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
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 for the International Religious Freedom Summit and as a Senior Fellow at Open Doors USA. He and his wife Mary have five children and six grandchildren.
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.
Advisor to The President on Religious Freedom Conditions and Policy
Nancy Pelosi is the 52nd Speaker of the House of Representatives, having made history in 2007 when she was elected the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House. Now in her third term as Speaker, Pelosi made history again in January 2019 when she regained her position second-in-line to the presidency, the first person to do so in more than 60 years. As Speaker, Pelosi is fighting For The People, working to lower health care costs, increase workers’ pay through strong economic growth and rebuilding America, and clean up corruption for make Washington work for all.
Pelosi comes from a strong family tradition of public service. Her late father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., served as Mayor of Baltimore for 12 years, after representing the city for five terms in Congress. Her brother, Thomas D’Alesandro III, also served as Mayor of Baltimore. She graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She and her husband, Paul Pelosi, a native of San Francisco, have five grown children and nine grandchildren.
Speaker of the US House of Representatives
Michael R. Pompeo served as the 70th Secretary of State of the United States, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and was elected to four terms in Congress representing Kansas’ 4th District.
Secretary Pompeo graduated first in his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain. He rose to the rank of Captain and went on to graduate from Harvard Law School.
Before serving in Congress, he spent a decade leading two manufacturing businesses in South Central Kansas. Mike Pompeo is married to his wife, Susan—with whom he taught 5th grade Sunday school for many years—and has one son, Nick.
Honorable Michael R. Pompeo
Former US Secretary of State
Rep. French Hill is a ninth generation Arkansan currently representing the Second Congressional District of Arkansas. A devout Catholic, Rep. Hill has worked tirelessly to ensure religious freedom and liberty for people of faith across the globe.
In 2021, Rep. Hill reintroduced H.R. 117, Supporting Coptic Christians in Egypt. This resolution calls on the Egyptian government to take further action to promote religious tolerance and end religious discrimination against the nation’s Christian population. Later that year, Rep. Hill met with Catholic leaders and legislators to discuss the international impact of COVID-19 on the religious community, working towards make worship accessible for all.
Rep. Hill has also teamed up with Dr. Jim Carr, former Commissioner at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Together, the pair worked to promote religious liberty across the globe while leading the conversation domestically.
Congressman of Arkansas
When Marco Rubio was first elected to the United States Senate in 2010, he set one objective for himself while in office: to help bring the American Dream back into reach of those who feel it is slipping away. That’s the goal line Senator Rubio strives toward with each new legislative effort, and it’s the measure he uses to keep score.
Senator Rubio is passionate about the American Dream because he’s lived it himself. His parents came to America from Cuba in 1956 and earned their way to the middle class by working humble jobs. Through their loving and powerful example, he learned the importance of work and family, and came to realize that all things are possible in America. Now more than three years into his second term, he continues that important work to make the American Dream achievable for all.
Senator Rubio is a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, where he has advocated modernizing and reforming the federal government’s programs to help small businesses thrive in the 21st-century economy. As former Chairman of this Committee, Rubio authored the historic Paycheck Protection Program, which has been a lifeline to millions of small businesses and Americans workers as they battle the economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issue, Senator Rubio continues to fight for human rights and to uphold democracy around the globe.
Senator Rubio is also Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where he provides oversight over the U.S. government’s Intelligence Community and national security apparatus.
Additionally, Senator Rubio is a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee,
which is responsible for allocating funding for the federal government.
Senator Rubio has spent most of his life in West Miami and he still lives there today with his wife Jeanette and their four children.
Senator Marco Rubio
United States Senator for Florida
Fiona was first elected as Member of Parliament for the Congleton Constituency in 2010 with a majority of 7,063, and re-elected in 2015 with an increased majority of 16,773. She was re-elected again in 2017, with her highest share of the vote (57% – 31,830 votes). In 2019, Fiona was re-elected with 58.9% of the vote – 33,747 votes with an increased majority of 18,561.
Prior to 2010 Fiona practised as a solicitor, setting up her own business, and was national winner of the business woman of the year award “Women into Business” for the founding and successful development of her Law Firm Fiona Bruce & Co LLP, based in Cheshire.
