Religious Presence in the Context of the United Nations Organization: A Survey

  • Karsten Lehmann


This chapter adds to the discussion of a ‘world religions map’ by providing a survey of what can be characterized as a ‘religious presence’ in the context of the United Nations Organization. Since its formation, this organization has been confronted again and again with “religion,” whether through continuing conflicts in the Middle East, the international engagement of the Holy See, or the debates about religious freedom. At the same time, various religiously affiliated organizations and movements perceived the work of the United Nations as an important context for their own activities, thus delegating representatives, contributing surveys or formal statements, and participating in the major campaigns of the United Nations Organization. On the basis of this general observation, the chapter elaborates upon three major points: (1) The ways in which the UN serves as a stage for a segment of religiously affiliated organizations, (2) she changing role of these organizations in an emerging global public, and (3) the processes of reconstruction that are triggered by these developments.


Religiously affiliated organizations United Nations Organization Networks Religious studies 



This essay is based on research and archival studies that the author carried out in the context of a project supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). A first version was presented in 2009 in the context of a project workshop at the University of Leipzig. The author is particularly thankful for the valuable suggestions of my colleague Dr. Ansgar Jödicke (University of Fribourg) as well as the highly professional translation of an earlier version of this paper by Professor Michael Jones at the University of Kentucky.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science des ReligionsBayreuth UniversityFribourgSwitzerland

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