Politics and Society

Detailed information about the 2017 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2016 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in next year’s Networks.

2016 European Politics and Society Network

The European Politics and Society Network is designed to teach key Christian political, legal, and social leaders how to be salt and light through effectively communicating Christ’s character in their respective contexts. Applicants should be those who are working in the areas of politics, law, campaigning, or community action. Both seasoned lawyers, activists, and campaigners and aspirants will benefit from the input of leading thinkers and practitioners. This Network will be led by Nola Leach and Charlie Hoare. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.

 

NETWORK LEADERS

 

Nola Leach is a co-leader of the European Politics and Society Network and serves as the Chief Executive of CARE (Christian Action, Research & Education), one of Europe’s leading Christian charities which provides resources and helps bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. CARE undertakes a variety of social caring and educational programmes and research. It is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies, at the EU in Brussels, and at the UN in Geneva and New York. As Head of the Public Affairs team, she leads campaigns on topics such as human trafficking, Internet pornography, and the value of human life from its beginning to natural end. She has overseen the publication of Living Free, a sequel to the CARE book Searching for Intimacy – a resource designed to help those trapped in the net of Internet pornography. She is increasingly in demand as both a writer and public speaker. She has penned numerous articles, and regularly appears in the media.

 

Charlie Hoare is a co-leader of the European Politics and Society Network. He received his Bachelor's degree in History at the University of Durham. After a year of working for a British Member of Parliament, he studied law before taking a Masters degree at the London School of Economics in social policy and non-profit management. From 1998- 2012 he was CARE’s International Director. For the past year he has acted as a consultant focusing on International work. In addition to representing CARE at the United Nations, he has helped establish a strategic global network of policy makers, academics, politicians, and diplomats at the national and regional levels. He is married to Eleanor; they have a son and two daughters.

 

Cameron Dobbie is Executive Assistant to Nola Leach, CEO of CARE and has been the Politics and Society Network Administrator since 2013. After graduating from the University of St Andrews with a degree in Economics, Cameron moved to London to begin work at CARE. Cameron’s role in supporting Nola consists of various research projects and speaking engagements combined with the full time management of the Chief Executive’s office.  Cameron is married to Lorna who works for the CEO of a Christian youth work charity based in central London.

 


From 2011 on, the activities of the CPFE are financially supported by the European Parliament. The liability for any communication or publication by the CPFE, in any form and any medium, rests with the CPFE. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

 

 

NETWORK SPEAKERS

Jonathan Chaplin is first Director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (KLICE), based at Tyndale House, Cambridge and a member of the Cambridge University Divinity Faculty. Founded in 2006, KLICE is the only independent, evangelical, academic ethics research institute in the UK (www.klice.co.uk). Jonathan received his PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has taught political theory and political theology at five institutions in the UK, Canada and the Netherlands. He is author of Herman Dooyeweerd: Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society (Univ. of Notre Dame, 2011), editor or co-editor of six other books, most recently God and the EU: Faith in the European Project (Routledge, 2016), and author of numerous articles on Christian political thought. He is currently writing a book entitled Faith in Democracy? Towards a Post-secularist Settlement. He is a Senior Fellow of Cardus, a Canadian Christian think-tank, writing regularly for its current affairs journal Comment, and a consultant researcher for Theos, a Christian think-tank in London, for which he has authored reports on religious language in the public realm, and multiculturalism. From 2009 to 2012 he posted regularly on issues of public religion on the Guardian’s ‘Comment is free Belief’ site.

 

Johannes de Jong is managing director of the European Christian Political Foundation (ECPF). He holds a masters degree in theology. Before his current occupation he has been a protestant (Calvinist) pastor of a congregation in The Protestant Church of The Netherlands for six years. In 2003-2004 he co-founded the European Christian Political Movement of which the ECPF is the official affiliated think-tank. In 2010 the ECPM was recognised by the European Parliament as a European political party. In 2011 the ECPF received recognition as a European political foundation.

 

Johnny Monro is the Parliamentary Office Manager to Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, and helped her coordinate the successful 2015 campaign to prevent euthanasia being legalised in the UK. Johnny has also worked with Fiona Bruce MP on a number of other pro-life campaigns, as well as issues of civil liberty, family policy, and international human rights; and previously with David Burrowes MP as he led a high profile campaign on marriage.