Fiona has focused on championing individual freedoms and human rights, both in this country and abroad. Fiona served on the International Development Select Committee for four years and chaired the Parliamentary sub-committee overseeing the Independent Commission on Aid Inspections. She sat on the Parliamentary Joint-Committee on Human Rights, which has instigated many reports including into Freedom of Speech in Universities and the need for better care of Prisoners’ Children. She is also Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission (CPHRC), an appointment made by the then-Prime Minister. Recently Fiona launched the latest Report in her role as Chair of the CPHRC calling for the UK Government to change the law on Prostitution to both better support vulnerable victims of this international trade and help reduce human trafficking into the UK for this purpose ( full report on scribd.com); other Reports she has overseen by the CPHRC include on Forced Organ Harvesting and wider Human Rights violations in China, and in Russia.
Member of Parliament of the UK
Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law, emerita, at Harvard University, and a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. She writes in the fields of human rights, comparative law, and political theory. Glendon chaired the U.S. State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights (2019-2020) and served as a member of the Commission on International Religious Freedom (2012-2016), and the U.S. President’s Council on Bioethics (2001-2004). She received the National Humanities Medal in 2006. In 1991 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences from 2003 to 2013, a member of the Board of Supervisors of the Institute of Religious Works (Vatican Bank) from 2013 to 2018, and represented the Holy See at various conferences including the 1995 U.N. Women’s conference in Beijing where she headed the Vatican delegation. Glendon has contributed to legal and social thought in several widely translated works, bringing a comparative approach to a variety of subjects. They include The Forum and the Tower (2011), a series of biographical essays exploring the relation between political philosophy and politics-in-action; Traditions in Turmoil (2006), a collection of essays on law, culture and human rights; A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2001), a history of the framing of the UDHR; A Nation Under Lawyers (1996), a portrait of turbulence in the legal profession, analyzing the implications of changes in legal culture for a democratic polity that entrusts crucial roles to legally trained men and women; Rights Talk (1991), a critique of the impoverishment of political discourse; The Transformation of Family Law (1989), winner of the legal academy’s highest honor, the Order of the Coif Triennial Book Award; Abortion and Divorce in Western Law (1987), winner of the Scribes Book Award for best writing on a legal subject; The New Family and the New Property (1981), and textbooks on comparative legal traditions.
Mary Ann Glendon
Learned Hand Professor of Law, Emeritus Harvard Law School
Päivi Räsänen is a medical doctor and has been a Member of the Finnish Parliament for 27 years. She is the chair of the Christian Democratic Parliamentary Group. From 2004 to 2015, she was the chairwoman of the Finnish Christian Democrats. From June 2011 to May 2015, she was the Minister of the Interior of Finland. She lives in Riihimäki with her husband. They have five grown-up children and 10 grandchildren. She is also a member of Riihimäki City Council and a member of Church council. She has written several books from a Christian perspective, for example on marriage, abortion and euthanasia.
Three criminal charges have been filed against her because of her Christian beliefs and she has been in court twice. The prosecutor has announced that she will appeal to the unanimous acquittal verdict of the District Court in the “Bible Trial” to the Court of Appeal on all counts. Päivi is ready to defend freedom of speech and religion in the higher courts, including the European court of Human rights, if necessary.
Member of the Finnish Parliament
Dr Ewelina U Ochab is a lawyer, human rights advocate and author. She is a programme lawyer with the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute and deputy director of Refcemi, working closely with Archbishop Angaelos. In 2019, Dr Ochab co-founded the Coalition for Genocide Response. Dr Ochab works on the topic of genocide, with specific focus on the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities around the world, with main projects including the Daesh genocide in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram atrocities in West Africa, the situation of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and of the Uyghurs in China. Dr Ochab also works on the issue of conflict-related sexual violence. Ochab has written over 30 reports for the UN (including Universal Periodic Review reports) and has made oral and written submissions at the Human Rights Council, the UN Forum on Minority Issues, PACE and other international and regional fora. Ochab authored the initiative and proposal to establish the UN International Day Commemorating Victims and Survivors of Religious Persecution. The initiative has led to the establishment of the UN International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief on August 22. Her new book, co-authored with Lord Alton of Liverpool, entitled State Responses to Crimes of Genocide: What Went Wrong and How to Change It will be published in August 2022.
