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Religion and Foreign Policy Bulletin September 2016: Spotlight on the UN General Assembly, Global Literacy, and Campaign 2016

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September 2016

Religion and Foreign Policy Bulletin

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Spotlight on the UN General Assembly, Global Literacy, and Campaign 2016



This month's bulletin features the latest CFR events with world leaders held during the UN General Assembly, results from a recent CFR-National Geographic survey on what young people educated in American colleges and universities know about international affairs, and commentary and analysis of the U.S. presidential campaign.


71st Session of the UN General Assembly

Obama's UN Address: An Enlightened Man in an Unreasonable World


In his final UN address, President Obama shared his noble vision of a world order in which equality, liberty, and unity trump injustice, oppression, and division. The speech's biggest flaw was that it contained little practical guidance on how to resolve intractable problems, from mass migration to North Korea's nuclear program, writes CFR's Stewart M. Patrick.  Read more from the "Internationalist" blog »

A Conversation With Javad Zarif

In a CFR conversation with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif discusses regional politics, nuclear security, and U.S.-Iran relations.  Read more on how the next president should approach U.S.-Iran relations »

Education, Extremism, and Global Leadership

Watch former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova discuss the role of education and civil society organizations in preventing the spread of radical extremism. Read the transcript »

A Conversation With Salahuddin Rabbani

At CFR, Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani outlines the current security, political, social, and economic challenges facing Afghanistan's national unity government. Read CFR's latest analysis of Afghanistan's stalled political reforms »


Join our 9/28 Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call!

On Wednesday, September 28, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. (ET), Mitchell C. Hescox, president and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network, and Paul Douglas, president and senior meteorologist at AerisWeather, will lead an on-the-record conversation on faith, science, and responsible stewardship of the environment. 

Email to register for the discussion. 

Explore Reverend Hescox and Mr. Douglas's new book, Caring for Creation: The Evangelical's Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment.


Fostering Global Literacy

What College-Aged Students Know About the World: A Survey on Global Literacy

With an eye to identifying the gaps between what young people understand about today's world and what they need to know to successfully navigate and compete in it, CFR and National Geographic commissioned a Global Literacy Survey in May 2016. Conducted by ARC Research, 1,203 people ages 18 to 26 educated at U.S. colleges and universities were polled on their knowledge of the world and America's role in it. View the results »

Test Your Global Literacy


How much do you know about U.S. foreign policy, economics, and international relations? Find out by answering ten of the survey questions.  Take the survey »

Watch Experts Discuss the Survey Results

National Geographic Partners' Susan Goldberg, CFR's Richard N. Haass, and National Geographic Society's Gary E. Knell discuss the importance of global and geographic literacy and what both organizations are doing to help prepare young Americans for an increasingly interconnected world. Read the transcript »


Update on the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

Preparing for the Presidential Debates


As the presidential race enters a new phase with the first of three scheduled debates taking place tonight, CFR's Elizabeth Saunders anticipates how Clinton and Trump will focus on the specific issues of immigration, the self-proclaimed Islamic State, and international alliances to reinforce the broader domestic and international themes of their respective campaigns.  Explore CFR's award-winning Campaign 2016 guide »

Putin's Meddling in the U.S. Elections

Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential race is testing the structural weaknesses of the U.S. electoral system, prompting some prominent officials and journalists to delete their email accounts, and raising new questions about the security of voting machines and software in a country where voters have rarely questioned the integrity of the process, writes former NPR Moscow correspondent Gregory Feifer.  Compare Clinton and Trump's positions on Russia »

The Coming Confrontation With North Korea

It is increasingly likely that the next U.S. president will face a fateful decision regarding North Korea's nuclear program, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass. To mitigate the threat posed by North Korea's accelerating nuclear and missile programs, the latest CFR Independent Task Force report, A Sharper Choice on North Korea: Engaging China for a Stable Northeast Asiaurges U.S. officials to encourage China to work with the United States, Japan, and South Korea to establish a nonnuclear and unified Korean Peninsula.  Compare Clinton and Trump on North Korea »



The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. Founded in 1921, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.



The CFR Religion and Foreign Policy Initiative connects religious and congregational leaders, scholars, and thinkers with CFR's resources on U.S. foreign policy and provides a forum for this community to discuss a broad range of pressing international issues. For more information, please contact McCourt Noonan, associate director for the National Program & Outreach, at 212.434.9848 or


CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Portal,, is a "first stop" on the internet for members of the religious community seeking information on and analysis of U.S. foreign policy and global developments. In addition to a wide range of CFR materials—including work from the think tank, interviews with experts, meeting transcripts, and new backgrounders—users will find analysis and documents from other sources that have been carefully selected by the website's editorial staff for their relevance and quality.

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