But the country is also mobilizing soft power. The government sponsored a conference this week where Islamic and Christian leaders discussed promoting religious tolerance. Earlier this month, Cameroon announced $8 million in grants for young people who start businesses in the north, the country's poorest region and the one where most Muslims live.

No efforts are more notable than the Kingdom of Morocco, which has erected a formidable “soft-power” strategy against Islamic radicalism over the past decade. That strategy is grounded in religious legitimacy.

The conference that will focus on certain questions - such as "How can we establish a culture of understanding and peace between different religions and cultures?" - aims to promote Turkey academically as well as addressing and correcting wrong perceptions about Turkey in the world.

The “soft power” of religious opinion makers is an important factor.  In fact, some have argued as Amb. Charles Freeman (USFS, ret.) has that “only a coalition with a strong Muslim identity can hope to contain” the terrorists.

 Instead of using this opportunity with the soft power of our minds and the underlying Islamic cause, we have remained stuck in archaic Turkish nationalism.

Think open dialogue and reconciliation and China isn’t usually the first country that comes to mind. But in 2013 China shifted its principle of “non-interference in other countries” to one of active conflict resolution in some of the world’s most intractable contexts: Israel-Palestine, Myanmar, and Afghanistan. (...) But while it may be a welcome foray, its success will be muted at best unless China can overcome one major blind spot: religion.

Many liberals in Nepal and India have long been concerned that the victory of Narendra Modi in the last general elections might undermine India’s secular foundations, “saffronise” India’s foreign policy, project the Hindutva agenda into Nepal and empower the much despised royalists in that country.

BNV 2013 - Quarter Finals - Washington DC

Brave New Voices (BNV) is the world's first poetry slam dedicated to youth, promoting youth empowerment, intellectual growth as well as artistic development. Watch the 2013 BNV Quarter Finals here.