2024 Speakers

Sam Brownback served as Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom from February 2018 to January 2021. He served as Governor of Kansas from 2011 to 2018. Prior to that he represented his home state in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. While a member of the Senate, he worked actively on the issue of religious freedom in multiple countries and was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Prior to his public service, Ambassador Brownback practiced law and taught agricultural law at Kansas State University. He earned a B.S. from Kansas State University and a J.D. from the University of Kansas.

Ambassador Brownback currently serves as co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Summit and is a Senior Fellow at Global Christian Relief. He is also chairman of the National Committee for Religious Freedom. He and his wife Mary have five children and nine grandchildren.

Sam Brownback

IRF Summit 2024 Co-Chair

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett serves as President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, established in 2008 to continue the legacy of her father, the late Congressman Tom Lantos. Under her leadership, The Lantos Foundation has rapidly become a distinguished and respected voice on key human rights concerns. Dr. Lantos Swett is the former Chair and Vice-Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and teaches Human Rights and American Foreign Policy at Tufts University. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Board of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) and the Budapest based Tom Lantos Institute.

Dr. Lantos Swett also serves on the Advisory Board of UN Watch, the annual Anne Frank Award and Lecture, and The Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership, and Public Policy. Lantos Swett earned a Political Science degree from Yale University at the age of 18, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and a PhD in History from The University of Southern Denmark.

Katrina Lantos Swett

IRF Summit 2024 Co-Chair

Hussain serves as principal advisor to the Secretary and advisor to the President on religious freedom conditions and policy. He leads the Department’s efforts to monitor religious freedom abuses, persecution, and discrimination worldwide. He also oversees policies and programs to address these concerns and works to build diverse and dynamic partnerships with the broadest range of civil society, with equitable and meaningful inclusion of faith actors globally. Prior to this appointment, Hussain was Director at the National Security Council’s Partnerships and Global Engagement Directorate. From 2015 to 2021, he served as Senior Counsel at the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. President Obama appointed Hussain to serve as his Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), U.S. Special Envoy for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, and Deputy Associate White House Counsel. In his roles as envoy, Hussain advised on foreign policy issues and worked with multilateral organizations to expand partnerships in education, entrepreneurship, health, international security, science and technology, and other areas. He also spearheaded efforts on countering antisemitism and protecting Christians and other religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries. Hussain has worked on the House Judiciary Committee, has served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Damon Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and was an associate counsel to the Obama-Biden Transition Project. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal and Master’s degrees in Public Administration and Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. Hussain holds Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Philosophy from UNC – Chapel Hill. He has also taught as adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. A Texas native, Hussain is an avid basketball fan and youth sports coach.

Rashad Hussain

Ambassador at Large, Office of International Religious Freedom

Speaker Mike Johnson is the Speaker of the House of Representatives and a Republican member of Congress proudly serving Louisiana’s Fourth District. On October 25, 2023, he was elected unanimously by by his House Republican colleagues to serve as the 56th Speaker of the House. As a Member of Congress, he represents the nearly 760,000 residents of 16 parishes in the northwest and western regions of the state. Mike was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on December 10, 2016, by the largest margin of victory in his region in more than 50 years and is currently serving his fourth term in Congress.


Mike Johnson

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Michael R. Pence was born in Columbus, Indiana, on June 7, 1959, one of six children born to Edward and Nancy Pence. As a young boy he had a front row seat to the American Dream. After his grandfather immigrated to the United States when he was 17, his family settled in the Midwest. The future Vice President watched his Mom and Dad build everything that matters—a family, a business, and a good name. Sitting at the feet of his mother and his father, who started a successful convenience store business in their small Indiana town, he was raised to believe in the importance of hard work, faith, and family.

Vice President Pence set off for Hanover College, earning his bachelor’s degree in history in 1981. While there, he renewed his Christian faith which remains the driving force in his life. He later attended Indiana University School of Law and met the love of his life, Second Lady Karen Pence.

After graduating, Vice President Pence practiced law, led the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, and began hosting The Mike Pence Show, a syndicated talk radio show and a weekly television public affairs program in Indiana. Along the way he became the proud father to three children, Michael, Charlotte, and Audrey.

Growing up in Indiana, surrounded by good, hardworking Hoosiers, Vice President Pence always knew that he needed to give back to the state and the country that had given him so much. In 2000, he launched a successful bid for his local congressional seat, entering the United States House of Representatives at the age of 40.

The people of East-Central Indiana elected Vice President Pence six times to represent them in Congress. On Capitol Hill he established himself as a champion of limited government, fiscal responsibility, economic development, educational opportunity, and the U.S. Constitution. His colleagues quickly recognized his leadership ability and unanimously elected him to serve as Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee and House Republican Conference Chairman. In this role, the Vice President helped make government smaller and more effective, reduce spending, and return power to state and local governments.

In 2013, Vice President Pence left the nation’s capital when Hoosiers elected him the 50th Governor of Indiana. He brought the same limited government and low tax philosophy to the Indiana Statehouse. As Governor, he enacted the largest income tax cut in Indiana history, lowering individual income tax rates, the business personal property tax, and the corporate income tax in order to strengthen the State’s competitive edge and attract new investment and good-paying jobs. Due to his relentless focus on jobs, the state’s unemployment rate fell by half during his four years in office, and at the end of his term, more Hoosiers were working than at any point in the state’s 200-year history.

As Governor of Indiana, Vice President Pence increased school funding, expanded school choice, and created the first state-funded Pre-K plan in Indiana history. He made career and technical education a priority in every high school. Under Vice President Pence’s leadership, Indiana, known as “The Crossroads of America,” invested more than $800 million in new money for roads and bridges across the state. Despite the record tax cuts and new investments in roads and schools, the state remained fiscally responsible, as the Vice President worked with members of the Indiana General Assembly to pass two honestly balanced budgets that left the state with strong reserves and AAA credit ratings that were the envy of the nation.

It was Indiana’s success story, Vice President Pence’s record of legislative and executive experience, and his strong family values that prompted President Donald Trump to select Mike Pence as his running mate in July 2016. The American people elected President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence on November 8, 2016. President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence entered office on January 20, 2017.

In February 2021, Vice President Mike Pence joined the Heritage Foundation as a distinguished visiting fellow. The Heritage Foundation helped shape Vice President Mike Pence’s conservative philosophy for decades and played a pivotal role advancing conservative policies throughout the Trump Administration. Vice President Pence also joined Young America’s Foundation as the Ronald Reagan Presidential Scholar. Long before Mike Pence became Vice President to President Donald Trump, the vision and leadership of Ronald Reagan inspired his youth.

Vice President Mike Pence remains grateful for the grace of God, the love and support of his family, and the blessings of liberty that are every American’s birthright.

Mike Pence

48th Vice President of the United States

Michael J. Abramowitz is the president of Freedom House, a non-partisan voice dedicated to supporting democracy. There, he oversees a unique combination of analysis, advocacy, and direct support to frontline defenders of freedom, especially those working in closed authoritarian societies. He previously directed the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Levine Institute for Holocaust Education, prior to which he led the museum’s genocide prevention efforts. He spent the first 24 years of his career at The Washington Post, where he was national editor and then White House correspondent. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he was formally a Marshall Memorial fellow at the German Marshall Fund and media fellow at the Hoover Institution. A graduate of Harvard College, Michael is also a board member of the National Security Archive, a member of the Human Freedom Advisory Council for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and a member of the Advisory Council of the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue.

Michael Abramowitz

President, Freedom House

James Lankford served four years in the US House of Representatives for central Oklahoma, until he was overwhelmingly elected to the US Senate in 2014. As Ranking Member of the Government Operations and Border Management Subcommittee, which covers border security, management, and operations; regulatory reform; and the federal workforce. James was recognized as the Senate’s top-ranked “Taxpayers Friend” by the National Taxpayers Union for his strong record in support of lower taxes, limited government, and economic freedom.

He has also been recognized by many other organizations for his work toward increased personal freedom, economic growth, and religious liberty. James lives in Oklahoma City with his wife Cindy. They have been married more than 30 years and have two daughters, Hannah and Jordan. He enjoys spending time with his family, working in his yard, and reading.

James Lankford

Senator from Oklahoma; IRF Summit Honorary Senate Co-Chair

Congresswoman Young Kim is proud to represent California’s 40th District, which includes parts of Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the House of Representatives, Young serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee – where she serves as Chairwoman of the Indo-Pacific Subcommittee and as a member of the Africa Subcommittee – and on the House Financial Services Committee – where she serves as Vice Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions and as a member of the Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy Subcommittee.

Young also serves as co-chair of the Women in STEM Caucus, the Financial Literacy and Wealth Creation Caucus, and the Maternity Care Caucus. Young and her husband Charles live in Anaheim Hills in CA-40 and are the proud parents of Christine, Kelly, Alvin and Hannah and grandparents of Mia and Caleb.

Young Kim

Congresswoman for California’s 40th District; IRF Summit Honorary Congressional Co-Chair

First sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz previously served in the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Senate. Known for vigorously defending her progressive values, the Congresswoman has also demonstrated her ability to pass meaningful legislation in a bipartisan fashion. She teamed up with former Republican Senator Arlen Specter to write a resolution – passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed by President Bush – to declare May as Jewish American Heritage Month in an effort to reduce anti-Semitism, hate, and bigotry.

Currently Wasserman Schultz serves as a Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee. Now in the 118th Congress, Wasserman Schultz holds a leadership role as a Co-Chair of the Steering and Policy Committee responsible for recommending candidates for election as Chair or Ranking Member of House Committees, nominating Democratic Members for their House committee assignments, and coordinating with the Democratic Leader in setting the Caucus policy agenda.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Congresswoman for Florida’s 25th District; IRF Summit Honorary Congressional Co-Chair

Representative Chris Smith is a senior member of the U.S. Congress and serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and as Chair of the House Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee.

Smith also serves as Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. He has previously served as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

A prolific lawmaker, Rep. Smith ranks first among all 435 Members of the House in number of laws authored, including dozens of laws on foreign policy and human rights and four laws specifically promoting religious freedom both in Iraq and Syriaand globally (the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act).

Earlier this month, Smith introduced legislation to reauthorize the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom—which is set to expire later this year—through September 2026.

Also this Congress, Smith has proposed several bills to secure religious freedom across the world, including legislation imposing robust economic sanctions in response to the Nicaraguan government’s suppression of religious freedom and its egregious abuses against prisoners of conscience; legislation aimed at averting further atrocities and preventing ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh; and a resolution calling for the redesignation of Nigeria as a country that violates religious freedom, just to name a few.

Smith, who has chaired more than 615 hearings on international policy including religious freedom, is an expert in the field. Among his many firsts, Smith chaired the first hearing in the House on antisemitism and has chaired 14 additional hearings to expose and combat antisemitism to date. He is the author of the law that created the Office to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism at the U.S State Department, as well as the law that established ambassadorial-level leadership of the fight against antisemitism abroad.