Dr. Ewelina U Ochab
IBAHRI programme lawyer, Refcemi deputy director, Coalition for Genocide Response co-founder
The Rev. Dr. Andrew P.W. Bennett is a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic deacon of the Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada. Fr. Deacon Andrew also serves as Senior Fellow at Cardus, Canada’s faith-based think-tank, where he is Programme Director of Cardus Law which looks at the role of law in society with a particular focus on religious freedom in Canada. Fr. Deacon Andrew previously served in the Canadian foreign service as Canada’s first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Head of the Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016 during which time he led in defending and championing religious freedom internationally as a core element of Canada’s principled foreign policy. He remains a regular and active commentator on religious freedom in Canada and abroad. Fr. Deacon Andrew’s ambassadorial appointment was the culmination of a 14-year career in the Canadian civil service. He holds a B.A. Hons. in History (Dalhousie), an M.A. in History (McGill), and a Ph.D. in Politics (Edinburgh).
Rev. Dr. Andrew P.W. Bennett
Ukrainian Greek-Catholic deacon of the Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada
Greg Mitchell serves as Chair of the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Roundtable in Washington, D.C., a multi-faith, inclusive, equal citizenship space that has proven it is possible for faith and belief communities to engage one another cooperatively across their deepest differences and build mutual respect, trust, and reliance while working together to engage governments and advance freedom of thought, conscience, and religion for all.
Greg also serves as Chair of IRF Secretariat, a non-governmental organization that was founded as a global leadership and coordination mechanism for the FORB movement. With support from Templeton Religion Trust, IRF Secretariat is building a global network of civil society roundtables and is preparing to launch a 3-year project that is designed to institutionalize a new approach for the movement, centered on cooperative engagement (that respects/protects the other’s human dignity and liberty of conscience) and strategic planning, alignment, and coordination.
Before starting his own government relations firm in 2003 and working on criminal justice reform and religious freedom issues, Greg served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman James E. Rogan (1997-2000).
IRF Secretariat Chairman
Enes Kanter Freedom
American Professional Basketball Player
Bishop Malloy was born Feb. 3, 1956 in Milwaukee, Wis., the son of David (deceased) and Mary Malloy.
He has one sister Mary Ellen and four brothers; Daniel, Father Francis, Robert and Richard.
He attended Christ King Grade School in Wauwatosa, Wis., and graduated from Wauwatosa East School in 1974. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. He studied one year at St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee and five years at the Gregorian University in Rome where he received advanced degrees in theology.
He was ordained to the priesthood in 1983 by Archbishop Rembert Weakland.
He served two years as associate pastor of St. John Nepomuk Parish in Racine. In preparation for the Vatican Diplomatic Service he attended the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy from 1986 to 1990 where he received a degree in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, (Angelicum) and a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University. After his studies, he served as secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature (Vatican Embassies) in Pakistan (1990-1994) and the Apostolic Nunciature in Syria (1995). From 1995 to 1998 he was secretary to the Permanent Observer Mission to the Holy See. Bishop Malloy left the Diplomatic Service in 1998 and served for two and a half years in the Vatican’s prefecture of the Papal Household helping with the Great Jubilee Year of 2000.
In 2001 he was appointed Associate General Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and in 2006 began a five year term as General Secretary. After his term at the USCCB ended, Bishop Malloy was assigned to be pastor at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lake Geneva where he served from Aug. 1, 2011 until his appointment to lead the Diocese of Rockford.
He was ordained and installed as the ninth Bishop of Rockford on Monday, May 14, 2012.
He speaks Italian, Spanish and some French.
Bishop David Malloy
Ninth Bishop of Rockford
On June 23, 2017 His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued Royal Decree No. 34/2017 appointing Shaikh Abdulla bin Rashid bin Abdulla Al ~Khalifa as the ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States of America.
Shaikh Abdulla obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Bentley University. He continued his studies at the same university and received a Master in Business Administration. Shaikh Abdulla attained a certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School focusing on “Innovation in Governance” as part of his executive education program. He is currently pursuing a PhD at the International School of Management based in Paris.
Shaikh Abdulla’s post-graduate career started at the Royal Court where he worked and oversaw Educational, Medical and Social Aﬀairs.
He then joined the General Organization for Youth and Sports as the Director of Planning and Follow-up and was later appointed Director of Financial and Human Resources.
In 2010, he was appointed as Governor of the Southern Governorate of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the largest in size and with the highest potential for development.
