How do you train a diplomat, a businesswoman, or a soldier to be an effective, transformational leader in a religiously pluralistic world?

That’s the question Fletcher’s Religion, Law & Diplomacy (RLD) Initiative tackled on Friday as part of its third annual conference, which brought together leading academics and practitioners in conflict resolution, security operations, international business, and humanitarian action.

During the conference, I was honored to present Sean Callahan (F88), President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), with the Dean’s Medal, which honors people of extraordinary character who have also had significant impact in the international world. Sean exemplifies just this: After graduating from Tufts as an undergrad and continuing on to Fletcher to receive his MALD, he went on to work in Nicaragua during the time of the Sandinista regime, as well as with Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama in India, among his many accomplishments.

I spoke with Sean (in both English and Spanish) about his Fletcher experience, working around the globe, and the mission of CRS:

Friday’s conference and conversation came out of the larger RLD Initiative here at Fletcher, which was launched in 2015 to challenge the assumption that religion should be kept private and excluded from the study and practice of international relations, or only studied in relation to counterterrorism and countering violent extremism. Led by faculty advisor Professor Elizabeth Prodromou, this initiative exemplifies our inclusive approach to international relations, preparing our students with the analytical skills they need to incorporate religious literacy into whatever path they take after graduation.

As always, thank you for reading.

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