 

Vesna Radeka is the president of Pregnancy Resource Center “Choose Life,” whose aim is to raise awareness about the value of human lives, to educate youth about their reproductive health, to help women who are facing unplanned pregnancies, and to help women hurt by abortion. She attended Philosophical College, and she received a degree in Serbian Literature and Language. In 2009 she finished graduate academic studies at the Novi Sad Protestant Theological Seminary. Since 1997 she has been involved in full-time ministry. From 1997-2000 she and her family lived in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they planted a church. From 2001-2003 she was involved in planting a church in Sombor, Serbia. In 2004 she began her work in the pro-life ministry in Serbia. Vesna is also helping her husband Nenad in establishing the New Plant Church in Novi Sad, Serbia. They have three children.

 

Paul Susman is a lawyer of Romanian origins with expertise in European Law. He works as a Legal Officer for the European Commission in Brussels and teaches EU law at Handong International School of Law in South Korea. He is an LL.M. graduate of the Université Catholique de LouvainBelgium and obtained his doctorate degree in political science and international relations with a focus on diplomacy from the University of Matej Bel, Slovakia. Paul is a passionate advocate for Christian values and has been involved in numerous projects related to pro-family and pro-life aspects, including being the co-drafter of a proposed amendment to the Romanian Constitution regarding marriage. More recently, Paul has been involved with the Bodnariu case and has been interviewed by several media outlets, including BBC. 

 

Paul Sydnor is the EU Director for the International Association for Refugees (www.iafr.org). An active participant of the Refugee Highway Partnership (RHP) in Europe, as well as the Lausanne Global Diaspora Network (GDN), Paul has helped to build church-based ministries among refugees and asylum seekers throughout Europe since 1985. He has also come alongside of a number of refugee leaders over the years to strengthen and support them in their own efforts, including refugee leaders from Croatia, Kosovo, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and several parts of Africa. Paul and his family live in Lille, France. His wife is from Germany, and they have raised their three grown kids raised in three different countries. Paul has completed the MDiv and MA Counseling (Gordon-Conwell) and recently a PhD (Middlesex) about the intersection of forced displacement and faith.

 

Sebastian Vaduva currently serves as Dean of the Griffiths School of Management within Emanuel University of Oradea, Romania.  He was born and raised in Romania, but in the spring of 1989 immigrated to the US with his whole family.  In the US he enjoyed a successful career in entrepreneurship, academia, and the NGO sector.  In 2003 he completed his first PhD in the area of comparative entrepreneurial systems between the US and Romania.  In 2004 he was selected as a Fulbright scholar for the nation of Moldova where he worked as an MBA program director. In 2005 he returned to Romania permanently and besides being Dean of the Griffiths School of Management he is a serial entrepreneur with seven started companies and a corporate trainer/consultant for multinational corporations present in Romania. Additionally, Sebastian is involved in politics and public administration holding a second PhD from the National School of Politics and Public AdministrationHe has consulted a number of public leaders on the subject of economic development, FDI attraction, job creation, etc.  In 2014 he joined the board of Transparency International Romania in an effort to educate the Romanian public on the perils of corruption and the benefits and possibilities of a healthy business environment.  He is married with Lois and together they have a daughter Evelina Delia.

 

NETWORK PROGRAMME

DAY 1

The State in God's Purposes
Jonathan Chaplin

The state is an institution we confront in many areas of our lives, even without knowing it. It has great power and extensive authority over us, but we rarely spend much time thinking about what it is or why it exists. How should Christians understand the state from a biblical and theological point of view? What are its legitimate purposes under God? What are the limits of its authority, and how should we respond when it violates those limits?  How should Christians advance their views of the state in a religiously plural society? Is there any place for a ‘Christian state’ or ‘Christian nation’?
 

