Conference | ‘Religion and the Politics of Development’ – Singapore
Religion and the Politics of Development: Priests, Potentates and “Progress” organized by Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore, August 28-29, 2013.
Kalinga Tudor Silva, Guest-Editor of the International Development Policy: Religion and Development, presented a paper ‘Globalization, Existential Insercurities and Interrogating Religion in a Neo-Buddhist Nationalist Movement in Sri Lanka’.
The Conveners of the Conference were Dr Robin Bush, Dr Philip Fountain and Prof Michael Feener, all members of the Religion Cluster at ARI. This conference was a useful follow up to the Special Issue of International Development Policy on “Religion and Development” published by the Geneva Graduate Institute earlier in the year in that the NUS conference further explored some of the key issues raised with a regional focus on the Asian region. Some of the leading authorities on the subject including Katharine Marshall from Georgetown University and formerly from the World Bank, Jeff Haynes from London Metropolitan University, Carole Rakodi from University of Birmingham and James Putzel from London School of Economics and Political Science delivered key note lectures on key issues such as the role of religious actors in politics and development, role of Faith based Organizations in development, challenges in taming religion where it does pose a problem for democracy and development and dynamics of state-religion interaction. Researchers from across Asia, Europe and North America, ranging from senior academics to young scholars, participated in the conference. The academic sessions were followed by panel discussions addressed by practitioners (mostly representatives of donor agencies), which gave the conference participants a good opportunity to interact with practitioners and identify ways in which future research can better inform policy and practice.