Smith is renowned for his legislative efforts in additional human rights programs including combating human trafficking. He is the author of the Nation’s landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000—the comprehensive, historic law designed to prevent modern-day slavery, protect victims, and enhance civil and criminal penalties against traffickers both within the United States and around the world. He has authored four additional anti-trafficking laws; including International Megan’s Law¬to establish a system of notification to protect children from convicted pedophiles who may seek to travel to abuse children—which has resulted in over 8,350 denials of international travel by known pedophiles to date.

Rep. Smith twice chaired the Veterans’ Committee and has authored more than a dozen laws improving educational, homeless, healthcare and other services for veterans—including hisHomeless Veterans Comprehensive Assistance Act, which for the first time created a nationalplan to address homelessness among our Nation’s heroes, and his Veterans Education and Benefits Expansion Act to nearly double education benefits for veterans.

Rep. Smith was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980 and serves residents of the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. He is a lifelong New Jersey resident and earned a degree in Business Administration at the College of New Jersey. He has been married to his wife Marie for 46 years.

Chris Smith

Congressman for New Jersey’s 4th District

On 1 August 2022, Ms. Nazila Ghanea assumed her mandate as Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. She is Professor of International Human Rights Law and Director of the MSc in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford. Her academic work has often connected with multilateral practice in international human rights law. She has contributed actively to networks interested in freedom of religion or belief and its interrelationship with other human rights and has advised states and other stakeholders. She has researched and published widely in international human rights law and served as consultant to numerous agencies.

Nazila Ghanea

Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Brett Scharffs is the Rex E. Lee Chair and Professor of Law at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, and Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. His teaching and scholarly interests include law and religion, legal reasoning and rhetoric, philosophy of law, and legislation and regulation.


Professor Scharffs is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he received a BSBA in international business and an MA in philosophy. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he earned a BPhil in philosophy. He received his JD from Yale Law School, where he was Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal.


Professor Scharffs was a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, and worked as a legal assistant at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague. Before teaching at BYU, he worked as an attorney for the New York law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell. He has previously taught at Yale University and the George Washington University Law School. For the past ten years he has been a visiting Professor at Central European University in Budapest, and for the past seven years he has helped organize a Certificate Training Program on Religion and the Rule of Law in Beijing in partnership with Peking University Law School’s Center for Administrative and Constitutional Law. He also co-organizes similar programs in Vietnam and Myanmar. He has also been working to develop a masters-level course on Shari’a and Human Rights with two universities in Indonesia. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Adelaide School of Law in Australia (2012) and Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan (2015).


In his eighteen year academic career, Professor Scharffs has written more than 100 articles and book chapters, and has made over 300 scholarly presentations in 30 countries. His articles include The Role of Humility in Exercising Practical Wisdom (U.C. Davis Law Review), Adjudication and the Problems of Incommensurability (William and Mary Law Review), Law as Craft (Vanderbilt Law Review), and The Character of Legal Reasoning (Washington and Lee Law Review). He is currently finishing work on a book about legal reasoning and rhetoric.


His field-creating casebook, LAW AND RELIGION: NATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES, published by Aspen Press / Wolters Kluer (co-authored with his BYU Law School colleague W. Cole Durham, Jr.), has been translated into Chinese and Vietnamese, and translations are underway into Arabic, Burmese, Indonesian and Turkish. Second editions of the English and Chinese versions are scheduled in 2016.


He has served as Chair of the Law and Religion Section of the Association of American Law Schools, and is immediate past Chair of the Law and Interpretation Section of the AALS. He is on the editorial board of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion and the Advisory Board of the Research Unit for the Study of Society, Law and Religion at the University of Adelaide.


He is married to Deirdre Mason Crane Scharffs, and has three children, Elliot, Sophelia, and Ella. He enjoys golf, skiing, and mountain biking with family and friends.

Brett Scharffs

Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies, BYU Law

Frederick Davie is Senior Strategic Advisor at Union Theological Seminary, where he was Executive Vice President for a decade, and is a Senior Fellow at Interfaith America. Mr Davie has extensive  program and executive management experience at the intersection of faith and public policy. He has held senior-level roles in philanthropic and social and economic justice organizations, including The Ford Foundation and the Arcus Foundation. In June 2020, US Senator Charles Schumer appointed him to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan commission dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief or no belief abroad. Mr. Davie is USCIRF’s vice chair. New York Governor Kathy Hochul appointed Mr. Davie to the state Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, where he serves as Chair. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Davie to the inaugural White House Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Mr. Davie has traveled extensively throughout the world for both business and leisure. He is a minister in the Presbytery of New York City. He serves on the boards of Interfaith Center of NY, Climate Reality, and Greensboro College. Mr. Davie holds a B.A. in Political Science from Greensboro College; and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School.

Frederick Davie

Vice Chair, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

Lise Grande is the president and CEO of the U.S. Institute of Peace, an independent, nonpartisan, federally funded institute charged with the mission to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict around the world. She has 25 years of continuous overseas experience leading, managing, and coordinating complex operations for the United Nations.

Grande has held leadership positions in humanitarian, stabilization, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and development operations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Caucasus. Grande has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a master’s from the New School for Social Research, and she is the subject of a documentary on state-building in South Sudan. She assumed her role as president and CEO of USIP on December 1, 2020.

Lise Grande

President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

Antonia Ferrier serves as Vice President for External Affairs at the International Republican Institute (IRI), a non-partisan nonprofit dedicated to spreading democracy worldwide.  She leads the organization’s strategic external planning and engagement, including communications, advocacy, partnerships, fundraising and media relations.

Having built a reputation as a well-respected strategist and communications professional, Antonia has over twenty years of experience providing strategic counsel to prominent elected officials, Fortune 50 companies, trade associations and non-profits.

Antonia spent nearly 15 years on Capitol Hill where she worked on the front lines of some of the most significant policy and legislative debates of the last two decades.  She spearheaded strategic planning and communications on a wide range of issues, including tax, trade, and health policy for some of the most senior members of the House and Senate, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and former House Speaker John Boehner.

After leaving Capitol Hill, Antonia provided strategic counsel to and developed public affairs campaigns for Fortune 50 companies, trade associations and non-profits across multiple industries, including health care, energy, and financial services.

Antonia served as a Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics, has participated in international delegations overseas, and has appeared in numerous news outlets, including The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Associated PressBBCNPRCNNFox, and MSNBC, among others.

Born in Bristol, England and raised in Lexington, Massachusetts, Antonia received a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the American University in Washington, DC where she lives today.

Antonia Ferrier

Vice President for External Affairs, International Republican Institute

Marisol Nichols, actress & humanitarian, has been working in film and television since her breakout role in Vegas Vacation.  On the small screen Marisol starred as a series regular seven times for primetime television, including Fox’s 24 and most recently as Hermione Lodge on Warner Bros highly rated, RIVERDALE. 


On the big screen Marisol next project is the romantic comedy; WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER OR FALL for Paramount Pictures due out in 2024.  Marisol can also be seen in Hulu’s THE VALET and Lions Gate’s SPIRAL opposite Sam Jackson and Chris Rock.  


On the humanitarian front, in 2009, Marisol was introduced to human rights advocacy when she narrated The Story of Human Rights—an educational film produced by the Church of Scientology which answers the question, “What are human rights?” and urges the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at all levels of society.


Educating others on human rights and combatting violations isn’t just something she advocates for—Marisol lives it.  Marie Claire published a seven-page feature article on her work with law enforcement as a deputized informant and undercover operative in official sting operations, breaking up and exposing trafficking rings. 


Aside from acting and undercover work, Marisol founded the non-profit, Foundation For A Slavery Free World and hosts the Marisol Nichols Podcast which follows her real-life exploits against human trafficking, showing just how far she will go to do something about this horrific form of modern day slavery, and to uphold human rights of all forms, including freedom of religion, thought and conscience as expounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Marisol Nichols


Knox Thames is an international human rights lawyer, advocate, and author who has dedicated his career to promoting human rights, defending religious minorities, and combatting persecution. Known for his nonpartisan approach to advocacy, both the Obama and Trump administrations appointed Knox as the Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South / Central Asia at the State Department. The first to serve in this special envoy role, he received a civil service appointment to lead State Department efforts to support religious minorities in these regions.

In April 2023, Knox joined Pepperdine University as a Senior Fellow, directing the new Program on Global Faith and Inclusive Societies from the Washington DC campus. In addition, since 2020, he has worked with the United States Institute of Peace as a non-resident Senior Visiting Expert.

Knox Thames

Senior Visiting Expert, U.S. Institute of Peace

Dr. Gloria Samdi-Puldu is the President of the LEAH Foundation, a Faith-Based Organization that advocates for the Religious Freedom of Women and Girls’ in Africa and the Global Director of Give Her Voice. 

As a Religious Freedom Champion, she is committed to raising awareness on religious freedom violations in Africa and through the LEAH Foundation, shesupports Girl-Child Education by Sponsoring Girls to get Education as well as provides Women Empowerment Programs to help empower in Africa.

Dr. Gloria, aside from being a strong voice for the persecuted Church in Nigeria is also a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Political Science, University of Jos. Nigeria. 

She continues to advocate for the plight of Leah Sharibu, a young Christian girl abducted by Boko Haram (ISWAP) in February 2018. Leah still remains in captivity for five years plus as a Prisoner of Conscience for boldly refusing to renounce her Christian Faith.

Dr. Gloria co-authored the book “Leah, Hero For Jesus” which tells the story of Leah Sharibu.

Gloria Puldu

President, LEAH Foundation

Arfa Khanum is Senior Editor at The Wire, India’s largest independent digital news website, where she leads the multimedia team. She has previously worked with NDTV, Rajya Sabha TV and Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s TV show, ‘Satyamev Jayate.’ She has spent two decades in the broadcast news sector covering politics, policy and governance issues with a special focus on social justice. At The Wire, she hosts widely viewed video shows, primarily devoted to the issues of people living on the margins of Indian democracy that are largely ignored by the big media.

Arfa is a recipient of the Red Ink Award for Excellence in Journalism and the Chameli Devi Jain Award for an Outstanding Woman Journalist–for her reporting from Kashmir despite the Indian government’s lockdown on communication following its 2019 decision to strip the state of its autonomy. She was a Media Ambassadors Fellow at the Robert Bosch Foundation in Germany(2017) and East West Centre’s Senior Journalists Seminar Fellow (2018). She has a PhD and was the second-ever elected woman vice president of Aligarh Muslim University’s alumni association. She is an ‘Advisor in Residence’ for the Led By Foundation, a leadership program for young Indian Muslim women incubated at Harvard’s Centre for Public Leadership.

Arfa Khanum Sherwani

Senior Editor, The Wire

Ambassador Nathan A. Sales is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative and Middle East Programs, focusing on counterterrorism, security, democracy and the rule of law, and human rights.

From 2017 to 2021, Sales served at the US Department of State as under secretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights (acting). He oversaw nine bureaus and offices led by Senate-confirmed principals, with 1,300 employees and a combined foreign assistance budget of more than $5 billion annually, and the mission of preventing and countering threats to civilian security, including terrorism, mass atrocities, and violations of human rights and the rule of law.