In the World, But Not of the World: The Problems of Corruption and Broken Economies
Sebastian Vaduva

Jesus called his disciples to be the salt and light of the earth, but does that include the political and administrative sphere? Politicians and public administrators can tend to become corrupted, especially in broken economies with legacies of atheism and communism. Kleptocracy and cronyism seem to be the norm rather than the exception. But were the Egyptian, Babylonian and Roman Empires any less corrupt in the times of Joseph, Daniel and the saints in Caesar’s household? If God called them to minister in those harsh and corrupt realities, surely He must have a plan for the 21st century Christian leaders of Europe! In his talk, Sebastian Vaduva will outline the intrinsic problems of corruption within the context of post-Soviet Eastern Europe and the secular European Union. Based upon his experience and research he will attempt to provide practical, biblical solutions on how Christian leaders can be salt and light in Europe.


DAY 2

Europe's Refugees and Migrants: A Christian Response
Paul Sydnor

The first half of the 2010 decade has seen a resurgence in refugees and migrants crossing from North Africa and the Near East into Europe. Driven by factors such as war, conflict, prejudice and poverty, refugees and migrants have been flooding Europe's borders. What is the story on the ground and how can Christians respond in a balanced way that reflects God's love for the widow, the orphan and the stranger.
 

Panel Discussion on Europe's Refugees and Migrants
Charlie Hoare (moderator), Johannes de Jong, Noemi Montes, and Paul Sydnor

This panel will focus on the humanitarian refugee and migrant crisis and look at several on the ground initiatives that are working with people in different countries. The panel will further explore how the church in Europe can respond to the crisis and what steps are currently being taken.


DAY 3

How to Mount a Successful Political Campaign for Human Life
Johnny Monro

Parliamentary victories are often the culmination of work and support by huge numbers of people, often over many years. This was certainly true for the UK Parliamentary fight to oppose the legalisation of euthanasia, which resulted in the heavy defeat of the Assisted Dying (No.2) Bill by 330 – 118 votes in the UK’s House of Commons. This session goes through the different elements of the campaign, and how campaigners won the argument inside Parliament against euthanasia. The campaign took a huge amount of effort from thousands of people across the country, and it is true to say that the campaign owes its success to thousands of small actions, rather than a handful of big moments or brilliant decisions. By coordinating with a wide range of allies, who all brought different strengths, and by remaining focussed on the ultimate goal of persuading individual MPs to vote against the Bill, a campaign for euthanasia, which was extremely well-funded and which many expected to win, was defeated by a margin of almost three votes to one.

What Should the Church's Response Be to Protecting Human Life?
Vesna Radeka

There is mounting evidence that our secular society’s disregard for the value of human life has wrought unspeakable tragedy.  Since respect for human life is based on recognising God as the Creator and humankind as created in His likeness, any nation that abandons God will abandon respect for His creation and fail to recognise the innate value of each human being created in His image. Unfortunately, confusion regarding the origin of humanity is not confined to the secular culture. Even as Christians, we fail to comprehend the value of every human life because we cease to look at each other with awe as breathtaking creatures embodying a touch of the Creator Himself. How can we as believers restore a godly view of human life?  What are some effective tools and strategies to equip Christians and teach the next generation the truth from a biblical worldview?  How can the Church both affirm and help protect human life?

 



DAY 4

Emerging and Progressive Threats to Christian Freedoms: Religious Liberty, Family, and the Decline of Legal Norms
Paul Susman

Christian values were and continue to be not only instrumental but also essential to the development of a free, equitable, and flourishing society where people enjoy the protection of their fundamental human rights. While freedom of expression and freedom of religion have always known some restrictions, the progressive attempt to redraft our societal and moral values has a drastic impact upon their interpretation. Slowly sweeping away the Christian fundamental values from the foundation of our society not only leaves an irreplaceable gap but also facilitates the creation of legal anomalies. Such anomalies include the legislative trends regarding abortion, same-sex marriage and child education. This presentation will focus on reviewing some of these anomalies, including the recent Bodnariu case, and emphasise the importance of resisting them in order to protect our Christian freedoms.
 

Where Do We Go From Here? Painting a Better Picture
Charlie Hoare and Cameron Dobbie

There is no area in the realm of politics and society into which our Christian faith does not speak. Across this Network participants have grappled with considerable issues of our day and sought to understand how we as Christians can best stand for the Lord and help His Church shine as a light for hope and truth. This session will bring together the key points that have emerged from across the four days with opportunities for participants to express their take-home points.

 

 

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