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Event | Religious Literacy for Diplomats – June 1-2, 2017

June 1, 2017


In December 2015, Congress passed the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act with bipartisan support. The Wolf Act stipulates that the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices provided to Foreign Service Officers no longer contain updated information on religious freedom conditions globally. In order to address this oversight, the Wolf Act improves these educational resources for all U.S. Foreign Service Officers, Deputy Chiefs of Mission, and Ambassadors in the countries where they will serve.

At a curriculum workshop on June 1st & 2nd, the Religion Initiative of the International Policy Institute will partner with representatives from USAID, the Foreign Service Institute, and the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs, as well as several retired diplomats now based in the Pacific Northwest, to develop a series of lectures on conditions of religious freedom in select countries where this cultural influence plays a pivotal role in policymaking.

This event was made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the presenters.


Kristian Coates Ulrichsen (Saudi Arabia)

Kristian Coates UlrichsenFellow for the Middle East at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and an Affiliate Professor at the Jackson School of International Studies, as well as an Associate Fellow at Chatham House in London. He is the author of six books, including two on World War I in the Middle East and four on the political economy and international relations of the Persian Gulf. Coates Ulrichsen has lectured regularly at the Foreign Service Institute and has led ASNEA 5001: Arabian Peninsula training weeks at FSI since 2015.

Anand A. Yang (India)

Anand YangProfessor, International Studies and History, is currently the Chair of the History Department and a former director of the Jackson School of International Studies,. Yang is the author of several books on the colonial political economy of British India. A former editor of The Journal of Asian Studies and Peasant Studies, Yang served as the president of the Association for Asian Studies in 2006-7 and the president of the World History Association in 2008-10.

Oded Oron (Israel)

Oded OronDoctoral Candidate at the Jackson School of International Studies. M.A. in Politics and Government from Ben-Gurion University in Israel. A native of Tel-Aviv, Oron’s research compares African migrants mobilizing in Israel with migrant movements in Washington state. Extensive experience within the Israeli press, including consulting for Israel’s Government Press Office.

Eugene E. Lemcio (Ukraine)

Ph.D. (Trinity College, Cambridge University) and Emeritus Professor of New Testament in the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University. A third generation American of Ukrainian descent, Lemcio is the Founder and Past Co-Chair of the Ukrainian Studies Endowment at the University of Washington. Currently, he advises Valeriy Goloborodko, Ukraine’s Honorary Consul in Seattle for Washington and Oregon.

Reşat Kasaba (Turkey)

Reşat Kasaba,

Director of the Jackson School of International Studies and the Stanley D. Golub Chair of International Studies. Kasaba’s main area of research has been the Ottoman Empire, Turkey and the Modern Middle East. He has written and edited seven books and published over 40 articles. Most recently, he edited volume four of the Cambridge History of Modern Turkey and wrote A Moveable Empire: Ottoman Empire, Migrants, and Refugees.

Kasaba was born in Turkey and completed his early education in that country.  He received his B.S. in Economics and Statistics from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara (1977), and his Master’s and Ph.D. in Sociology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, in 1979 and 1985 respectively.

Lucian Leustean (Russia)

Reader in Politics and International Relations at Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Ph.D. in political science at the London School of Economics. His publications include, as author, Orthodoxy and the Cold War. Religion and Political Power in Romania, 1947-65 (Palgrave, 2008) and, as editor, Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century (Routledge, 2014) and Orthodox Christianity and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Southeastern Europe (Fordham University Press, 2014).

Michael Sims (Minorities impacted by ISIS)

Ph.D. Candidate in the Interdisciplinary Program in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at UW. His research focuses on Kurdish, Yezidi and Syriac Christian communities of the Late Ottoman Empire, nationalism and interfaith relations. He is additionally an Army veteran, whose service included deployments to Mosul and Tal Afar, Iraq. His research and studies have taken him to Turkey, Jordan, Iraqi Kurdistan and Morocco.

This event and publication were made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.