Concurrently, Sales served as ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism. After being nominated by the president and unanimously confirmed by the US Senate, he was sworn in on August 10, 2017. He served as the principal adviser to the secretary of state on international counterterrorism matters, and led the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau, a 200-person team with an annual foreign assistance budget of $400 million. He was also the special presidential envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, leading US relations with the 83-member coalition and efforts to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS in the Middle East and around the world.

Nathan Sales

Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council

Hurunnessa Fariad is the Director of Outreach for Multi-Faith Neighbor’s Network where she works to build mutual trust and respect among clerics through civic engagement, authentic relationships, and honest dialogue. Ms. Fariad is intentional in making sure women’s voices are heard and amplified. Ms. Fariad serves as the Secretary of the Board of Directors at Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Member of the Board of Directors for Women for Afghan Women, and involved with many other faith-based organizations. Ms. Fariad is the founder & Music Director of America’s first  Masjid Youth Choir, The ADAMS BEAT Choir. Ms. Fariad is the founder and co-host of the Sister Act Podcast along with co-hosts Dr. Sabrina Dent and Rabbi Susan Shankman. Conversations centered around shame, stigma, rights and social justice issues and how our faiths address these topics. Ms. Fariad is a former child refugee from Afghanistan and currently resides in Sterling, Virginia with her 4 daughters.

Hurunnessa Fariad

Director of Outreach, Multifaith Neighbor’s Network

Robert Jenkins serves as Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau for Conflict Prevention and Stabilization (CPS). A career member of the Senior Executive Service, Mr. Jenkins was previously a Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) and the Director of USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI).

Prior to joining USAID in 1998, Mr. Jenkins designed and implemented emergency relief and recovery programs with World Vision International in southern Sudan and Sierra Leone. As a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, he worked under Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town, South Africa, as a liaison between the Anglican Church’s peace and justice office and township communities.

A native of California, Mr. Jenkins holds a B.A. in History and Government from Bowdoin College.

Robert Jenkins

Assistant to the Administrator, USAID

Anthony J. Limberakis, MD, an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1987 and a member of the Archon National Council, the governing board of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1988, has served as National Commander of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1998. A 1975 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (BA, MA) and 1978 graduate of Duke University School of Medicine, he is a practicing radiologist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a member of the radiology faculty of the Thomas Jefferson University Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

To be invested as an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the highest honor a layman may achieve in the Orthodox Christian Church. Dr. Limberakis was invested as an Archon on March 8, 1987 and conferred with the offikion Aktouarios. Then on Sunday, September 3, 2023 at the Holy Church of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra, the Metropolitan Church in Pyrgos, Greece, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew elevated Dr. Limberakis to the offikion Archon Megas (Grand) Aktouarios. In his patriarchal letter to Dr. Limberakis, His All-Holiness explained that this honor was bestowed in view of the National Commander’s “twenty-five years of service and devotion to the Great Church of Christ.”

Anthony J. Limberakis

National Commander, Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Payam Akhavan, LLB (Osgoode) LLM SJD (Harvard) OOnt FRSC, is the inaugural holder of the Massey Chair in Human Rights. Professor Akhavan is also Senior Fellow at Massey College, Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, Associate Member of the Institut de droit international, and Special Advisor on Genocide to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. He was previously Full Professor at McGill University Faculty of Law (2005-20), Distinguished Visitor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, with other appointments at Yale Law School, Leiden University, Oxford University, Université Paris Nanterre, and Sciences Po École de Droit.  

He has published extensively on human rights and international criminal law in leading academic journals and is on the Editorial Review Board of Human Rights Quarterly. In 2017 he delivered the CBC Massey Lectures In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey. The companion book became the top non-fiction bestseller in Canada and the subject of a CBC documentary film.

Professor Akhavan was the first Legal Advisor to the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (1994-2000) at The Hague. He has also served with the UN investigating atrocities in conflict zones – including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Timor Leste – and defended genocide survivors throughout the world – including the Bahá’ís of Iran, the Yazidi of Iraq, and Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.  

He has served as counsel and advocate in notable cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Supreme Court of Canada, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He also serves as Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Global Affairs of Canada and member of the Advisory Panel on the Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 Tragedy, Special Advisor to the Prosecutor-General of Ukraine on international crimes arising from the 2022 Russian invasion, Counsel to the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law, Honourary Canadian Co-Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, and Co-Founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre. He is recipient of the 2021 Human Rights Award of the Law Society of Ontario and his human rights work has been featured in the New York TimesBBC HARDtalk, CBC Ideas, Maclean’sTV Ontario, and other media. 

Payam Akhavan

Massey Chair in Human Rights

As Principal and Lead Consultant at Sabatier Consulting, for 30 years she has led a global consulting consortium of professionals experienced in publishing and communications. Equipped with industry knowledge, business savvy and creative spirit, she and her team have completed more than 300 assignments for nonprofits, associations, companies and the U.S. government.


In addition to consulting, Sabatier serves as the Director of Communications for 21Wilberforce where she oversees external communications and the International Religious Freedom Congressional Scorecard.


Sabatier is a coauthor of both the 20th and 25th Anniversary Retrospectives of the International Religious Freedom Act.


In 2021, she co-founded FoRB Women’s Alliance, a global accelerator focused on informing and connecting individuals, organizations, faith communities and networks across regions countries and sectors working on issues relevant to women and FoRB.

Lou Ann Sabatier

Co-founder, FoRB Women’s Alliance

Siranush Sargsyan is a refugee journalist from Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh.

She has been covering covering human rights, politics, and women in conflict and post-conflict environments in Nagorno-Karabakh. Her insightful reporting has been featured in renowned outlets such as BBC, New Lines Magazine,  AP, Reuters, Newsweek, Open Democracy, IWPR, The Armenian Weekly, Providence,

Earlier in her career, she worked as a Chief Specialist in the field of Education and political science on the standing committee for Education, Science, Culture, Youth and Sport in Artsakh/ Nagorno-Karabakh’s parliament for the last decade. From 2006 to 2009, Siranush worked as an expert in History at the National Institute of Education in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh. During the same period, Siranush Sargsyan also worked as a teacher of History at the school in the village of Machkalashen in Martuni, Nagorno-Karabakh.


Siranush Sargsyan holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the Faculty of History at Artsakh State University in Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabakh and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the Public Administration Academy in Yerevan, Armenia. Additionally, she completed an internship at the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy in Brussels, Belgium. Currently, she is a Tavityan scholar at The Fletcher school of Law and Diplomacy.

Siranush Sargsyan

Freelance Journalist

David Curry

President and CEO, Global Christian Relief

Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook a U.S. presidential advisor, pastor, theologian, author, activist, and academic who served as the first African-American female and faith leader to hold the position of the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Responsible for religious freedom globally, and having all 199 countries in her portfolio, she integrated religious freedom into the foreign policy and national security discussions and has continued to work to empower women and business leaders around the world.

She served as the faith advisor to two U.S. Presidents, three Cabinet members, and other leaders. President Bill Clinton appointed her as the only faith advisor to the historic “President’s Initiative on Race.” She became well known for the standing room only Lunch Hour of Power, and Wonderful Wall Street Wednesdays, televised mid-week services and seminars for the business community. The New York Times described her as “Oprah and Billy Graham rolled up into one.”

Amb. Cook is the founder and former senior pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship and former senior pastor of the Mariners’ Temple Baptist Church, the oldest American Baptist Church in New York City.

Suzan Johnson Cook

Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (former)

Dr. Michael Jenkins is President of the Universal Peace Federation International (UPF) and President of The Washington Times Foundation. He is also Chairman of The Washington Times Holdings, the LLC that owns The Times’ news organization.


As President of the non-profit NGO, the Universal Peace Federation International, Dr. Jenkins has a decades-long involvement in organizing peace initiatives all over the world, particularly in Northeast Asia and the Middle East. He was a key architect of the Middle East Peace Initiative engaging in ongoing dialogue with faith leaders and key political stake holders in the Middle East, conducting conferences in Ramallah and the Gaza strip as well as in Beruit, Amman, Jordan and Jerusalem. He has organized several well-received fact-finding trips of high-profile key American political and religious leaders to Korea and Japan that have met with the legislative, executive, intelligence and military leadership of those countries.

He currently serves as global coordinator of UPF’s International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), a worldwide dialogue of incumbent and former parliamentarians on peacebuilding efforts ongoing in many nations.

Dr. Michael Jenkins

President, Universal Peace Federation International

Hannah Rose Thomas is a British artist and an UNESCO PhD Scholar at the University of Glasgow. She has previously organized art projects for Syrian refugees in Jordan; Yazidi women who escaped ISIS captivity in Iraqi Kurdistan; Rohingya refugees in Bangladeshi camps and Nigerian women survivors of Boko Haram. Her paintings of displaced women are a testament to their strength and dignity. These have been exhibited at prestigious places including the UK Houses of Parliament, European Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Lambeth Palace, Westminster Abbey, the International Peace Institute in New York and The Saatchi Gallery. Her exhibition “Tears of Gold” was featured in the virtual exhibition for the UN’s Official 75th Anniversary, “The Future is Unwritten: Artists for Tomorrow.” Hannah was selected for the Forbes 30 Under 30 2019 Art & Culture; shortlisted for the Women of the Future Award 2020 and selected for British Vogue Future Visionaries 2022.

Hannah Rose Thomas


Benedict Rogers is a human rights activist and writer specialising in Asia, particularly China, Hong Kong, Burma/Myanmar and North Korea. He is the co-founder and Chief Executive of Hong Kong Watch, co-founder and Deputy Chair of the UK Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, a member of the advisory group of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), an advisor to the Stop Uyghur Genocide Campaign, and has served on the boards of several other charities.


From 1994-2023, Ben was associated with Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) in various capacities, including as a board member and as a senior advocate, working as East Asia Team Leader (overseeing the organisation’s work in East and South-East Asia and specialising in Myanmar/Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea and China), South Asia Advocacy Officer (focused on Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) and most recently from 2020-2023 as Senior Analyst for East Asia.


He is the author of seven books, including The China Nexus: Thirty Years In and Around the Chinese Communist Party’s Tyranny (Optimum Publishing International, October 2022).


Mr Rogers is a regular contributor to international media, including The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph, The Spectator, Foreign Policy and The Diplomat, has testified previously before the US Congress, the European Parliament and the UK Parliament and is a regular speaker at conferences and in the media around the world. He is the recipient of the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit’s award for Champion of Effective Advocacy, and the International Catholic Legislators Network (ICLN)’s St Thomas More Award for advocacy for freedom of religion or belief.



Benedict Rogers

Chief Executive, Hong Kong Watch

From 2019, Fr Rajan is working as a residential priest in the capital city of Chennai in Our Lady of Good Health Shrine, Besant Nagar, Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore protecting and promoting human rights, minority interests and environment. He also practices as a lawyer in the Madras High Court.

He has authored several books on human rights, and has written articles on religion and community issues in the diocesan and regional Catholic Magazines. Recently, his article on Indian Constitution  titled as “WE, THE PEOPLE “ was published in THE NEW LEADER,  a renowned Catholic Magazine in Tamilnadu Catholic Church.

