ICRD Award Recognizes Rabbi Bemporad’s CIU Mission and Accomplishments
Rabbi Bemporad received the “Faith in Action” award from the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD) early this summer at a standing-room-only award ceremony and reception at the Washington D.C. home of Pakistan Ambassador-at-Large, H.E. Rafat Mahmood and Shaista Mahmood, ICRD Board member.
Rabbi Bemporad received the reward for has extensive work facilitating improved relations between Judaism and the Vatican, as well as his key leadership role in improving relations among Protestants, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, and Jews.
ICRD, which bestows the Faith-in-Action Award annually, is focused on preventing and resolving identity-based conflicts that exceed the reach of traditional diplomacy, by incorporating religion as part of the solution. It aims to decrease religion’s role as a driver of conflict and increase the role of religious clergy and laity in peacemaking. Rabbi Bemporad was honored with the award because of his and the CIU’s ongoing efforts in these realms, such as “Imams to Auschwitz” and “Faiths for Safe Water.”
Since its inception in 1999, ICRD has been using commonly-shared religious values to bridge differences between adversaries, such as the easing of religious tensions among the Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist regions of Kashmir. ICRD is also working with Syrian opposition leaders (at their request) to help them resolve their differences through a process of faith-based reconciliation.
Equally significant, over the past seven years, ICRD has engaged more than 2,700 Pakistani madrasa (religious school) leaders in reforming the curricula and pedagogy of their institutions. These changes include developing critical thinking skills among the students and inspiring greater adherence to the principles of religious tolerance and human rights. According to Dr. Doug Johnston, ICRD founder and President, “The basic idea behind the model is not to force madrasa leaders to use a prescribed curriculum, but to offer them an alternative for accomplishing what many of them already want.”
Dr. Douglas Johnston, President of ICRD, is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University and has served in senior positions in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, he served as Executive Vice President and COO of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Earlier, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Director of Policy Planning and Management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as well as planning officer with the President’s Office of Emergency Preparedness. His many publications include Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft (1994) and Religion, Terror, and Error: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Challenge of Spiritual Engagement, a 2011 Book of the Year Award winner.