Annual AGS Graduate Student Conference

Every year, the American Graduate School in Paris hosts an international conference organized by graduate students enrolled in its International Relations and Diplomacy programs, with the supervision of a faculty advisor.

The Annual AGS Graduate Student Conference is open to graduate students and scholars from around the world, as well as researchers and professionals from think tanks, NGOs, Intergovernmental Organizations, governmental agencies, and research centers.

Through information, debate, and dialogue, this annual conference offers a platform for exchanges of ideas on a broad range of issues and challenges related to international relations. The Annual AGS Graduate Student Conference aims to contribute innovative approaches to the advancement of that field.

2016 Conference:
"The Complexity of Religion in International Relations:
Theoretical, Legal and Geopolitical Perspectives"

21-22 April 2016 in Paris

The links between religious beliefs and global politics was not extensively explored before 9/11 and the ‘war on terror’. Today, we know that religion can change the basic patterns of how international relations is done, raising crucial questions about who the main actors are, what they want, and how they change the landscape of politics, law and diplomacy in contemporary IR. As Ikenberry states, “religious movements can reinforce state authority or undermine it, and religion can reinforce the territorial boundaries of state or mobilize loyalties that cut across borders.”
The function of religion in international relations might seem like a challenging topic, but nonetheless a crucial one. As scholars of IR, it is imperative to constantly analyze influences that impinge on world politics. There has been prominent focus on how religious differences create barriers to peace, and leads to war. However, all religions have deep roots in peace and have subtle conflict resolution mechanisms rooted in their scripture. Religion, like nationalism, allows its followers to rationalize peace or war depending on a variety of variables.

Theoretically, it is interesting to assess how religion asserts influence on the various levels of analysis i.e. individual, societal, state and international. It pushes the need for definitions and redefinitions and forces us to identify ‘a nouveau’ our choice of problems in IR, redefine our theoretical starting points, hypotheses and conclusions

Legally, the treatment of religion in national and international laws, as a human right, as a factor leading to the responsibility to protect, in theocracies as well in secular states, are dynamic topics to explore, among several others.

Geopolitically, the evaluation can deal with the interaction between the different religions – the various ways in which they influence each other, the identity politics of, and in between, religions – giving a richer and fuller understanding of international conflict and collaboration.

See schedule
See information on keynote panelists

Past Conferences

In the previous years, conferences have covered the following themes:

  • 2015:
    "The Role and Influence of NGOs in Global Governance: From Grassroots to Global"

  • 2014:
    Cyber-developments in International Relations: Impacts on an Evolving World"

  • 2013:
    Identity and Gender Politics within International Relations

  • 2012:
    The Roles and Challenges of Diplomacy in the 21st Century: Inclusion and Exclusion in a Globalized World

  • 2011:
    The Politics of Disaster: The Mitigation, Management, and International Response to Environmental Crises

  • 2010:
    Evolving Borders: Identity and Affiliation in a Volatile International Landscape

  • 2009:
    Democracy in the 21st Century: Relevant, Redundant or Risk?

  • 2008:
    Searching Beyond the State: Intercultural Dialogue and Alternative Approaches to International Politics

  • 2007:
    Current Challenges and Future Trends in International Security

  • 2006:
    Order and Disorder in a Changing World

More information on past conferences

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