The relevance of the secular and the religious in EU’s external action

10 March 2022. From 19:00  To 20:30 | Conference | English | IEMed
slideshow image REUTERS / Marcus Brandt / dpa

Since the Syrian conflict erupted and ISIS exaction against religious minorities in the Middle East but also on European territory, the EU has taken seriously the concept of ‘religious engagement’. After years of inter-civilizational and inter-faith dialogues, the European External Action Service (EEAS) has expanded its expertise in the religious, following similar instances in EU member states. Freedom of Religion of Belief is a key priority of EU institutions and EEAS are increasingly being trained on religious issues. Yet, this external activism also poses questions about EU’s identity as an international actor and at home. Based on her book Secular Power Europe and Islam: Identity and Foreign Policy, Dr. Wolff argues that religious engagement and interest for the religious worldwide provide cues to fix EU’s identity as a secular power.

Sarah Wolff is reader in European Politics and International Relations at the Queen Mary University of London, where she also directs the Center for European Research, as well as directing the Master of International Relations at the University of London Institute in Paris. Wolff is also the Senior Researcher of the NEXTEUK project at the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence, which examines the future relations of the UK and the European Union. Moreover, she currently participates in several research projects, as a member of the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael), editor of the journal Mediterranean Politics, and co-delegate of the ECPR – Network of Mediterranean Policy Research Societies, among other positions. She has previously also worked in institutions such as the European Commission and the European Parliament and contributes periodically to media such as Le Monde, Today Zaman, Al-Jazeera and Skynews.

Conference co-organised by the IEMed as part of the Aula Mediterrània 2021-22 programme in collaboration with the Master in Diplomacy and International Organizations, CEI/UB. Moderated by Jordi Quero, professor at CEI International Affairs and executive coordinator of the Master’s, CEI-UB.

The conference will be online via Zoom (previous registration required) and live on the IEMed’s Youtube.



Sarah Wolff

Reader in European Policy and International Relations Queen Mary University of London

Jordi Quero

Professor CEI International Affairs

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