On Foreign Policy and Seeing the Big Picture

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd is a professor of political science and religious studies and the Crown Chair in Middle East Studies at Northwestern University, where she co-directs the Global Religion and Politics Research Group. The author or coeditor of six books, she specializes in religion in U.S. foreign and immigration policy, the global politics of secularism and religious freedom, religion and the American border, and relations between the United States, Europe, Turkey, and Iran.

Hurd visited campus as part of a series of policy discussions marking the 20th anniversary of September 11th, presented by Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs and Ansari Institute for Global Engagement With Religion. Her keynote, the second event in the three-part series, focused on what she calls the “religion-heavy” foreign policy of the United States’ War on Terror.

With a patio outside Notre Dame’s Morris Inn as our backdrop, Hurd talked with us about some of the issues she addressed in her presentation at the Keough School and why she believes the government should rethink the emphasis it places on religion when acting on the world stage. Her recommendations there draw from testimony she gave to the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year and, it’s worth noting, do not suggest that religion is unimportant either.

But before we got to where we are now, we started with a little bit of history.

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