The International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD), founded by Douglas Johnston in 1999, specializes in "preventive diplomacy" -- the concept that religion can help mediate and end conflicts that are resistant to traditional diplomacy. Though an advocate of separation of church and state, Johnson emphasizes understanding the role that religion plays in human cultures. Learning to relate respectfully to these factors and drawing on them when appropriate can help to reduce violence and promote mutual understanding. In his presentation, Johnston will describe and provide examples of this approach.
Before starting the ICRD, Johnston served as chief operating officer and executive vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has been a planning officer in the President's Office of Emergency Preparedness, director of policy planning and management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and deputy assistant secretary of the Navy. He also taught international affairs and security at Harvard University and was the founder and first director of the Kennedy School's Executive Program in National and International Security. Johnston has edited and authored several books, including "Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft" (Oxford University Press, 1994); "Foreign Policy into the 21st Century: The U.S. Leadership Challenge" (CSIS, 1996); and "Faith-based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik" (Oxford University Press, 2003). Johnston is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds a master"s degree in public administration and a doctorate in political science from Harvard University.