As part of a collaborative eﬀort between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States of America, Shaikh Abdulla launched a partnership between the Governorate and the American non-profit organization D.A.R.E. to develop and deploy an anti-violence and anti-addiction program delivered by trained community police oﬃcers in local elementary and secondary schools. The initiative would later transform into a national program sponsored by the Kingdom’s National Anti- Drug Committee, on which Shaikh Abdulla serves.
Shaikh Abdulla played an active role in drafting the National Anti-Drug Strategy in conjunction with the regional oﬃce of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which was launched in 2016.
In 2016, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa AlKhalifa granted Shaikh Abdulla bin Rashed AlKhalifa an Honorary Distinction Award recognizing his gubernatorial achievements and contributions.
In Oct. 2019 Bahrain Ambassador to the United States, Shaikh Abdullah bin Rashid Al Khalifa, received the 2019 Stevie Award for the personality of the year category, for his role in the founding and development of the of the Maan “Together” program against violence and addiction.
His Excellency Shaikh Abdullah Bin Rashid Al Khalifa
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States
Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry advocates on behalf of those who are persecuted for their Christian faith. He provides leadership to Open Doors in its mission to strengthen and equip Christians who live under extreme restrictions, while encouraging these believers to remain strong in their faith.
For over 60 years, Open Doors has worked in the world’s most oppressive regions, empowering and equipping persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries by providing Bibles, training, and programs to help those who have been marginalized because of their beliefs as well as helping to restore those communities that have been targets of persecution. For twenty years Open Doors has published the World Watch List, a report on the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian.
Since assuming the role of CEO in August 2013, Curry has traveled extensively to the field to encourage those living under persecution and support the work of Open Doors. He appears frequently on Fox News and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. He has also been published or featured in sources such as CBS News, CNN, The Washington Post, Christianity Today, USA Today, The Christian Post, and other news outlets.
Prior to coming to Open Doors, Curry served as CEO and president at Christian organizations that serve homeless and neglected children in several countries, including India and Peru.
Curry is the author of four books: First Aid for Enablers, It’s Not How Far You Fall It’s How High You Bounce, God Plays Golf and Change Your World!
Curry holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwest University in Seattle and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Faith Evangelical College and Seminary based in Tacoma, Washington.
Based in Santa Ana, California, Curry and his wife have two children.
President and CEO of Open Doors USA
David Patrick Paul Alton, Baron Alton of Liverpool, KCSG, KCMCO was born in London of British and Irish parents and holds both British and Irish citizenship. He was educated at Edmund Campion School, Essex; Christ College Liverpool (achieved academic distinctions); St. Andrews University, Scotland (fellowship). He was Professor of Citizenship, Liverpool John Moores University (1997-2016), Hon. Professor at Yanbian University, China, and Visiting Professor Liverpool Hope University. For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer. He began his career as a teacher and, in 1972, while still a student, he was elected to Liverpool City Council as Britain’s youngest City Councillor. In 1979 he became the youngest member of the House of Commons and, in 1997, and when he stood down from the Commons, he was appointed a Life Peer. His motto on his Coat of Arms is taken from the Book of Deuteronomy: Choose Life. In 1990, with Ken Hargreaves MP, he co-founded the nonpartisan Movement for Christian Democracy which emerged from the Epiphany Group which he had convened the previous year. It published its Westminster Declaration based on six principles: social justice, respect for life, active compassion, empowerment and good stewardship. He was one of the six MPs who first called for the televised broadcasting of Parliament; one of the officers of the parliamentary committee that opposed anti-personnel land mines; one of the six signatories of the Motion that challenged the safety of the convictions of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four; and one of the four Peers who moved the “Dubs amendment” to provide sanctuary in the UK for unaccompanied refugee children.
Lord Alton is Founder and co-chairman of the British-DPRK All-Party Parliamentary Group, and visited Pyongyang on four occasions, including in October 2010 when he had talks with leaders of the North Korean government including Choe Thae Bok, chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s rubber-stamp parliament and when he protested about human rights violations in that country, raising specific cases with their Ministers. He details his experiences in his book, written with Rob Chidley,”Bulding Bridges: Is there Hope For North Korea?” (Lion 2013) one of eleven books he has authored.
In March 2017, as a member of the Sages Group (to which he was appointed in 2016), he spoke at a forum of the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, alongside His Honour Judge Michael Kirby (chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry into North Korea) and Dr.Marzuki Darusman, former UN Special Rapporteur on North Korea, and called for the regime’s leaders to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.
