While religious affiliations and conflicting belief systems have historically fueled major conflicts, doctrinal principles have helped create tangible peace treaties throughout the world. In recent years, we have seen an activist Pope more readily embrace a political agenda, including addressing climate change from the pulpit. At the same time, interpretations of Islam are fueling the hateful rhetoric and territorial claims of ISIS and the conflict in Syria, and terrorist acts across the globe. The U.S. State Department has responded to this changing landscape with the creation of the Office of Religion and Global Affairs.

The office advises Secretary of State John Kerry on policy matters as they relate to religion; supports our posts and bureaus in their efforts to assess religious dynamics and engage religious actors; and serves as a first point of entry for individuals, both religious and secular, who would like to engage the State Department in Washington on matters of religion and global affairs. It brings together the The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, the Special Representative to Muslim Communities, and the Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Shaun Casey is the U.S. Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs. He has written on the ethics of the war in Iraq as well the role of religion in American presidential politics. His book, The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960, was published by Oxford University Press in January 2009. He is co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Political Theology with Michael Kessler of Georgetown University and he is writing a book on ethics and international politics tentatively titled Niebuhr’s Children.

He is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Divinity Degree and a Doctor of Theology in Religion and Society. He also earned a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with a concentration in International Security.