to take that into account and to mitigate? >> three questions. terrorism, power politics, and amplification of violent leaders. who would like to take that? >> we have seen a litany of things to which terrorists object, and not all of them are religious. some of those are colonial. some of those are invasive, that is, sacred space is being taken over or removed from their purview. that the monarchies do not do a good job governing us. so i think it gets mixed, the coloration of religion is really part of it, and in some cases, it may either primary appeal in
the field to the recruitment of new people to serve the cause. but each one of these i think is quite a different and each deserves a separate examination. that gets your second question, that we can put it off if we do not understand how and in what way speaking can be either misinterpreted or misaligned to serve the cause. we had it all through the cold war with the soviets. so it is not anything that is entirely new to american diplomats. it requires perhaps a new basis for understanding and it requires a lot of reading, whether it is reading in the new media or the old media or a combination of both to do that. i think that is important and it requires obviously a lot of language knowledge of all of which certainly we have tried to promote among american diplomats as a way to get the answer. i think the other question of are they getting enough money to do this, the answer is always
no. how much more should they get? it depends on their success, but i hope that the budget for the oic mission, the budget for the bureau of stabilization includes the continued effort along these lines, because i think it makes a lot of sense and has a long a to go. >> let's take these three right here. >> heartlands international. all you talked about is very impressive, but you have not mentioned women at all, and all the colleagues you talked about were men. i wonder if you're taking any initiative to bring in women, because they are more victims than men? >> could you pass it ahead? >> ok, i am from somalia. >> could you hold it a little
closer? >> i am from somalia. i really like all the information that is presented by the panel, and it is very important, but my question, it is very important that dialogue between religious leaders -- i wonder what will be of use? in the countries, you see the young people who do not have any knowledge of islam who had been told something not true? how can we afford them that they do not have people based on their difference? thank you. >> one more. >> this person. >> i served for years as a liaison between the catholic cardinals and the national islamic front in sudan and worked with a small army serving
there. my question deals with some of what the ambassador talked about and also the deputy assistant secretary white. currently, the envoy to sudan has not been allowed into sudan because he refuses to meet with the president there. i am wondering if somebody like you, ambassador -- is it correct to call you ambassador white? >> jerry is fine. >> jerry, would it be more viable to have you go in, because you're dealing with a non-state actor, and maybe your expertise would be something that would help break things open again? ambassador pickering, you have talked about there have been so
many ngo's and other influences that are domestic, because what i have seen with the keys talks, the south sudan problem and looking at the north-south things, did it in terms of religion can and they moved lock, stock, and barrel to darfur. i know how instrumental you have been in that and how influential you still are. and i would love to hear how we could help what is going on in sudan now and maybe have somebody like jerry's group go in, because i do not think, unless the presidential envoy agrees to meet with the present, that anything will happen. >> let's take another. >> fulbright scholar. i had two questions. the first one was also for
jerry, because you described this fusion that happened in the state department in the practice of u.s. diplomacy. you see the same thing is happening on the other side of the atlantic, like europe, or some countries [indiscernible] i was wondering if you had any transatlantic commonality on that, especially also with the european elections, that if you had any contact? this leads me to my second question, again, drawing from european philosophy to engage with islamists come especially political parties -- is that evident? it was denounced that western powers are -- tunisia because it is a clinical force. i could also cite the case of
egypt. how is your view of the -- coping with those realpolitik interests? >> we have a question about the youth in somalia, sudan, coordination with europe, and tunisia. a large part of this, jerry, so we will go down the line. i wish you would take this as your final wrapup because we're about five minutes toward the end, jerry, arsalan. >> because we have so many people informed in the audience, it is clear that the questions are grounded in that experience and you know somebody answered by the questions i would imagine.
we need to do more, better, faster, and it is an urgent time for the seizure. maybe the overall thematic thing which our bureau has tried to exploit is what does nontraditional or asymmetric diplomacy look like for such a time like this? getting beyond some of the traditional diplomacy. there's a joke that would the state department uses 19th-century tools and 20th-century approaches, and we've got to be facing 21st-century problems. that is a criticism we take on board where we try to upgrade all of our tools and approaches. we have people looking to the phraseology of how to describe doing diplomacy with civil society and other thematic envoys that are not always ambassadors of europe finds themselves not getting to know the people. the people to people exchanges are withering.