In Parliament, he is co-Chairman of the All Party Groups on North Korea and Pakistan Minorities.
He is Secretary and a past Chairman of the All Party Group on Sudan and South Sudan, visited the South during the civil war and visited Darfur. He has regularly highlighted the atrocities committed there, including a 2016 letter to The Timesabout the alleged use of chemical weapons in Darfur.
He serves as Vice Chairman of the All Party Groups on Egypt, Tibet, Eritrea, Haiti, and Uganda and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy in Burma; and is Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests which was established to investigate and highlight the use of the drug ‘Primodos’. He was a Founder of the All Party Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief. He is a Patron of the London-based rights group Save the Congo!
In 2016 he was appointed as one of the “Sages” International Advisory Group on North Korea’s Human Rights. In November 2018 he visited Pakistan, travelling to Lahore and Islamabad, and raised the case of Asia Bibi the plight of minorities. In Washington he spoke at a meeting in Congress about the persecution of Copts and in New York at a Summit on the infringements to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Lord David Alton
Lord Baron Alton of Liverpool
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization with more than 400,000 family members.
Rabbi Cooper has been a longtime activist for Jewish and human rights causes on five continents. In 1977, he came to Los Angeles to help Rabbi Marvin Hier found the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Together with Rabbi Hier, Rabbi Cooper regularly meets with world leaders, including Pope Francis, presidents and foreign ministers to defend the rights of the Jewish people, combat terrorism and promote multi-faith relations worldwide.
Rabbi Cooper is an acknowledged expert on online hate and terrorism and has helped produce and present the SWC’s renowned traveling exhibitions at the Vatican, the UN, Knesset, US Congress, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Buenos Aires. He is a founder of the Global Forum on Anti-Semitism. Rabbi Cooper has worked extensively with Arab leaders in the Gulf States and witnessed the historic UAE/Bahrain/Israel Abraham Accords ceremony at the White House.
In 2020, Rabbi Cooper co-authored with Rev. Johnnie Moore, The Next Jihad, based on their interviews with scores of Christian survivors of deadly Islamist terrorist attacks in Nigeria.
He is a recipient of Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Community Service Leadership Memorial Award, a recipient of an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University and the Orthodox Union’s National Leadership Award. His op-eds appear in major US and Israeli outlets, in Asia and in the Arab News and Al-Arabiya. Newsweek/Daily Beast lists Rabbi Cooper and Rabbi Hier as No. 8 among the 50 Most Influential Rabbis in the US.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center
Omer Kanat was born in Ghulja city in East Turkestan and current Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Uyghur Congress. He helped found UHRP in 2003, as well as the World Uyghur Youth Congress, where he served for two terms as President from 1996 to 2000. He helped found and has served as the Vice-President of the World Uyghur Congress since 2006, prior to taking up the position of Director of UHRP in 2017, Mr. Kanat simultaneously served as the International Outreach Coordinator for the World Uyghur Congress, Director of the International Uyghur and Human Rights and Democracy Foundation (IUHRDF) and Vice-President of the Uyghur-American Association. From 1999 to 2009 Mr. Kanat was the Senior Editor of Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service, where he covered the War in Afghanistan and Iraq, edited Uyghur-language news, conducted exclusive interviews with prominent figures in Inner Asia, including his holiness the Dalai Lama, and reported on breaking news from around the world. In addition, he served as the Editor and later Senior Editor of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service. Mr. Kanat is fluent in English, German, Uyghur, Turkish, Persian, Tajik, Dari, Uzbek, and is functionally proficient in the Kyrgyz and Kazakh languages.
Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Uyghur Congress
Thomas Farr serves as President of the Religious Freedom Institute, a non-profit that works to advance religious freedom for everyone, both as a source of individual human dignity and flourishing, and as a source of political stability, economic development, and international security.
A leading authority on international religious freedom, Dr. Farr served for 28 years in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Foreign Service. In 1999 he became the first director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom. He subsequently directed the Witherspoon Institute’s International Religious Freedom (IRF) Task Force, was a member of the Chicago World Affairs Council’s Task Force on Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy, taught at the National Defense University, and served on the Secretary of State’s IRF working group.
From 2008 – 2018 Dr. Farr was Associate Professor of the Practice of Religion and World Affairs at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He also directed the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown’s Berkley Center.