As Legal adviser to various Christian Organizations, he is promoting Christian and democratic values in the church and in the civil society. Currently, he is working with various movements to promote Social Harmony, Justice and Peace in the Church. To name a few: Social Harmony Federation, People First Movement, Tamilnadu Forum For Unity, Indian Unity Movement etc. To protect the rights of the minorities and Environmental rights, he has launched a movement called ADVOCATES FORUM FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE. Throughout Tamilnadu, he gives training for religious, seminarians and laity on SYNODAL CHURCH.

Fr. M. Christu Rajamony

Our Lady of Good Health Shrine, Besant Nagar, Archdiocese of Madras

Political scientist, international consultant and researcher. International Director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom. Executive Director of the Foundation Platform for Social Transformation. Founder and scholar-at-large of the Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America. Associate Professor of International Relations and Head of the Chair of Humanities at the Latin American University of Science and Technology (Costa Rica). Adjunct Professor of International Negotiation and Research Methods at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (UNESCO). Previously, he worked for the Interamerican Center for Social Security Studies, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Open Doors International, the European Office of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress in Costa Rica, the Economic and Social Council of the Netherlands, and the Strategic Research Program of Bolivia. PhD in Political Philosophy from VU University Amsterdam. Master in Political Science from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris (Sciences Po) and Research Master in Comparative Politics specializing in Latin America from the same institution. Excellence Scholarship from the French Government (2005-2010). Visiting scholar at the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Bar-Ilan University (Israel) and Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford (UK). As a Mexican-Dutch author, he has published on freedom of religion, religion and politics, social dialogue, parliamentary reform and democracy assistance. He has testified in the parliaments of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Mexico, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Dennis Petri

International Director,International Institute for Religious Freedom

Binalakshmi “Bina” Nepram is the senior adviser on Indigenous issues for the religion and inclusive societies team at USIP.

Nepram joined USIP after spending time as a fellow at the Carr Centre for Human Rights, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Governance and at Harvard’s Asia Centre, where she worked on documenting Indigenous nations and aspects of gender and peacebuilding with Indigenous women peacebuilders. Prior to joining Harvard University, Nepram also worked at Connecticut College, where she taught a course called “Women, War and Peace.” Nepram also was a research assistant in the Indigenous rights summer program organized by Institute of Human Rights at Columbia University.

Nepram founded the award-winning and women-led Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and served as its director of programs. She also helped found the Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace; the Control Arms Foundation of India; and the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples, Gender Justice and Peace.

Nepram has worked closely with the U.N. Development Programme in India, the Indian government’s National Mission for Empowerment of Women, as well as with the European Union and a host of other civil society-based and women- and indigenous women-led organizations in South Asia and in seven sociocultural Indigenous zones around the world.

Nepram hails from the state of Manipur in Northeast India and has extensive experience researching armed insurgencies and responding to conflict areas, the linkages between small arms and narcotic, women in decision-making processes, and ensuring support to women and families who are survivors of armed conflict. Nepram has researched extensively on the linkages between arms and narco-trafficking and its humanitarian consequences, Indigenous governance, nonviolent movements and women-led peacemaking issues in various conflict zones around the world.

Bina Nepram

Senior Advisor, Founder, Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace

Mark L. Clifford is the President of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation. The author of Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow the World: What China’s Crackdown Reveals About Its Plans to End Freedom Everywhere. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Hong Kong. An honors history graduate of the University of California Berkeley and a Walter Bagehot Fellow at Columbia University, he lived in Asia from 1987 until 2021. Previously, Clifford was executive director of the Hong Kong-based Asia Business Council, the editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), and publisher and editor-in-chief of The Standard (Hong Kong). He held senior editorial positions at BusinessWeek and the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong and Seoul and has received numerous prizes and awards for his books and journalism.

Mark Clifford

President, Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation

Piero Tozzi is the Staff Director of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. His previous positions include Republican Staff Director of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Staff Director and Counsel for the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. He has also served as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor and Counsel to Representative Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ). Mr. Tozzi received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and his B.A. from Columbia University. Mr. Tozzi speaks Mandarin Chinese, and is the author of several works on international law and comparative constitutional law, including Constitutional Reform on Taiwan: Fulfilling a Chinese Notion of Democratic Sovereignty.

Piero Tozzi

Staff Director, Congressional-Executive Commission on China

Frances Hui is the first Hong Kong activist to receive asylum in the United States, wanted by the Hong Kong authorities with a HK$1 million bounty placed on her head. At the early age of 13, Hui started her involvement in Hong Kong’s social movements. She was a former standing committee member of Scholarism and a campaigner for multiple pro-democracy candidates in Hong Kong. Previously a journalist, Hui’s column “I am from Hong Kong, not China” in April 2019 was a widespread piece across the globe and set the tone of what led to the 2019 citywide pro-democracy movement. Currently based in the US, Hui continues her advocacy in Washington at the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation as the Policy and Advocacy Coordinator which advocates for Hong Kong on the international agenda. She also heads the organization, We The Hongkongers, dedicated to promoting and strengthening the culture and identity of Hongkongers abroad.

Frances Hui

Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation

Dr. Alda Benjamen is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Dayton where she teaches courses on the modern history of the Middle East. Recently, she was the AvimalekBetyousef Faculty Fellow in the Department of History and the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to that, she was Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and the Smithsonian. She is the research director of a USAID funded cultural heritage preservation project focusing on religious minorities in Iraq.

Her book, Assyrians in Modern Iraq: Negotiating Political and Cultural Space (Cambridge University Press, February 2022), is a monograph on twentieth-century Iraqi intellectual history based on extensive primary research from within the country. Drawing upon oral and ethnographic sources and archival documents, in Arabic and modern Aramaic, uncovered at the Iraqi National Archives in Baghdad and private collections from the north, it explores the role of minorities in Iraq’s intellectual and mostly leftist opposition. She also has edited a special issue “Narratives of Co-existence and Pluralism in Northern Iraq” for the Journal of Contemporary Iraq and the Arab World (June 2020), as well as a roundtable, “Pluralism and Minoritization in the Middle East” for the International Journal of Middle East Studies (November 2018). 


Dr. Alda Benjamen

Assistant Professor of History, University of Dayton

The Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett is the Director of Cardus Faith Communities at Cardus, Canada’s faith-based think-tank. He also serves as Senior Fellow at the Washington, DC-based Religious Freedom Institute. He is an ordained deacon in the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in the Eparchy (Diocese) of Toronto and Eastern Canada.

Fr. Deacon Andrew served as Canada’s first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Head of the Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016 in the department of Global Affairs Canada. He is a leading commentator on religious freedom and conscience rights in Canada.

He holds a Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. as well as degrees in history from McGill and Dalhousie universities in Canada.

Dr. Andrew Bennett

Director of Cardus Faith Communities, Cardus

Dr. Namgyal Choedup assumed the post of the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Central Tibetan Administration to North America in December 2021. He is based in the Office of Tibet at Washington DC.  Born and raised in a Tibetan refugee settlement in India, Dr. Choedup completed his schooling and college in India, before pursuing a Master’s degree in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University in 1998 and a PhD in Anthropology at Washington University, St. Louis in 2007. His dissertation thesis is titled “From Tibetan Refugees to Transmigrants: Negotiating Cultural Identity and Economic Mobility through Migration.” Additionally, Dr. Choedup has been involved in collaborative research in Nepal and India, leading to one co-authored book and several journal articles on contemporary Tibetan societies in India and Nepal. He has co-authored one book and several articles and has presented work at numerous international conferences and seminars including American Anthropological Association, Center for Study of Citizenship, Association of Nepal and Himalaya Studies, The Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, and International Association for Tibetan Studies. He previously served in the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) as officer in the Planning Commission from 1995 to 98, and as a researcher and as Director for the Environment and Development Desk, Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) from 2000 to 2005.

Dr. Namgyal Choedup

Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Central Tibetan Administration to North America

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart is currently fulfilling his 11th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Florida’s 26th congressional district. Diaz-Balart is a senior member of the House Committee on Appropriations, currently serving as Chairman of the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee, in addition to a member of the Defense and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Subcommittees. 

Diaz-Balart passionately serves his constituents, acting tirelessly in defense of individual rights and liberties, promoting economic prosperity, and supporting a robust national defense. He is well-known for his advocacy of human rights and democracy around the world, as well as for his staunch support of our global allies. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002, making him the Dean of the Florida Delegation and serving as part of the Deputy Whip in Congress. Prior to his time in Congress, Diaz-Balart served in the Florida State Legislature in both the House and Senate chambers. He chaired several committees, including the Combined Appropriations/Ways and Means/Finance and Tax Committee.

Diaz-Balart was born on September 25, 1961, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to Rafael and Hilda Diaz-Balart and is the youngest of four brothers (Rafael, Lincoln, and Jose). He studied Political Science at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Diaz-Balart currently resides in Miami, Florida, with his wife, Tia, and son, Cristian Rafael.

Mario Diaz-Balart

Congressman for Florida’s 26th Congressional District

Rev. Dr. Marian Edmonds-Allen is the director of Blessed by Difference and the executive director of Parity, an NYC-based international nonprofit that works at the intersection of faith and LGBT concerns.  She is the co-chair of the LGBT-FoRB International Religious Liberty Roundtable and is the author of Covenantal Pluralism and Mission: Evidence for Healing the LGBT and Faith Divide.

Dr. Marian Edmonds-Allen

Executive Director, Parity

Dr Aaron P. Edwards is a Christian academic theologian and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is the author of numerous journal articles and books, including A Theology of Preaching and Dialectic: Scriptural Tension, Heraldic Proclamation, and the PneumatologicalMoment (2018) and Taking Kierkegaard Back to Church (2022). He is also the co-editor of the T&T Clark Companion to the Theology of Kierkegaard (2020). He was a Teaching Fellow and tutor at the University of Aberdeen, and for seven years was the MA Programme Leader and Lecturer in Theology, Preaching, and Mission at Cliff College, UK. In 2022 he was dismissed from his role for a tweet defending a Biblical view of human sexuality. He is a father of five, and he blogs at thatgoodfight.substack.com.

Dr. Aaron P. Edwards

Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Antonio “Tony” Garrastazu is the Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Republican Institute with over twenty years of international experience. In this role, he provides strategic guidance, leadership and overall management to the Division. Prior to this position, he served as Director of the Center for Global Impact at IRI contributing to democratic development programing, leading global initiatives and cutting-edge approaches to emerging challenges and trends. From 2011-2018, Tony was based in the field as Country Director overseeing the Institute’s Central America, Haiti and Mexico programming where he focused anti-corruption, security, rule of law, open government, elections and local governance.

Prior to joining IRI, Tony was the Director of Business and Government Relations at Globalvia Infrastructures where he was responsible for the implementation of public-private partnerships throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. He also served as Executive Director of the Spain-United States Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Program Director at the Dante B. Fascell North South Center promoting U.S.-Latin American relations.

Garrastazu has published extensively, including his dissertation, Interest Groups and the Politics of Trade after the Cold War: The Case of the U.S.-Jordan, Singapore and Chile Free Trade Agreements. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from the University of Florida, as well as a Master’s and Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Miami.

