How do religious groups, operating as NGOs, engage in the most important global institution for world peace? What processes do they adopt? Is there a “spiritual” UN today? This book is the first interdisciplinary study to present extensive fieldwork results from an examination of the activity of religious groups at the United Nations in New York and Geneva. Based on a three and half-year study of activities in the United Nations system, it seeks to show how “religion” operates in both visible and invisible ways.
The book reveals the way “religion” becomes a “chameleon” idea, appearing and disappearing, according to the diplomatic aims and ambitions. Part 1 documents the challenges of examining religion inside the UN, Part 2 explores the processes and actions of religious NGOs - from diplomacy to prayer - and the specific platforms of intervention – from committees to networks – and Part 3 provides a series of case studies of religious NGOs, including discussion of Islam, Catholicism and Hindu and Buddhist NGOs. The study concludes by examining the place of diplomats and their views of religious NGOs and reflects on the place of “religion” in the UN today. The study shows the complexity of “religion” inside one of the most fascinating global institutions of the world today.
Jeremy Carette is Professor of Philosophy, Religion and Culture at the University of Kent, UK. He is the author of William James's Hidden Religious Imagination: A Universe of Relations (2013), Religion and Critical Psychology: Religious Experience in the Knowledge Economy (2007), Foucault and Religion: Spiritual Corporality and Spiritual Spirituality (2000) and co-author of Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (2005).
Hugh Miall is Emeritus Professor in Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent, UK.
Introduction: Religion, the United Nations and Institutional Process, Jeremy Carrette
Part 1: Methods: Context, Categories and Conditions
1: Realism and Idealism: NGOs and the United Nations System, Hugh Miall
2: The Problem of Categories: Exploring Religion and NGOs Through Survey Research, Evelyn Bush
3: Representation, Accountability and Influence at the UN: Results from the Survey of Religious NGOs, Evelyn Bush
4: Religious NGOs, UN Participation and Fieldwork Methodology,
Part 2: Processes: Religious NGOs in Geneva and New York
5: On and Behind the Scene: Religious NGO Processes at the OHCHR of the UN in Geneva, Sophie-Hélène Trigeaud
6: Blessing or Bother? Religion and Religious NGOs at the UN in New York,
Part 3: Case Studies: The Centre and the Periphery of UN Civil Society
7: Islam, The OIC and the Defamation of Religions Controversy,
Verena Beittinger-Lee & Hugh Miall
8: Catholicism at the United Nations in New York, Verena Beittinger-Lee
9: Hindu and Buddhist NGOs and the United Nations, Jeremy Carrette
Conclusion: Diplomacy, State Power and Irrational Religion,
Hugh Miall & Jeremy Carrette