A PhD in History from the University of North Carolina, Farr is a senior fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He serves as a consultant to the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference, and as a member of the advisory councils for the Human Rights Program at Catholic University, the international division of Alliance Defending Freedom, the Alexander Hamilton Society, and the National Museum of American Religion.
His many published works include World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty is Vital to American National Security (Oxford University Press, 2008), a book that has shaped U.S. religious freedom legislation and foreign policy.
President of the Religious Freedom Institute
Jeff King grew up in an atheist/agnostic home in Washington, DC. At age 23, after reading the Bible on his own for 10 years, he came to Christ through the faithful witness of believers he met as he walked from one bar to the next.
Jeff refers to himself as a radical pagan who became a radical for Christ.
Jeff graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Finance and took up work in corporate and mortgage banking.
In 1992, the Lord led Jeff to join the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ International and work with Co-Mission, a coalition of ministries and churches whose goal was to reach Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union. He helped Co-Mission recruit thousands of believers for short-term mission trips and/or one-year stints as missionaries, working with Russian teachers. The ministry trained more than 40,000 teachers to teach Christian Morals and Ethics, a curriculum specifically designed for Co-Mission. Many of these teachers still use the curriculum today.
Jeff helped found Campus Crusade’s Macedonia Project in 1997 and served until 2002 as Director of Marketing and Promotion. The ministry trained U.S. Christians to spread the gospel to unreached people groups around the world.
The Lord used a dream in the fall of 2002 to call Jeff to the mission and work of ICC.
Jeff has traveled to approximately 50 nations around the globe. His inspiring stories and incredible life experiences, combined with his passion for the persecuted, make him an energetic and compelling speaker.
President of International Christian Concern
Michal Cotler-Wunsh was Member of Israel’s 23rd Knesset. She served as Chair of the Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Use; Chair of the Subcommittee on Israel-Diaspora Relations; and as a member of the Foreign Affairs and Security, Law, Children’s Rights, Women’s Rights, and Immigration and Integration Committees. Michal was appointed as a first time Liaison to the Issue of the ICC, as co-chair of the Canada-Israel interparliamentary friendship group and as member of several other inter-Parliamentary friendship and working groups.
Recognizing the imperative for engagement, Cotler-Wunsh held hearings in Knesset on identifying and removing hurdles to immigration to Israel (Aliya) and to relations with diaspora communities; led hearings regarding the imperative and challenges of combating antisemitism and was a founding member of the Interparliamentary Bi-Partisan Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism, alongside legislators from the US, Canada, Australian and the UK.
Based on accumulated experience and expertise, Michal is a sought-after public speaker to diverse audiences in Israel and abroad. She serves as senior public policy & strategy advisor on issues of internal Israeli resiliency, Israel-diaspora relations and challenges to Israel’s legitimacy, identifying, exposing and combatting double standards and antisemitism.
Michal heads the NefeshBNefesh Institute for Aliya Policy & Strategy; is JFNA consultant functioning as a ‘scholar in residence’; and advises various organizations and initiatives.
Michal was born in Israel and grew up in Canada. She received her LL.B. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and her LL.M. from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She is a PhD candidate in the Human Rights under Pressure – Ethics, Law and Politics program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Freie Universität of Berlin, researching freedom of speech on University campuses and tracking the effects of (attempted) regulation of rights.
Based on her background and commitment to human rights, to a Jewish and democratic Israel and to the Jewish people, Michal was and remains a legal advisor to the Goldin family, dedicated to the return of deceased Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, as well as Israeli civilians Avera Mengistu and Hisham a-Sayed through the reaffirmation of international law and utilization of the language of rights, as a case study for the imperative for equal and consistent application of foundational principles that trustees of international law and human rights are mandated to uphold, promote and protect.
Former Member of the Knesset
Azra Jafari is an Afghan politician and author. She was appointed as the first female mayor in Afghanistan by President Hamid Karzai in December 2008. She became the mayor of Nili, a town in Daykundi Province of Afghanistan. She belongs to the Hazara ethnic group.
Azra Jafari was editor-in-chief of Afghan social and cultural magazine Farhang in 1998. Later, she established an elementary school for Afghan refugees in Iran while she was working as Officer in Charge in Refugees’ Cultural Center. In 2001, Jafari joined Emergency Loya Jirga in Kabul. In December 2008, she was appointed as the first and only female mayor in Afghanistan. She was appointed as the mayor of Nili town
Jafari has been involved in the writing of two books since returning to Afghanistan. She contributed to The Making of the New Constitution of Afghanistan, which is about the political system and processes in Afghanistan and was published in 2003. She wrote I am a Working Woman, which talks about employment law and the rights of Afghan women in the labour market, and was published in 2008.