Antonio “Tony” Garrastazu

Regional Director Latin America and the Caribbean, International Republican Insititute

Lauren Homer is an attorney specializing in international human rights and religious freedom advocacy with over 46 years of experience in the private practice of law through her law firm Homer International Law PLLC. She also founded Law and Liberty Trust, an NGO, in 1990 to advocate for international religious freedom, democracy, and the rule of law in countries emerging from totalitarian governance. Lauren is the author of numerous articles and publications on religious freedom and regularly participates in international conferences on laws affecting religious and civil society organizations. She serves on the Steering Committee of the IRF Roundtable and as co-Chair of its Middle East Working Group and has chaired its Afghan Emergency Task Force and its Ukraine Emergency Task Force. Her IRF focus has been on Russia, Ukraine, other former Soviet republics, China, the Middle East (Syria and Iraq), and Afghanistan. She also serves on the board of Mission Eurasia, a US based NGO that provides humanitarian aid, leadership training, and religious liberty monitoring throughout Eurasia. Lauren is a graduate of Duke University (BA), Yale University (MA), and Columbia University Law School (JD).

Lauren Homer

Founder, Law and Liberty Trust

Martha Patricia is a lawyer and public notary. She studied at the University of Salamanca-España, graduating with a Master´s in Corruption and Rule of Law. She is licensed to practice law by the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) and completed studies in Diplomacy and International Relations at the American University in Nicaragua. Molina authored the studies “38 mechanisms of torture, cruel and inhumane treatment in Nicaragua prisons” and “Nicaragua, a persecuted church?”. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of La Prensa, has carried out various corruption investigations into the public administration of the Ortega-Murillo regime, and has taught at the university level. Currently she is a member of Nicaraguans in Texas.

Marta Patricia Molina

Lawyer and Religious Freedom Expert

Born in May 1967 in Camagüey, Cuba, I embarked on a diverse journey shaped by faith and education. My formative years were spent in Florida, nestled within Camagüey province, where I cultivated my early academic pursuits.

My quest for knowledge and purpose led me to begin medical studies at CienciasMédicas’ University in Camagüey. However, driven by a profound calling, I transitioned to the path of spiritual dedication, enrolling in the Seminario San Basilio Magno in Santiago de Cuba to pursue the vocation of a Catholic priest. This journey spanned various educational milestones, encompassing studies at San Basilio Magno’s Seminary, San Carlos and San Ambrosio’s Seminary in Havana, and culminating in a profound four-year tenure at Ateneo Regina Apostolorum in Rome.

I was ordained a Catholic priest on December 12th, 1996.

My ministry commenced as a parish priest in Esmeralda, Camagüey, where I dedicated six years to the community. Driven by a commitment to further enrich my understanding of human psychology, I pursued and attained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Universidad Pontificia de Comillas in Madrid.

Returning to Cuba, I continued my spiritual service with six years as a parish priest in Guáimaro, Camagüey, followed by two years in Maisí, Guantánamo. I served as a spiritual director in San Agustín’s Seminary in Camagüey.

Presently, I find myself back in Esmeralda, once again serving as a parish priest. Each step of this journey has shaped my perspective, nurturing a deep understanding of the human condition and reinforcing my commitment to guiding and supporting others through faith and compassion.

Fr. Alberto Reyes Pías

Parish Priest, Cuba

Anna Lee Stangl joined CSW in 2000 as European Union Liaison Officer and directed the Brussels office for 11 years. She developed CSW’s work on freedom of religion or belief in Latin America, with a focus on Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru over that period. In 2012, she moved to Washington DC to lead CSW’s advocacy efforts in the United States while also acting as Team Leader for the Americas. In 2018 she was appointed CSW’s joint Head of Advocacy overseeing all of CSW’s research and advocacy work around the world. She continues to lead CSW’s Americas Team, which has added Nicaragua to countries of focus in Latin America. She has travelled with journalists and Members of the European Parliament to CSW countries of concern in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, and has provided expert testimony at the United States Congress, the Brazilian Congress, the Peruvian Congress, the European Parliament, and the Canadian Parliament. She acted as an advisor on freedom of religion or belief to the Inter-American Federation of Christian Jurists from2005 to 2015. Ms. Stangl holds a BA in International Relations from Randolph Macon Woman’s College and an MA in Conflict Resolution from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.

Anna Lee Stangl

Head of Advocacy, CSW

Dr. Gregory Stanton is Founding President of Genocide Watch and Chair of the Alliance Against Genocide. He was a Research Professor in Genocide Studies at George Mason​ ​ University and was the James Farmer Professor in Human Rights at the University of Mary Washington. He was a fellow at the Indian Law Institute and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He directed the relief program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia following the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge regime. He founded the Cambodian Genocide Project in 1982. While in the State Department, he drafted the UN Security Council Resolutions that established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He was a driving force in the establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge Tribuna​​l. He holds degrees from Oberlin College, Harvard Divinity School, Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago.

Dr. Gregory Stanton

Founding President, Genocide Watch

Sarah Teich is an award-winning international human rights lawyer based in Toronto. She advises various organizations including Tamil Rights Group, the Association of Victims of Flight PS752 Families, United Tegaru Canada, Canadian Coalition Against Terror, Cuba Decide, and Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, helping them utilize domestic, foreign, and international mechanisms to seek justice and accountability for atrocity crimes and human rights abuses committed by state and non-state actors around the world. Sarah holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and licenses to practice law in Ontario and New York. She has represented clients at all levels of court and has testified at numerous Houses of Parliaments, including the Canadian House of Commons and the United Kingdom House of Lords. Sarah has received multiple recognitions and awards, including a commendation in 2016 from the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and the 2022 Hon. David Kilgour Global Humanitarian Leader of the Year Award. She was blacklisted by Russia in September 2022. Sarah is a senior fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute, where she focuses on foreign policy and international law, and co-founder and President of Human Rights Action Group, a charitable organization comprised of international human rights lawyers that she co-founded with David Matas earlier this year.

Sarah Teich

Human Rights Lawyer

Soon after departing the White House, Vice President Mike Pence created a policy-and-action organization, Advancing American Freedom, and named Paul Teller as his Executive Director. Prior to this honor, Paul served all four years in the Trump-Pence White House.

In light of all of this activity, the liberal Washington Post in July 2020 described Paul as a “veteran conservative organizer.”

In January 2022, Paul was elected to the U.S. Capitol Historical Society Board of Trustees.

A native Long Islander, Paul went to poli sci grad school at American University and did his poli sci undergrad work at Duke University—and has been a Duke alumni leader ever since graduation.

Paul regularly addresses political conferences and meetings—and always seems to find time to mentor young politicos as they network their way into ever-improving political opportunities.

Paul and his wife, Maxine, who have been married since 1999, are the very proud parents of one daughter (born 2003) and one son (born 2006).

Paul Teller

Executive Director, Advancing American Freedom

Siju Thomas serves as ADF India’s Director, providing administration, vision, and direction to the entire organization. Siju is responsible for developing legal strategies and advocacy to respond to the violence and hostility against Christians in India due to their faith. He is currently overseeing the litigation in over 180 cases in the Supreme Court, High Courts, and lower courts.

Siju is an Advocate enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi since 2013. He specializes in constitutional law and criminal law. He practices primarily, on the writ and appellate side of constitutional courts, including the Supreme Court of India. Siju is a part of the legal team which has challenged the various state anti-conversion laws in India.

He earned his LL.B. from the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, New Delhi. He is a Fellow of the prestigious Blackstone program of Alliance Defending Freedom.

Siju joined the ADF India team in August 2017.

Siju Thomas

National Director, ADF International (India)

Mr. Kerkonian regularly advises states and international institutions on issues of public international law, state sovereignty and human rights. He is an advisor on international law to the Tatoyan Foundation Center for Law and Justice, based in Yerevan and Los Angeles. He serves on the board of the Armenian Society of Fellows, where he leads the International Law and Human Rights task group as well as the Artsakh Committee of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church. Mr. Kerkonian is also an adjunct professor of public international law at Artsakh State University.

Mr. Karnig Kerkonian holds an A.B. magna cum laude in Government from Harvard University and two law degrees—a J.D. from the University of Chicago, where he served on the Law Review, as well as a post-graduate Diploma in International Law from Cambridge University, England, where he studied under James R. Crawford, a former Judge on the International Court of Justice.

Karnig Kerkonian

International lawyer, Kerkonian Dajani LLP

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian is the Ecumenical Director and Diocesan Legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), in which capacity he has served since January of 2000.

Archbishop Aykazian was born in Siirt, Turkey, in 1951. He studied theology at the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem and was ordained a deacon in 1968 and a celibate priest in 1971. In 1992, His Holiness Vasken I, the late Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians, ordained him a bishop.

In addition to his seminary education in Jerusalem and at the Holy Cross Armenian Seminary in Istanbul, he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Kings College in London; studied pastoral theology at St. Augustine’s College in Canterbury, England; received his Ph.D. from the Armenian Academy of Sciences’ Department of History; and completed the Ph.D. course requirements at Fribourg Catholic University in Switzerland.

In a ministry that has taken him around the world, he has served the Armenian Church in diverse roles. He acted as dragoman at the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and athletic instructor of the Jerusalem seminary; preacher at the Armenian churches in Istanbul and assistant to Archbishop Shnork Kaloustyan, then-Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople; pastor of the Armenian Church of Switzerland from 1980 to 1992, where he established and organized new church communities in Zurich, Bern, Kreazlingen, and Lugano. He became Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Switzerland in 1992, serving until 1996. In 1997, he assumed the role of director of the Fund for Armenian Relief’s office in the Republic of Armenia until 1999.

In 2007, he was elected as president of the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCC) in the USA and served his term from 2008 through 2009. He was the first Oriental Orthodox clergyman to serve as president of America’s leading ecumenical organization and currently sits on the executive board of the NCC, as well as on the board of the World Council of Churches, where his involvement has been extensive and continuous since 1985, including positions on the WCC’s Mission and Evangelism Unit 2 (1991-99), its Orthodox Task Force (1982-92), and membership on its Central Committee.

As Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director, Archbishop Aykazian is a prominent representative of the Armenian Church and a spokesman for Armenian causes in the United States.

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian

Diocesan Legate, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)

U Aung Kyaw Moe is a human rights activist. In addition to being a humanitarian, he has conducted peace building activities in Myanmar, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Liberia. He has over 15 years of experience in various non-governmental organizations.

For his peace and human rights activities, he was honored for the French government’s human rights award (CNCDH2019) and was awarded 4 international awards, including the Schuman Award by the European Union in Myanmar (2019).

U Aung Kyaw Moe is the former US President George Burr Presidential Center Freedom and Leadership Fellowship. He is a graduate of President Obama’s Leaders Asia-Pacific Leaders Fellowship and the Dalai Lama Fellowship of the American Institute of Peace.

Since 2021, he has been in charge of the Ministry of Human Rights for the National Unity Government (NUG).

