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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Religion, Human Values & Intl Relations
Module Code TP532
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Philip McDonagh
Semester 2: Philip McDonagh
Autumn: Philip McDonagh
Module TeachersJoseph Rivera
Philip McDonagh
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The purpose of this module is to examine the changing character of diplomacy and international relations, with a specific focus on religion, human values, and peacebuilding. In this module students engage in interactive dialogue exploring the orientation and methodology of multilateral diplomacy in light of the key areas noted above. In this process, students develop knowledge and skills in terms of evaluating ideas and proposals in the realm of international relations, with examples drawn from Ireland and beyond. Learning activities in this module include a series of workshops around key themes, each based on an introductory lecture/presentation; a visit to the Chester Beatty Library, including presentations exploring religious diversity in the Library’s collection; and written assignments based on the workshops and reading list.

Learning Outcomes

1. analyse critically key issues in diplomacy in the global world of the twenty-first century;
2. assess developments in international diplomacy in the light of first principles and human values
3. display a critical understanding of the relationship between freedom of religion or belief and other public policy issues;
4. assess critically the conditions under which a values-led dialogue inclusive of religious traditions can help make multilateralism fit-for-purpose

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Seminars250Workshops/lectures – 32 hours On-site visit - 8 hours Independent study – 105 hours Assignment completion - 105 hours
Seminars250workshops/lectures 32 hours on-site visit 8 hours independent study 105 hours assignment completion 105 hours
Total Workload: 500

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction and overview
• Introduction to module • ‘Making multilateralism fit for purpose’ (EU); time-line for a just transition • Cultural and ethical strategies in policy initiatives • Religious literacy and engagement with religious communities in light of international documents

Assessing the current global situation
• The landscape of a rapidly changing diplomatic context • COVID-19 • Climate change, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity • Digital technologies/AI/GDPR • Social disparities • Racial justice/historical justice • Arms control

Modern multilateral diplomacy
• President Wilson and the League of Nations • Post – World War II • The rise of public diplomacy • Two tendencies: the SDGs versus transactional diplomacy

First principles: the ‘Socratic Question’
• Socrates: how should we live? A design for living? • Confucius: trust between rulers and ruled • Individual interests and the common interest • An effective public truth • Cross-disciplinary enquiry • Personal communication/moral discernment

Freedom of Religion or Belief
• Freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) a core human rights principle • FoRB exercised ‘alone or in community with others’ • Openness of the public sphere to practical and policy contributions from religious communities and associations

Religious communities in the public square
Leaving aside questions at the intersection of freedom of religion or belief and public policy (education, etc): • Religions have immense ‘social capital’ • Religion plays a part in conflict resolution • and in the broader politics of global peaceful transformation

Insights from anthropology and sociology
• Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project • The International Panel on Social Progress • Each society finds a way forward within parameters set by its past • Interaction between public authorities and the religious confessions is helpful to the religions themselves

Finding a common language for the secular and religion
• Traditional values and universal human rights in Myanmar (a case study)

The way of the future? A process-oriented approach
• ‘Imaging’ or visualizing peace • Freedom as the condition of authentic human relationships: from coercion to consent • The starting position for political deliberation is inevitably non-ideal • The anatomy of benign change • Frameworks of engagement: defining the political community • Education for dialogue

How art accompanies beneficial social change
• The relationship between art and political ideas • The poetry of Seamus Heaney and the politics of John Hume • Northern Ireland in the European and global context • Peace processes and the global situation

Shared hope
• Hope - a ‘great fundamental word’ • A common criterion of measurement in very different situations • ‘Going against the current’ • Hope accords with reason • Hope is shared

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
ParticipationClass presentation / comments in class on the presentations of other participants in the module20%n/a
Short Answer QuestionsReflections on each of eight short set texts/quotations reflecting core issues under consideration in the module30%Week 12
Extended Essay / DissertationResearch essay on a theme to be agreed with the module coordinator50%Week 12
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • McDonagh, Manocha, Mendoza, Neary: 2021, On the Significance of Religion for Global Diplomacy, Routledge, London,
  • Asja Bakic,Zsofia Ban,Annelies Beck: 0, Europa28, 1-912697-29-7
  • Richard Haass: 2017, A World in Disarray, Penguin Press HC, 9780399562365
  • Helen J. Alford,Michael Naughton: 2001, Managing as If Faith Mattered, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Illinois, 0–268–03462–1
  • Nanjala Nyabola: 2018, Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics, Zed, London,
  • Marc Fleurbaey: 2018, A Manifesto for Social Progress, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1-108-42478-3
  • Stephan Lessenich: 2019, Living Well At Others' Expense / The Hidden Costs of Western Prosperity, Polity, Cambridge, UK,
  • Yuval Noah Harari: 2018, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Jonathan Cape, London, 9781787330672
  • Gregorio Bettiza: 2019, Finding Faith in Foreign Policy, Oxford University Press, USA, New York, 9780190949464
  • Julian Baggini: 2018, How the World Thinks, Granta, London, 9781783782284
  • Bruno Latour: 2018, Down to Earth /Politics in the New Climatic Regime, Polity, Cambridge, UK,
  • Gerry O'Hanlon SJ (editor): 2017, A Dialogue of Hope / Critical Thinking for Critical Times, Messenger Publications, Dublin,
  • Tom Healy: 2019, An Ireland Worth Working For / Towards a New Democratic Program, New Island, Dublin,
  • Nancy Fraser: 2019, The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born, Verso, London,
  • Martin Sandbu: 2020, The Economics of Belonging, Princeton University Press, Princeton,
  • Malita Booker: 0, Pepper Seed, Peepal Tree Press,
  • Kevin Hargarden: 2018, Theological Ethics in a Neoliberal Age, Cascade Books, Oregon,
  • Joseph Chan: 2014, Confucian Perfectionism / A Political Philosophy for Modern Times, Princeton University Press, Princeton,
  • Amitav Ghosh: 2016, The Great Derangement, Penguin Books, India, 9780670089130
Other Resources

43181, website, Vatican (Pope Francis), 2015, 'Laudato Si'' (encyclical), Vatican City, Holy See Press Office, www.vatican.va, 43182, website, Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, 2019, Document on Human Fraternity and Living Together, Higher Committee of Human Fraternity (HCHF)/Vatican City, HCHF, www.forhumanfraternity.org; www.vatican.va, 43396, website, Bahai International Community, 2020, A Governance Befitting / Humanity and the Path Towards a Just Global Order, New York, Bahai International Community, www.bic.org, 43397, website, Philip McDonagh (principal author), 2018, Religion and Security–Building in the OSCE Context: Involving Religious Leaders and Congregations in Joint Efforts, Vienna, OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions, osce–network.net, 43398, website, OHCHR, 2017, Beirut Declaration on "Faith for Rights", Geneva, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, www.ohchr.org, 43399, website, UN Secretariat, 2017, Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors, New York, UN Secretariat, www.un.org, 43400, website, Vatican (Pope Francis), 2020, "Fratelli Tutti", Vatican City, Holy See Press Office, www.vatican.va,
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