Azra Jafari has been awarded the Meeto Memorial Award at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts for her work and commitment to social development.
Former Mayor of Nili
Elizabeth Lane Miller is a women’s persecution specialist at Open Doors, a ministry serving persecuted Christians. She cowrites the annual Gender-Specific Religious Persecution Analysis report and codevelops materials to strengthen Christian communities in the face of these pressures.
Elizabeth Lane Miller
Women’s Persecution Specialist at Open Doors
Rev. Vijayesh Lal serves as the General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI). He has been deeply involved in training, socio economic development, advocacy, and research initiatives in and outside India. He is presently the Editor of a monthly magazine AIM published by EFI publication Trust in India. He has been writing for various journals.
Reverand Vijavesh Lal
General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India
Allison works at the intersection of religion and society in an effort to better understand the ways we include or exclude on the basis of religious difference, and to radically expand inclusion. She believes this means tackling religious polarization, religious bigotry, and reckoning with our own personal and social failures.
Allison served the program as consultant and advisor from 2017-2019, including as editor of Pluralism in Peril: Challenges to an American Ideal, before coming on as Assistant Director in 2019. She began her career in the non-profit sector at the El-Hibri Foundation after earning her doctorate in Church History from The Catholic University of America in 2015. She also holds a B.A. in History from the University of North Florida and an M.Phil. in Church History from the University of Cambridge.
Her current research interests include understanding faith-inspired nonprofits, religious literacy, and religion and philanthropy. She has authored But What if They Preach, The Multiplier Effect, and has work forthcoming in The Foundation Review as well as a book with Oxford University Press.
Her doctoral research on the history of Christianity focused on societal boundaries, rhetoric, and justification of coercion in the social body. She will no doubt get excessively excited if you ask her about it. She has a broad range of experience in academic and administrative settings, including academic expertise in teaching, researching and editing, and administrative expertise in managing grants, major events and operations, and developing database systems. She sings joyfully and bakes for friends.
Dr. Allison K. Ralph
Associate Director of the Religion & Society Program at the Aspen Institute
Growing up as a Baptist pastor’s kid in a small town in East Texas, Bob got the chance to learn the Bible at a young age. He developed strong theological opinions, but didn’t know how to live it outside the church. He knew how to debate his faith, but didn’t know how to love.
After marrying his high school sweetheart Niki, Bob, who initially felt that he was going to be a global missionary, felt a calling to plant Northwood Church in Keller (Dallas/Fort Worth), Texas. During the early days in his church ministry, two questions radically impacted his life: ‘When will Jesus be enough?’ & ‘What if the church were the missionary?’.
Drawing inspiration from early church history and the emerging church in the developing world, Bob envisioned a new way of engaging the local church to achieve common goals. He calls for building a church culture rather than a church program. Glocal (Local + Global) churches that make disciples who, transformed by the Holy Spirit, are infiltrating today’s culture on a global and local scale. He believes that instead of just paying a few people to do the mission work for your church, your entire church needs to be mobilized to use their job and skills to live on mission both in your city and around the world.
As he began to build friendships around the world, he realized he had so much to learn! He is conservative in theology but realized the problem is not what he believed or what Jesus said; it is how we live that out. His theology didn’t change; his methodology did. Faith in the public square is where theological conviction doesn’t put you in opposition with other people.
Ever since, Bob has been a trailblazer in the peacemaking and international religious freedom arenas. He is frequently called upon by the U.S. Department of State, United Nations, U.S. Islamic World Forum, World Economic Forum, ambassadors, international royal families, diplomats, policy leaders, and others for his groundbreaking work in this field. He seeks to build and execute a model whereby multi-faith and church planting combine to create flourishing cities. Bob has had the honor of engaging in bridge-building efforts in Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Israel, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Egypt, West Bank, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, and others.
Bob Roberts, Jr. is the founder of GlocalNet, a non-profit dedicated to mobilizing the church for transformation in the public square, founder and chairman of Glocal Ventures Inc (GVI) and co-founder of Multi-Faith Neighbors Network (MFNN), a multifaith organization committed to creating international religious freedom through intentional cross-cultural relationships. He is also currently the Senior Global Pastor at Northwood Church and host of the Bold Love podcast.