U Aung Kyaw Moe

Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Human Rights, National Unity Government

Bob (Xiqiu) Fu is one of the leading voices in the world for persecuted faith communities in China. Fu was born and raised in mainland China and was a student leader during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations for freedom and democracy in 1989. Fu graduated from the School of International Relations at the People’s (Renmin) University in Beijing and taught English to Communist Party officials at the Beijing Administrative College and Beijing Party School of the Chinese Communist Party from 1993-1996.

Fu was also a house church leader in Beijing until he and his wife, Heidi, were imprisoned for two months for “illegal evangelism” in 1996. Bob and Heidi fled to the United States as religious refugees in 1997 and subsequently founded ChinaAid in 2002 to bring international attention to China’s gross human rights violations and to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.

As president of ChinaAid, Fu has testified before the Congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (USCHR), the Foreign Press Association, the European Commission and European Union Parliament.

Fu graduated with a Ph.D. from St. John’s College at the University of Durham in the U.K. in the field of religious freedom and from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate degree on Global Christian Leadership from Midwest University, where he served as a distinguished professor on religion and public policy.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Fu currently serves as the Family Research Council’s Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom in addition to responsibilities as President of ChinaAid. He is the winner of the 2020 Wilberforce Award from the Colson Center and the Editor-In-Chief of the Chinese Law and Religion Monitor.

Bob Fu

President, ChinaAid

Cara Ding is a reporter for The Epoch Times, focusing on local news in Orange County, New York. With a passion for community journalism, Cara covers a wide range of topics including local government, business developments, public events, and human interest stories. Her goal is to provide accurate and informative reporting that keeps residents of Orange County informed and engaged.

Cara Ding

Reporter, Epoch Times

Michael Rubin is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he specializes in Iran, Turkey, and the broader Middle East.

A former Pentagon official, Dr. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, and both pre- and postwar Iraq. He also spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. For more than a decade, he taught classes at sea about the Horn of Africa and Middle East conflicts, culture, and terrorism, to deployed US Navy and Marine units.

Dr. Rubin is the author, coauthor, and coeditor of several books exploring diplomacy, Iranian history, Arab culture, Kurdish studies, and Shi’ite politics, including “Seven Pillars: What Really Causes Instability in the Middle East?” (AEI Press, 2019); “Kurdistan Rising” (AEI Press, 2016); “Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes” (Encounter Books, 2014); and “Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos” (Palgrave, 2005).

Dr. Rubin has a PhD and an MA in history from Yale University, where he also obtained a BS in biology.

Michael Rubin

Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Rushan Abbas’s activism started in the mid-1980s as a student at Xinjiang University, co-organizing pro-democracy demonstrations in Urumchi in 1985 and 1988. Since her arrival in the United States in 1989, Ms. Abbas has been an ardent campaigner for the human rights of the Uyghur people. Ms. Abbas is the founder and executive director of Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) and became one of the most prominent Uyghur voices in international activism for Uyghurs following her sister’s detainment by the Chinese government in 2018. Ms. Abbas has spearheaded numerous campaigns, including the “One Voice One Step” movement, which culminated in a simultaneous demonstration in 14 countries and 18 cities on March 15, 2018, to protest China’s detention of millions of Uyghurs in concentration camps.

Ms. Abbas frequently briefs global lawmakers and officials on the Uyghur genocide and provides testimonies at legislative bodies worldwide, such as the U.S. Congress, and other parliaments. She advocates for raising awareness and engaging in discussions on policy options to address the challenges posed by the Chinese Communist Party and halt the ongoing Uyghur genocide. She also serves as the Chairperson for the Advisory Board of the Axel Springer Freedom Foundation and as a board member of the Task Force on Human Trafficking within the Parliamentary Intelligence-Security Forum.

In 2019, Ms. Abbas received the Freedom Fighter Award, and her work was recognized at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2020. Under her leadership, CFU published the ‘Genocide in East Turkistan’ report in July 2020, leading to the organization receiving the World Democracy Courage Tribute in 2021 and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2022.

Rushan Abbas 

Founder, Campaign for Uyghurs

Arielle Del Turco serves as Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, where she is responsible for religious freedom policy and advocacy efforts. Through research and analysis, she helps craft effective policy solutions and coordinates FRC’s advocacy on religious freedom. Arielle is the author of numerous reports, and she has testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government.

Arielle’s work has appeared in USA Today, The Hill, RealClearPoliticsFox News, National ReviewThe Federalist, Jerusalem Post, and the Washington Examiner. She is the co-author of Heroic Faith: Hope Amid Global Persecution (Fidelis Publishing, 2022), along with Lela Gilbert and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin. She holds a master’s degree in Government with an emphasis in International Relations from Regent University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Politics and History.

Arielle Del Turco

Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, Family Research Council

Robert A. Destro is Professor of Law at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. He has been a member of the CUA Law faculty since 1982, served as Interim Dean from 1999-2001, and as Director of the University’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies from 2017-2019.

President Donald J. Trump nominated him to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and the U.S. Senate confirmed his appointment on September 18, 2019. As Assistant Secretary, he led the State Department’s worldwide policy and foreign assistance programs on human rights and democracy issues such as free and fair elections, Internet freedom, and the growth of the surveillance state. His work on labor issues focused on State Department and inter-agency efforts to ensure that business supply chains do not include goods or services produced by slave or forced labor. He also served as the State Department’s Special Representative for Tibetan Issues.

Professor Destro was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1972 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and his law degree (J.D.) in 1975 from the University of California, Berkeley. He is an active member of the Bar in Ohio and an inactive member of the Bar in California. Professor Destro lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife Brenda. They have two adult children, Gina and Mark.

Robert A. Destro

Professor of Law, Columbus School of Law

Cole Durham is the President of the G20 Interfaith Forum Association. He is also the Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) and the former Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was a Note Editor of the Harvard Law Review and Managing Editor of the Harvard International Law Journal. He has been heavily involved in comparative law scholarship, with a special emphasis on comparative constitutional law. He is a founding Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion. He served as the Secretary of the American Society of Comparative Law from 1989 to 1994. He is an Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law in Paris—the premier academic organization at the global level in comparative law. He served as a General Rapporteur for the topic ‘Religion and the Secular State’ at the 18th Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law, held in July 2010. He served in earlier years as Chair both of the Comparative Law Section and the Law and Religion Section of the American Association of Law Schools. Professor Durham was President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS) from 2011-2016.

W. Cole Durham, Jr.

President, G20 Interfaith Forum Association

As a Bi-Vocational Priest, Father Greg McBrayer has worked and served in the aviation industry for more than 38 years. The Atlanta native was licensed by the FAA in 1984 and has since held numerous positions throughout his aviation career. He is currently Chief Dispatcher at American Airlines (IOC) Integrated Operations Control Center in DFW where he also serves as Corporate Chaplain. Father Greg’s extensive aviation career includes more than 35 years’ experience in FAR Part 121 flight operations. He worked and served in the Operations Control Centers of Piedmont Airlines and USAirways prior to the American Airlines merger in 2015.

As a Bi-Vocational Priest, Father Greg also serves full-time as an Assistant Priest-Pastor at Saint Barnabas Anglican Church in Fort Worth. He is also the (EAP) Employee Assistance Program Representative for TWU Local 549 and a member of American Airlines Emergency Response and Care Team. He is President of the DFW-IOC Chapter of American Airlines Christian Employees Business Resource Group (CEBRG) and is the founder and pastor of American Airlines (IOC-Monday Ministry) which he originally planted at USAirways Ops Control Center years earlier. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy and leads weekly and special worship services at DFW International Airport.

With extensive ministry and leadership experience, he has served numerous outreach ministries and boards within the church, non-profit, aviation and military communities. He also provides pastoral care and counseling in 12 Step and CR addiction recovery. His hobbies include volunteering with charitable and community service organizations, walking, gardening, and continued education and biblical study.

Greg McBrayer

Chief Flight Controller, American Airlines

Peter Irwin is the Associate Director for Research and Advocacy at the Uyghur Human Rights Project where he conducts research and writes and edits reports and other publications for audiences ranging from the United Nations and other multilateral human rights bodies to government officials to the media and the general public. He also conducts advocacy at the United Nations and other multilateral bodies, as well as with governments around the world. Mr. Irwin regularly offers commentary to the media on the Uyghur issue, which can be found in The New York Times, BBC, and The Washington Post, among other outlets. He has also written original pieces for The Guardian, The Independent, Hong Kong Free Press and The Diplomat. Mr. Irwin is an MSc graduate of Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and former Program Manager and Spokesperson for the World Uyghur Congress.

Peter Irwin

Associate Director for Research & Advocacy, Uyghur Human Rights Project

Kelsey Zorzi serves as Director of Advocacy for Global Religious Freedom with ADF International. She leads efforts to address and counter global persecution against Christians and other religious minorities. Based in Washington, D.C., Zorzi engages with a multinational network of attorneys, government officials, and international bodies to coordinate efforts aimed at challenging legal barriers to religious freedom and reasserting religious freedom as foundational to the international human rights framework. In 2018, she was elected president of the United Nations’ NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Zorzi earned her J.D. at the George Washington University Law School, where she participated in the GW-Oxford International Human Rights Law Program. Her work has appeared in several publications, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and Real Clear Politics.

She is admitted to the state bars in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Kelsey Zorzi

Director of Advocacy for Global Religious Freedom, ADF International

Nuri Kino, the founder of A Demand For Action (ADFA), is a distinguished Swedish investigative journalist, award-winning author, filmmaker, and devoted human rights advocate. His unwavering commitment to justice and freedom for Assyrians/Syriacs/Chaldeans, Armenians, Yazidis, and other indigenous groups in the Middle East establishes him as an ideal speaker for those contending with the aftermath of genocide and persecution.

Recognized as the “Most Influential Swede in the Aid Debate 2023” by the Global Bar Magazine, his accolades highlight his impact in championing Freedom of Religion or Belief and justice for victims of religious oppression.

Kino has fearlessly ventured into perilous places to defend the rights of oppressed people, engaging in activities ranging from rescuing trafficked individuals to dismantling pedophile rings. He has confronted threats and risks, taking on terrorists and perpetrators of ethnic cleansing and human trafficking.

In 2014, Kino founded ADFA as a non-profit organization, initially as a social media campaign raising awareness of the ongoing genocide. ADFA has since transformed into a global advocacy and humanitarian aid organization, operating in countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Armenia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

His advocacy has played a role in Swedish and international foreign policy. Kino’s and ADFA’s work has played a role in policy changes under three U.S. presidents—Obama, Trump, and Biden—leading to the recognition of the 1915 genocide and the plight of Armenians, Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs, and Greeks.