this is a real challenging for our diplomacy in non-permissive environments, whether syria or libya. in the case of the south sudan envoy, i agree with the intention that sometimes the top level negotiating envoy is necessary, but not sufficient, and there are political limitations on timing. and the times you need to send retired ambassadors as well as religious actors or nongovernmental entities to help work. a group out of rome has been doing a lot of peace work around the world, and there are good examples of them doing nontraditional work outside the public space. the role of women, it is a challenge in our bureau. you cannot be dealing with conflict around the world unless you have a gender strategy of increasing inclusion, working with women.
it tends to be a lot of men, patriarchal system, running and getting engaged top down. there must be another stream that uses more empowerment and capacity building for that level of leadership of women actors who are going to play an important role on the world stage. and youth, the same thing, you cannot deal with these things unless you are looking at questions, incentivizing them. what is the sex appeal of joining and being trained in violence, but also being rewarded for that? joining a gang, being rewarded, to helping new skills, having courage and excitement, belonging, and then show videos of why this is a heavenly reward, when the religious messaging comes onboard? americans often wonder how they are being perceived. it is not really about religion,
although that is what is taking place, but it is the politics and policies. these outstanding issues of what we are standing for consistently in the world. what about the two-state solution that continues to fester as a cancer in the region, among many other things? this is a very challenging space to be working in as we move forward with a consistent foreign policy. the dynamic is not always as traditional as it looked last century. we are doing our best on the innovative front, and we need more ideas and partnership with civil society and your thought leadership as well. thank you so much for this time today. >> arsalan? >> thank you. i think the eu has started to take this into account. if you want, i can talk to you
afterwards and maybe share some context there. on the question of values, i mean, that is absolutely critical, and jerry was just getting to this, about the recruitment, which goes back to the earlier question about validation and not validating minority -- the narrative from one side. a lot of the countering violent extremism programs at the state department implements focuses on the younger population and on the countering the other narratives and avoiding validating the narratives. part of not validating the narrative is, you know, not to use certain terminology. like, if someone calls themselves a jihadist, they mean to invoke their religion in saying this is a holy war, so we should not call them a jihadist. we should just call them a terrorist or violent extremists. that is one thing our office has tried to do. do not call the jihadists -- they are not. they are terrorists.
also, challenging the narrative. a lot of the situations where these ideologies can really gain hold, you have a lot of problems, kind of a breakdown of state institutions, including educational, economic, political, and so on. a lot of those underlying structural issues that allows violent extremism in those ideologies to take hold has to also be addressed, and education is also one of those issues, including religious education. not just secular education, but also religious education. that's one thing we hear when we engage with religious scholars as well. they take these issues very to heart, and they feel it is their responsibility to correct a lot of the miseducation that is out there. that is certainly one thing that poses a challenge for the state department because we cannot teach religion.
we cannot run programs with someone is teaching a certain thing. it becomes a little bit more tricky in terms of the constitutional invisible handcuff, but that is absolutely an important role that civil society has to play. religious leaders themselves are playing it and have to play. >> we just have a minute or two. >> i know we are in overtime. i think as a matter of general rules, most rules and diplomacy have a few exceptions. this one has a few, but i think the notion that came out of the question of the woman who spoke so much about sudan, that you demand a price for talking to somebody is one that is close to bankruptcy. very rarely will people pay up front for the idea to talk about his solution to their problem with things that solve the problem in your direction, if i could put it that way.
however, put it this way -- outrageous an individual might be in their actions, if they are on the other side and control an outcome, then you have to find a way to talk to them, and you may be right in your suggestion or question, that using indirect channels, unofficial people, can always play a useful role. the second piece is also very much along that line. years ago, when i was at the united nations, i urged the secretary-general to keep a list of individuals, former prime minister said he or maybe someday she can call upon. as unofficial or official representatives. that list now needs to have leading religious figures added to it. i go back to secretary kerry and