Toronto – Dr. James C. Wallace and Richelle Wiseman of LACUNA attended a two-day event organized by the Canadian Armed Forces “Colloquium on Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding” which wrapped up today at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.
Wallace made a presentation to the 80 attendees titled, “Religion, Policy and Global Peacebuilding,” in which he addressed the expanding role that religion policy is taking in the foreign policy strategies of governments around the world.
Wallace addressed the particular challenge for militaries being deployed into regions where religion and culture are major factors in asymmetrical warfare, yet officers and soldiers have little or no training in confronting the religious variables in their strategic and operational planning.
“Since the start of the war in Afghanistan, militaries have begun to develop tools like Religious Area Assessment (RAA) and Religious Leaders Engagement (RLE),” said Wallace. “However, training and strategy on religion needs to move further to engage new strategic tools like Religious Impact Assessment (RIA) and Religious Strategic War Planning (RSWP).”
Wallace has been working over the past two years with the Canadian Defense Academy on its long range strategic training document, Institutional Leadership 2030 on how to address religion and culture in its structures and training.
“Of interest to us here were comments from military leaders on lessons learned from Canada’s mission in Afghanistan,” said Wiseman. Our conversations with these leaders in the Canadian military and chaplaincy roles confirms to us that the need for strategic religious and cultural strategy and training is recognized now as crucial to future international missions,” said Wiseman.
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