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Centre for Geopolitics

Providing historically-grounded solutions to enduring geopolitical problems

The Centre for Geopolitics’ Judd Birdsall has published a new policy report entitled Faith in Numbers: Can We Trust Quantitative Data on Religious Affiliation and Religious Freedom?

Co-authored with Prof Lori Beaman of the University of Ottawa, “Faith in Numbers” encourages readers to think more carefully and critically about the inherently tricky task of quantifying religion affiliation and religious freedom. The authors focus on data published by the Pew Research Center as an illustrative case study, probing how the data is collected and then how it is used by policymakers, activists, and journalists. The report concludes with eight recommendations and reflections for diplomats and other practitioners to bear in mind when they engage with quantitative data on religion.

The report was commissioned by the Transatlantic Policy Network on Religion & Diplomacy (TPNRD), a forum of diplomats with a secretariat based at the Centre for Geopolitics. Birdsall and Beaman presented their report at a virtual meeting of the TPNRD in May 2020.