The Fletcher Initiative on Religion, Law and Diplomacy is headed by Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou and supported by a team of graduate students who organize the annual fall conference and Spring Speaker Series.

Faculty Adviser | Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou

Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou is Visiting Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she directs the Initiative on Religion, Law, and Diplomacy.

She is a non-resident Senior Fellow and Co-Chair of the Working Group on Christians and Religious Pluralism, at the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, and is also non-resident Fellow at The Hedayah International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism.

Prodromou served as Vice Chair and Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (2004-2012) and was a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Religion & Foreign Policy Working Group (2011-2015).

Her research interests focus on geopolitics and religion, with particular focus on the intersection of religion, democracy, and security in the Middle East and Southeastern Europe. Her current research project focus on Orthodox Christianity and geopolitics, as well as on the impact of mixed migration flows on the religion-security nexus in Greece.

Published widely in scholarly and policy journals, she is a frequent commentator and contributor in US and international media. She has been involved in research and advisory work for international and non-governmental organizations on religious freedom and human rights, and she is active in inter-faith and ecumenical peacebuilding initiatives around the world.

She is co-editor and contributor for Eastern Orthodox Christianity and American Higher Education (2016) and Thinking Through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars (2008). She holds a Ph.D. and an S.M. in political science from MIT, an M.A.L.D. in international relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a B.A. in history and international relations from Tufts University. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and is the recipient of a Distinguished Service Award from the Tufts University Alumni Association.

Current Student Leadership

Speaker Chair: François Venne

François is a first-year Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy candidate at The Fletcher School, where he concentrates in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and Political Systems and Theories.

As a proud 2019 College of the Holy Cross alumnus, he earned his B.A. in International Studies and French, minoring in Religious Studies. A dual French-American citizen, he has experience living, working and studying in Europe, having spent a full year abroad in Strasbourg, France (2017-2018). Particularly interested in transatlantic affairs, François is especially drawn to religion’s role in shaping European states’ identities and how it subsequently informs domestic policies and U.S.-European relations. Following his studies at Fletcher he hopes to pursue a career in the Foreign Service.

Logistics Co-Chair: Kara Sparling

Kara Sparling is first year Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy student at the Fletcher School focusing on International Development.  Previously, she worked at for an implementing partner organization in Washington, DC and served with the Peace Corps in Panama as an Education and Youth Development Volunteer.  Kara received her undergraduate degree from American University with a dual Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and International Studies. She worked in technical theater management for 5 years before her Peace Corps service. Sparling is originally from Long Island, New York and is an avid reader who loves drinking tea, traveling, and learning new languages.


Logistics Co-Chair: Christopher Pumford

Christopher Pumford is a first-year Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy candidate at The Fletcher School, studying negotiation and conflict resolution and international organizations. A recent graduate of the University of Michigan, Christopher became interested in the role of religion and peacebuilding while interning at the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy in Washington, DC. He hopes to work on alternative reconciliation strategies in the Middle East after completing graduate school. Aside from his academic engagements, Christopher spent two years in Ontario as a volunteer missionary and also performed with the University of Michigan’s drumline.