Nuri Kino

Founder, A Demand for Action

Simon Maghakyan

Investigative researcher and cultural heritage defender

Becca Tyvoll serves as a Program Coordinator with Peace Catalyst International in the Washington, DC area, helping to equip and empower Christians to become peacebuilders in their own communities, while facilitating bridge-building among neighbors from diverse faith backgrounds. Becca has been actively engaged in peacemaking and advocacy for peace in Israel and Palestine among various faith based and non-faith based organizations in the U.S. Prior to joining Peace Catalyst, she served as an Ecumenical Accompanier with the World Council of Churches, accompanying Palestinian farmers in the West Bank and engaging with Israelis and Palestinians who are pursuing peace in the land. She first witnessed the conflict and structural violence in the Holy Land during her study abroad program in Jordan, when she visited Palestinian refugees in Amman and Ramallah, and heard from diverse perspectives among people living in Jerusalem. It was this experience that set her on the path of peacebuilding.

Becca Tyvoll

Program Coordinator, Peace Catalyst International

Jonathan Ammons serves as the Associate Director of the New York Office of Public and International Affairs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and as United Nations Representative of the Church’s humanitarian organization, Latter-day Saint Charities. In addition to his work for the Church, Jonathan currently serves as President of the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, a New York-based association of civil society leaders engaged in promoting FoRB within the United Nations ecosystem. He also serves on the Board of Governors of the Religion Communicators Council and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Jonathan holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in democracy studies and political communication from Johns Hopkins University. Jonathan and his wife Bree have four wonderful children and enjoy hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities as a family.

Jonathan Ammons

President, NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Nick Fish is the President of American Atheists. With more than 15 years experiencing fighting for civil rights, civil liberties, and religious equality, Nick is a committed coalition builder and advocate who works to ensure that atheists and nonreligious people have their voices heard. As president of American Atheists, Nick works to combat stigma, bias, and discrimination, and promote understanding of nonreligious people. Nick has served as President of American Atheists since 2018.

Nick Fish

President, American Atheists

An award-winning peacebuilder, National Geographic Explorer and TED Fellow, Aziz is the Co-founder of MEJDI Tours and author of Crossing Boundaries: A Traveler’s Guide to World Peace, an Amazon Hot New Release in 2021.


As a peacebuilder, Abu Sarah has worked in 60 countries including Afghanistan, Colombia, Syria and the Balkans.  He has served as Executive Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, and as the Chairman of the Parents Circle Family Forum.  Aziz has been awarded the Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East, the European Parliament’s Silver Rose Award, the Eisenhower medallion and the Eliav-Sartawi Award for Middle East Journalism.  He was recognized by former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon for his work in peacebuilding.


His speaking engagements throughout the globe include The United Nations, Harvard, Princeton, Georgetown and other universities, numerous National Geographic conferences, Telluride Mountain Film Festival, The Explorer’s Club, The Seminar Annual Forum, Mexico International Language Conference, New Trends in Tourism (Gdansk, Poland), Remarkable Venue Awards (Seville, Spain), and AIR2023 (Bled, Slovenia).


Aziz’s essays and journalism have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, and CNN.  He has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Strategic Centre in Jordan every year since 2010.  A U.S. citizen, Aziz has lived in the United States since 2008 while frequently traveling back to his hometown of Jerusalem.

Aziz Abu Sarah

Cofounder, MEJDI Tours

Paolo Carozza joined the Notre Dame Law School faculty in 1996. His expertise is in the areas of comparative constitutional law, human rights, law and development, and international law. From 2012-2022 he served as the Director of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, an interdisciplinary, university-wide institute focusing primarily on the themes of democracy and human development, where he is also the principal investigator of the Notre Dame Constitutionalism and Rule of Law Lab (CAROLL). In the Law School, he formerly served as Associate Dean for International and Graduate Programs, and as the Director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights from 2011 through 2013. He directed the Law School’s J.S.D. Program for more than 12 years. At Notre Dame, he is also a Faculty Fellow of the Klau Institute for Civil and Human Rights, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, the Institute for Educational Initiatives, the Pulte Institute for Global Development, and the Notre Dame Religious Liberty Initiative.

Carozza currently serves as a member of the Oversight Board, an independent expert body created by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, to render binding decisions and policy recommendations regarding difficult content moderation questions on Meta’s platforms. Since 2019 he has also been the United States member of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission), the Council of Europe’s expert advisory body on issues of constitutionalism, the rule of law, democracy, and fundamental rights. In 2019-2020 he was a member of the U.S. State Department’s independent, nonpartisan, advisory Commission on Unalienable Rights. From 2006 to 2010 Carozza was a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the principal international body responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Western Hemisphere, and served as its President in 2008-09. In 2009 he received the Order of Merit of Bernardo O’Higgins, the Republic of Chile’s highest state honor awarded to foreign citizens, in recognition of his service to the Inter-American human rights system. Carozza was appointed by Pope Francis in 2016 to be a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. He has been a visiting professor at various universities in the United States, Europe, and Latin America, including as the John Harvey Gregory Lecturer on World Organization at Harvard Law School, and has been awarded doctorates honoris causae from the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Hungary and from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (Berkeley, CA). In 2019, Notre Dame awarded Carozza its Reinhold Niebuhr Award, for Notre Dame faculty “whose body of academic work and life promote or exemplify the area of social justice in modern life.”

Carozza holds an AB from Harvard University and a JD from Harvard Law School, and was a postdoctoral Ford Foundation Fellow in Public International Law at Harvard Law School. After law school, he served as a judicial clerk for the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia and worked as an associate at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Arnold & Porter.

Paolo G. Carozza

Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame

Information technology executive with over 29 years of leadership experience in delivering innovative products and technology solutions, with numerous patents to his credit, and a proven track record of bringing to market effective SaaS products and driving strategic business transformation and growth and M&A.


Cyber Security Innovation:

Usman is currently serving as the Chief Product and Technology Officer for the privacy, security and data protection division at Ziff Davis (NASD: ZD) VIPRE Security Group. He is responsible for defining and executing the company’s product strategy and driving new cyber security innovations throughout its global research and development organization. He is responsible for the creation of AI/ML based advanced threat defense solutions, and is a champion of the mission to help midsize enterprises succeed in a globally competitive marketplace.



Usman previously held senior leadership role at NetIQ, Novell, where he was responsible for shaping the firm’s security strategy and developing solutions for automating insider threat and breach detection.


He started in the cyber security industry in 2002 at  e-Security where he led the innovation of the patented in-memory event correlation technology for SIEM/Log Management space and  was a critical component of the U.S. Navy SPAWAR PROMETHEUS program.


Beyond Cyber Security, Usman was instrumental in technology transformation in the financial services brokerage industry in technology leadership roles at Salomon Brothers, Citi Group, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, NYSE and Folio Investing.


Non-Profit Contributions:

Usman regularly contributes to several non-profits, leading various volunteer initiatives nationally and is the recipient of the distinguished President’s Call to Service Award in 2013, awarded by President Obama, the highest level of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. He is currently serving as a board advisor for Global Lawyers for Refugees, a non-profit advocating for rights for refugees fleeing persecution (www.glrworldwide.org), and as an active volunteer for Humanity First, a humanitarian relief non-profit organization (usa.humanityfirst.org).

Usman Choudhary

Chief Product and Technology Officer, VIPRE

Aaron has more than two decades of accomplished service as a public relations and communications professional in the corporate, philanthropic and diplomatic sectors, building bridges between political ideologies, geographies and industries throughout the world.

He most recently managed global communications transformation at Philip Morris International, focused on civil society engagement and partnerships to enable a smoke-free future. Previously, he served as global communications director for the Aga Khan Development Network, headquartered in Paris, France, and Geneva, Switzerland. In this role he coordinated the global communications efforts during the Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan and the global Ismaili Muslim faith community.

Prior to that, he served as chief communications and marketing officer for the United Nations Foundation, during which time he helped build the Social Good Summit, #GivingTuesday and the Global Bureau Media Coalition. His career includes U.S. government service as a diplomat in the U.S. Department of State and leading public affairs efforts for the Millennium Challenge Corp.

Aaron Sherinian

Senior Vice President Global Reach, Deseret

Josh Good directs Faith Angle Forum, an EPPC program that helps strengthen reporting and commentary on how religious believers, religious convictions, and moral arguments affect American politics and public life. Faith Angle convenes two-day forums intentionally “away” from the power centers of Washington, New York, and Los Angeles, inviting journalists to go deep with top religion scholars on contemporary issues. Prior to 2018, Josh served as a director for the Kern Family Foundation’s Faith, Work, and Economics Program and, prior to that, as manager of the American Enterprise Institute’s outreach program to faculty and student leaders at Christian colleges. He also worked in government consulting, on responsible fatherhood and marriage-promotion initiatives, and on a national public-private venture designed to help urban congregations and businesses employ and support ex-prisoners. Josh holds a B.A. in history from Covenant College and a master’s degree in Christianity and Culture from Harvard University, and his work has been published in The HillNational ReviewThe Weekly StandardCapital CommentaryThe Federalist, and The American.

Josh Good

Director Faith Angle Forum, Ethics and Public Policy Center

Kimberlie Orr is the International Legal Fellow for the Religious Liberty Clinic, where she helps to oversee students’ work on issues related to international persecution, including representing religious clients seeking asylum in the U.S. and assisting government officials, international organizations, and NGOs seeking to investigate and address religious liberty issues worldwide.

Prior to joining Notre Dame Law School in 2023, Orr worked as an asylum officer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an attorney advisor for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and a policy analyst for the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Policy for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Her current research focuses on the intersection of international law, migration, and the freedom of religion or belief.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate from Brigham Young University and a Master of Global Affairs with a specialization in forced displacement policy and a minor in peace studies from the University of Notre Dame. She also earned a certificate in Religion and the Rule of Law from the International Center for Law and Religion’s Oxford Program.

Kimberlie Orr

International Legal Fellow, Religious Liberty Clinic University of Notre Dame

Congressman Dan Burton served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 2013, as a Republican from the State of Indiana. He is currently Co-Chairman of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, a project of Universal Peace Federation International.


He served on the Foreign Affairs Committee where, during most of his congressional career, he was either Chairman or Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia and Pacific. He also served on the Subcommittee on the Middle East, Europe and Eurasia, as well as the Subcommittee on Africa and the Western Hemisphere. His work on the Foreign Affairs Committee gave him many opportunities to visit the nations of Northeast Asia and gain a better understanding of the complex issues in this part of the world.


He also served as Chairman of the congressional Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

In September 1994, he co-sponsored with Democrat Floyd Flake of New York, the bi-partisan Parents’ Day Resolution, establishing the fourth Sunday of July as a perennial day of commemoration. A month later the resolution was signed into law by President Clinton, “recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.”

Dan Burton

Co-Chairman, International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace

Ján Figel’ the former European Union Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) Special Envoy; Currently he is a member of the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit Global Leadership Council; and a member of the International Religious Freedom and Belief Alliance (IRFBA) International Council of Experts

Ján Figel’ is a former EU commissioner (2004–2009) and deputy prime minister of Slovakia (2010–2012). Prior to these responsibilities, he acted as a chief negotiator for the accession of Slovakia to the EU and state secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also served as a vice president of the Slovak Parliament (2012–2016).

He was the first-ever European Union FoRB Special Envoy outside the EU. This successful pioneering position was adopted by several EU countries that have established similar roles since then. Figeľ has become strongly involved in FoRB advocacy, promotion of interreligious dialogue, religious literacy, and religious social responsibility. He was active in the release of FoRB prisoners in Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, and Sudan. 

