To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to develop religious literacy among its staff in the past two years.
20 March 2018
Given the importance in global affairs, the FCO would expect British diplomats to be conversant with religious issues as part of their general professional expertise. However, we also offer specific support, notably a course on "Religion and Diplomacy", delivered by the London School of Economics Faith Centre, which has run 4 times in the past two years. Geographic Directorates and posts also arrange ad hoc activities such as courses, seminars and roundtables to allow their staff to explore religious themes with academic experts and faith leaders. Examples include a seminar by General Sir Nicholas Carter, British Army, Chief of the General Staff on 29 March 2017, a course on political Islam organised in January 2017 by FCO's South Asia and Afghanistan Directorate, and a seminar on Islamist ideology: history and contemporary developments in January 2018 by FCO's National Security Directorate.