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Freedom of Religion or Belief & Foreign Policy

Welcome to this website of the FoRB & Foreign Policy Initiative (FoRB&FPI) based at the University of Sussex. This is a collection of current research and resources from policy dialogues offering latest thinking and policy recommendations on FoRB and Foreign Policy by international experts, advocacy and religious representatives including input from policy makers in the UN, the EU, the US Department of State, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is organised around three areas of research and policy work.

Transatlantic Policy

FoRB is increasingly under threat globally as religious persecutions and discrimination appears to be on the rise in many parts of the world. As governments and organisations from Europe and North America step up their commitment to the protection and promotion of FoRB, increased coordination and reflection become a more urgent need.

Preventing Violent Extremism

It is becoming ever clearer that solutions to combat violent extremism must also consider conditions that facilitate it. One key response is to build open and plural societies in which FoRB is respected.


This webpage is a partnership between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the University of Sussex to make available Open Access materials from the conference ‘Preventing Violent Extremism by building inclusive and plural societies: How Freedom of Religion or Belief can help’ hosted by the UK government on 19-20 October 2016.

Religious Engagement and Intercultural Dialogue

Engagement with religious actors and intercultural dialogue are crucial tools to improve FoRB worldwide and to combat intolerance and discriminations and strengthen peaceful living together. The future of FoRB policy has to become part of a vision of ‘building bridges of mutual understanding’. Also needed is a new international dialogue and intercultural consensus on different religiously and culturally sensitive issues related to FoRB.