Ján Figeľ

International Religious Freedom and Belief Alliance (IRFBA) International Council of Experts

Dr. Mark Abernathy is the Lead Pastor and CEO of Connect Point Christian Center in Snellville, Georgia (Atlanta Metro Area), and founder of, Family Matters Now! He is the co-president of the American Clergy Leadership Conference since 2014.

Dr. Abernathy is in demand as a speaker and consults regularly with executives from a variety of businesses, schools, and churches to help create spiritual life-changing solutions to world-impacting problems. He has sat on several committees in Georgia dealing with race relations and barriers and is the recipient of the Citizen of the Year Award from the Secretary of State of Georgia and a humanitarian award from the city of Atlanta.

He is the former headmaster of New Life Christian School and the coach of their varsity football, basketball and baseball, leading these teams to four high school national championship in basketball and one in football.

Trained in childhood development, he has a Master’s degree in early childhood learning and a Doctor of Divinity degree.

Dr. Abernathy is married to Edna Louise Abernathy February 3, 1978, One daughter, Tamara Dawn Pratt and 3 grandsons. Mason, Luke, and Leo.

Dr. Mark Abernathy

Lead Pastor and CEO, Connect Point Christian Center

Rev. Luke Higuchi currently serves as President of Japanese Association in the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU). During the past two years, he has been at various times, District Pastor of FFWPU in Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Previous to this, he worked in the FFWPU’s media department at their national headquarters office in New York City, serving there for more than a decade.


He graduated from the Unification Theological Seminary in the Class of 2021 with a master’s degree in religious education. He also earned a master’s degree in administrative science at Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2013.


He was the Founding Director of Survivors Against Forced Exit (SAFE) in Japan. Rev. Higuchi was responsible for taking care of survivors of faith-breaking as well as raising awareness of human rights violations taking place in Japan from 2010-2011.


Now he feels a calling from God to stop religious discrimination taking place in Japan. He frequently gives presentations on his experience, and the current incidents of open persecution being faced by members of the Unification Church in Japan at this time.

Luke Higuchi

President, Japanese Association in the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification

Mrs. Moriko Hori is the International Vice President and the National President of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) in Japan. She oversees 800 chapters nationwide and focuses on community activities related to family and youth education. 


She is also the Director of Global Development and Aid projects for WFWP International and has worked on more than 110 humanitarian projects in 50 countries that contribute to the realization of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in the areas of women’s empowerment, poverty eradication, AIDS prevention education, education assistance, and medical assistance. Some of its projects have been selected by the United Nations as best practices.


She graduated from Columbia University in New York with a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology. She also earned an M.A. degree from Tokyo’s Waseda University in International Relations and finished her Ph.D. course work in International Relations. Her specialty is Japan-Korea History Education and Reconciliation Studies. She also serves as a senior researcher and is on the board of directors at the Institute for Peace Policies.

Moriko Hori

National President, Women’s Federation for World Peace in Japan

Charles Hurt is the Opinion Editor and a columnist for The Washington Times. Often seen as a Fox News contributor on the cable network’s signature evening news roundtable.

Mr. Hurt in his 20-year career has worked his way up from a beat reporter for the Detroit News and Washington correspondent for the Charlotte Observer before joining The Washington Times in 2003.

He later served as D.C. bureau chief and White House correspondent for the New York Post and editor at the Drudge Report.

Charles Hurt

Opinion Editor, Washington Times.

Massimo Introvigne is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is editor-in-chief of the award-winning daily magazine on religious liberty Bitter Winter. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements.


Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of Nova Religio.


During 2011, he served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale. 

Massimo Introvigne

Editor-in-Chief, Bitter Winter

Mr. Thomas P. McDevitt is Chairman of Board of Directors of The 

Washington Times. He has been with the news media company since 1994, apart from serving as Senior VP of Marketing and Communications at the Points of Light Foundation, launched by former President George H.W. Bush.


He is the former chairman of HJ Magnolia US Holdings, a corporate group including the New Yorker Hotel, Manhattan Center production studio, Ocean Peace fishing company and numerous other U.S. and overseas companies.


In 2020, he created The Washington Times Global Media Group which operates in the non-profit public service sphere. In that role he served as global coordinator of the International Media Association for Peace (IMAP) and also the International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED), leading these projects in collaboration with Universal Peace Federation International.

Thomas P. McDevitt

Chairman – Board of Directors, Washington Times

Tatsuki Nakayama graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Tokyo in 1998. He was admitted as a lawyer in 2005 and graduated from the National University of Singapore Law School in 2010.

After working as an international lawyer at a Singapore law firm, he opened Nakayama & Partners in 2015. He studied to become a certified fraud examiner in 2016, at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singularity University, and the University of California, receiving his business ethics certification in 2022.

He has held many executive positions in the Inter-Pacific Bar Association, which includes 1,500 lawyers worldwide. His major works are Global Governance and Compliance and Integrity (both published by Chuokeizaisha), and his recent books include English Negotiation Techniques (Heisei Publishing).

Tatsuki Nakayama

Attorney and Author

Bassam Said Ishak is Co-Representative of the Syrian Democratic Council to the United States and a leader in the Syrian Democratic Council, the highest governing authority for the Autonomous Administration of NE Syria.  He is also President of the Syriac National Council of Syria, a body representing over 100 NGO’s. He previously served as a member of the Secretariat of the Syrian National Council and was President of the Syrian Human Rights Organization. Bassam works for a Syria in which all faiths and ethnic groups, both men and women, have equal rights including religious freedom.

Bassam Said Ishak

Co-Representative, Syrian Democratic Council to the United States

Ms. Arakelian is CEO of Theraxios and consults globally on matters pertaining to national security, technology, cybersecurity, healthcare, law and finance. She graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, where she was also named a University Scholar for her original research. She subsequently worked in Germany on global finance transactions for a Wall Street law firm and then returned to the United States to attend the University of Virginia School of Law, where she graduated in the top 10% of her class. During law school, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency Office of General Counsel in addition to leading global law firms. Shortly after graduating from law school, Ms. Arakelian transitioned into a corporate strategy and mergers and acquisition (M&A) role, and worked in a C-suite capacity for 3 separate Fortune 500 companies leading global strategy and M&A. She has structured numerous strategic transactions and investments across the globe, and has on the ground deal experience in over 25 countries. She developed unique expertise in comparative legal systems which was subsequently recognized by Georgetown Law through the award of a Global Health Law Fellowship in 2018. She was the recipient of a Fulbright Award to Saudi Arabia, advised the Republic of Armenia as an IGort Fellow and also received an Adjunct Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She has one son, Alexander, who lives in Munich, Germany and is working towards his doctorate in biomedical engineering at the Technical University of Munich.

Christine Arakelian

CEO, Theraxios

Fr. Ambrose Uchenna Ekeroku, is a Catholic Priest from Nigeria with a degree in Philosophy and Theology. He is a member of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites. He worked for 10 years as the Executive Director of Carmelites Prisoners’ Interest Organization (CAPIO) – a human rights not-for-profit organization and generally works on human rights and religious freedom issues. Currently, he is a graduate student at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and an intern at the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI).

Fr. Ambrose Uchenna Ekeroku, OCD

Order of the Discalced Carmelites

Mykhailo is the Director of the Religious Freedom Initiative of Mission Eurasia and the researcher and author of its recent Faith Under Fire reports. He graduated from St. Petersburg Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in theology. In 2004, he received a Master of Arts degree, and in 2014, a Master of Divinity degree from TCMI seminary in Austria. Since the late 1990s, Rev. Mykhailo Brytsyn has been teaching practical theology (Homiletics, Pastoral Theology, Marriage and Family) at various Christian educational institutions. He pastored Grace Baptist Church in Melitopol, Ukraine until 2022 when occupying Russian forces arrested him in the middle of a worship service, tortured him, and forced him to leave occupied Ukraine. 

Mykhailo Brytsyn

Director, Religious Freedom Initiative, Mission Eurasia

On July 1, 2022, Dmytro Lubinets was appointed the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman). He served as an Member of Parliament in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the for the 60th district (Donetsk region) from 2014 to 2022. Dmytro Lubinets was Chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, Deoccupation and Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories in Donetsk, Luhanskregions and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the City of Sevastopol, National Minorities and Interethnic Relations. He was Secretary of the Committee on Regulation and Organization of Work of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and a

Member of the Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the Parliamentary Assembly of the EU — Eastern Neighbors (PA EURONEST). Previously he was a member of the

Volnovakha City Council of the 6th convocation for the 9th majority district and worked as a private businessman.


Ombudsman Lubinets hold a Phd from the Mariupol State University Department of Political Science. He also has a degree from the Faculty of Law of the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in Kharkiv with judicial and prosecutorial specialization and a degree from the Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Faculty of History of Donetsk National University with a specialist degree in international relations.

Dmytro Lubinets

Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Ukraine

Viktor Yelenskyi is Head of the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Affairs and Freedom of Conscience to the Council of Ministers, the highest ranking Ukrainian official for religious affairs. He also serves as Chief Researcher at the Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine.

In 2014 Victor Yelenskyi was elected to the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine and during 2014-19 headed the Parliamentary Sub-Committee for Religion and State Affairs and Religious Freedom. In 2019, he served as a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In 2000 he drafted “Memorandum Religion and Socio-Cultural Changes in Central and Eastern Europe: Search for a Cultural Identity” distributed to members of Committee on Culture and Education Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which was foundational to Recommendation 1556 (2002) adopted by the Assembly on April 24, 2002.

Dr. Yelenskyi has edited the Ukrainian Journal for Religious Studies Lyudina i Svit, headed the Kyiv Bureau of Radio Liberty, taught courses on religious studies at Ukrainian Catholic University, Mikhailo Dragomanov National Pedagogical University, and the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine. He has been President of the Ukrainian Association for Religious Libertyfor many years. He has authored many books, articles, and essays on religious freedom, religion, and politics, global religious trends, and transformations, including Religion after Communism (2003, Kyiv: National Pedagogical UniversityPress) and Great Return: Religion in Global Politics and International Relations in the end of 20th and beginning of 21st centuries (2013, Lviv: Ukrainian Catholic University Press).

Viktor Yelenskyi earned his MA (History) Diploma with Highest Honor from Kyiv State University and earned Candidate of Science and Doctor of Science Diplomas from the Institute of Philosophy at National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

Viktor Yelenskyi

Head, State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Affairs and Freedom of Conscience to the Council of Ministers

Elisa von Joeden-Forgey is Executive Director of the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention. She was formerly the Endowed Chair in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State Collegeand director of the Master’s Program in Genocide Prevention and Human Security. Before this, she was the Dr. Marsha Raticoff Grossman Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University in New Jersey, where she also directed the master’s program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies and founded the world’s first academic, graduate-level Genocide Prevention Certificate Program. She is former President of Genocide Watch, former First Vice President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and co-founder of the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention. She received her MA and PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA from Columbia University.

Elisa von Joeden-Forgey

Executive Director, Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention

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