The India-China “battle for Buddha” has now reached Myanmar, with New Delhi sponsoring an International Conference on Buddhist Cultural Heritage in Yangon over the weekend, while Beijing has since last year been trying to leverage the legacy of “Shakya Muni” to connect with the religious majority in its south-western neighbour.
Nigeria has suspended all Hajj flights to Saudi Arabia after the authorities there deported more than 170 women who had arrived without a male escort... A Nigerian government delegation is going to Saudi Arabia to complain.
In his extensive dealings with Pyongyang, Moon revealed both the potential and the limitations of the hard-edged yet increasingly open policy towards North Korea that Japan, South Korea, and the United States embraced immediately after the Cold War.
“One often makes a remark and only later sees how true it is.” Ludwig Wittgenstein
Particularly for practitioners of public diplomacy, understanding the role of religious faith in people’s lives is an essential part of crafting outreach efforts. In much of the world, secularism is viewed warily, seen as weakening the fabric of society, and so a respectful approach to religion is an essential element of diplomacy. Religion is not “mere sociology,” as the CIA reportedly referred to it prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution. Rather, it must be taken seriously as a foundation stone of international relations.
In recent months, Uzbek leaders have intensified a campaign to contain Turkish economic and cultural influences in Uzbekistan. The most prominent component of this crackdown has been the arrest of 54 Turkish entrepreneurs over the past two years and the closure of at least 50 Turkish-operated businesses.