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• Dr Lucian N. Leustean, Reader in Politics and International Relations at Aston University

• Dr Jasmine Dum-Tragut, Head of the Center for the Study of the Christian East and the Department for Armenian Studies at the University of Salzburg

• Dr Dmytro Vovk, Head of the Centre for the Rule of Law and Religion Studies, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in Kharkiv and member of the OSCE/ODIHR Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief

• Dr Daniela Kalkandjieva, Independent Bulgarian scholar affiliated with Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski

• Dr Tornike Metreveli, Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

This webinar is being held to examine findings of a new Aston Centre for Europe and Foreign Policy Centre publication Religion and Forced Displacement in the Eastern Orthodox World. The event and publication will examine the relationship between religion-state relations, forced displacement, religious diplomacy and human security in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, with a focus on eight countries in the region, Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.

The webinar and research will focus on four areas: 1) the circulation of ideas on human security between religious and secular courts, monastic settlements, pilgrimage sites and educational establishments; 2) religious strategies in relation to violence, tolerance, transitory environments and resettlement; 3) religious support, protection and mechanisms towards displaced populations, and 4) channels of religious diplomacy advancing human security.

The event and publication seek to answer a number of important questions including: What happens when states fail to support migrants and forcibly displaced populations? How do religious actors (national churches, religious institutions, national and internationally-affiliated organisations) and state bodies engage with human security in Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine? What are the mechanisms of Orthodox support towards forcibly displaced communities in these countries? How does displacement impact upon religious practices, values and political structures? How does Orthodox diplomacy impact upon state relations in Eastern Europe and Eurasia and, most importantly, between Eastern and Western Europe?

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