chapter  11
21 Pages

Transnational interfaith diplomacy

The interfaith G8/G20 shadow summits
WithSherrie Steiner

When social movement civic engagement becomes transnational, activists are shaped by, if not subject to, the norms of the Westphalian nation-state system. A different type of social interaction is required of people engaged in cross-border activism than of those who act within any given nation. In the absence of a world government, diplomatic skills increase in importance given the transnational context of ‘governance without government.’ The history of colonialism and the shadows of empire created by the military-industrial complexes of major world powers add to the complexity of the diplomatic challenge. Religions further complicate transnational dialogue because many of the world religions have historic roots that predate emergence of the Westphalian nation-state system. Membership in particular traditions are present as religious majorities in scores of countries. Furthermore, every religious majority is a minority somewhere else. Transnational interfaith political activism and interreligious dialogue requires extensive attention to the creation of safety locks on hair-triggers of distrust. This chapter describes transnational cosmopolitan interfaith activism as distinguishable from religious favoritism and ‘weaponized niceness.’