International Center for Religion and Democracy
Senior Vice President for Preventive Diplomacy
Azhar Hussain is the Senior Vice President for Preventive Diplomacy at the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy (ICRD). A native of Pakistan, he holds a Masters Degree in International/Intercultural Management from the School of International Training in Vermont. Mr. Hussain has been providing educational and intercultural consulting services for numerous multi-national organizations for the past ten years, and has a well-established history of successful training and development initiatives throughout the world, including in India, Pakistan, Britain, the United States, and Mexico. He has served as Senior Consultant to the Government of Mexico’s Ministry of Education and as an adjunct professor at the Tecnológico de Monterrey University in Mexico, where he taught courses on international relations and history and served as a teacher trainer for various university faculty. More recently, Mr. Hussain held the position of Senior Consultant on International Education and Development at the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
Mr. Hussain has delivered presentations at conferences around the world, including at the Council on Foreign Relations; the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum at Johns Hopkins University; Georgetown University; the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination’s inaugural colloquium on Religion, Diplomacy, and International Relations in Vienna; the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs conference on “Transforming Conflicts with Religious Dimensions: Methodologies and Practical Experiences”, and the UN Alliance of Civilizations in Istanbul. He was keynote speaker for the Forum 2000 Conference on Freedom and Responsibility’s Interfaith Roundtable on Religion and Politics in Prague. He has also testified before the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He presents to foreign guests of the US State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Program, and instructed US Foreign Service Officers at the US Foreign Service Institute. Mr. Hussain chaired the Inter-Cultural Seminar on Peace, Tolerance, and Coexistence for the Committee on Cultural Awareness in New Jersey and collaborated with the United States Institute of Peace on a peace education training program for Pakistani religious leaders.
Mr. Hussain currently heads ICRD’s Pakistan Madrasa Project, working in partnership with various Pakistani civic and religious organizations. The focus of this project is to: (1) encourage expansion of the madrasa curriculums to include the scientific and social disciplines, with a special emphasis on religious tolerance and human rights (particularly women’s rights), (2) encourage the adoption of pedagogical techniques that can promote critical thinking skills among the students, (3) teach conflict resolution and dialogue facilitation skills, and (4) equip newly-trained teachers with the skills to train other previously uninvolved madrasa leaders in the above areas. The programs Mr. Hussain has trained over 2500 madrasa leaders throughout Pakistan to date. He has also pioneered initiatives to engage religious and political leaders in Afghanistan. Mr. Hussain was named the recipient of the 2006 Peacemakers in Action Award by the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York.
Contributor to the Center for Strategic and International Studies Report FATA—A Most Dangerous Place: Meeting the Challenge of Militancy and Terror in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan
co-author of Madrasa Enhancement and Global Security: A Model for Faith-based Engagement
Interviewed on Al-Jazeera, CNN, Christiane Amanpour, Generation Islam