Bob has contributed or been featured on the World Economic Forum, Fox Business Channel, Washington Post, New York Times, Huckabee Show, Religious News Service, C-Span, Templeton Religions Trust, El-Hibri, Christianity Today, Outreach Magazine and more.
Bob is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary (Doctorate of Ministry), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Masters of Divinity), and Baylor University (BA). He and his wife Niki have two children and three grandchildren.
Bob Roberts Jr.
Co-Founder of Multi-Faith Neighbors Network
Imam Mohamed Magid is the Executive Imam of All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia. He is the Chairman of International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC) and the former President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). He is also the Chairman of Muflehun, a think tank which focuses on confronting violent extremist thought through research-driven preventative programs within a religious paradigm. Imam Magid has a long history of commitment to public service through organizations, such as The Peaceful Families Project.
Imam Magid has co-authored three books: Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples, Reflections on the Qur’an, and Change from Within. He has helped in organizing training and workshops for Imams and religious leaders, domestically and internationally, on the issue of violence against women. Imam Magid is also leading an initiative to protect religious minorities in Muslim majority countries through seminars and Imam training workshops. He has written for the Washington Post and Huffington Post, and has been profiled in Time Magazine and Wall Street Journal. He is the recipient for the Washingtonian of the Year 2009 and the Human Rights Award 2005 from Fairfax County.
Imam Mohamed Magid
Co-Founder Multi-Faith Neighbors Network
Nadine Maenza is a noted speaker, writer, and policy expert with more than two decades of experience as an advocate for working families and a champion for international religious freedom.
Nadine is the President of Patriot Voices, where she provides her expertise to shape the organization’s special emphasis on public policies that support working families. Drawing on her extensive network and coalition-building experiences, she has helped build unique coalitions on issues such as paid family leave, health care, tax reform, and international religious freedom.
Since June 2021, Nadine has served as the Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, having been re-appointed by the White House in May of 2020 to a second two-year term. She served as Vice Chair in 2019. She has represented USCIRF in delegations to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Thailand, Taiwan, and Uzbekistan. She has traveled in her own personal capacity to better understand religious freedom conditions in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Bangladesh as well as recently spending a month in northeast Syria. She is most honored to have met with persecuted communities of various faiths from around the world.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Global Engagement, the Sinjar Academy, and the Freedom Research Foundation. Previously, she was Chairman of Hardwired Global, an organization working to stop religious oppression around the world. Nadine has advised several major organizations on faith engagement, policy development, and strategic partnerships through The Clapham Group including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The College Board, and The Anne E. Casey Foundation.
She has served as a senior advisor to presidential and Senate campaigns. She has decades of experience in fundraising and coalition building, having worked with presidential and Senate super PACs, served as the finance director for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, and as a consultant to the Republican National Committee. She worked on Capitol Hill in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Nadine’s writings on various policy topics have been published in numerous publications domestically and internationally. She is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University. She is married with three children living outside of Philadelphia in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Former Chair of USCIRF
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.
The Rex E. Lee Chair and Professor of Law; Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies
Justin Baldoni is an actor, director, producer, speaker, and entrepreneur who is focused creating impactful media and entertainment.
After creating and directing the award-winning documentary series, My Last Days, Baldoni made his feature film directorial debut this year with FIVE FEET APART. He also produced the film which went on to crush box office predictions and has grossed over $80 million worldwide. Baldoni will next direct CLOUDS for Warner Bros.
On the acting front, Baldoni is best known for playing “Rafael” on The CW’s award-winning phenomenon, Jane the Virgin. The fifth and final season is currently airing.
As an entrepreneur, Baldoni co-founded Wayfarer Entertainment-a cause-driven media studio focused on creating content that highlights inspiration, unity, and the power of human connection. Through this platform, he created the dinner conversation series, Man Enough, which dives into traditional masculinity while focusing on topics like body image, relationships, and fatherhood. He has spoken about his own journey with masculinity in a viral TED talk as well as across college campuses in America.
Baldoni founded and is a chairman of The Wayfarer Foundation, a non-profit organization that puts on one of Los Angeles’ largest volunteer events-The Carnival of Love-which provides connection, services, and resources to people who are experiencing homelessness in LA’s Skid Row community and will expand nationally in 2020.
Baldoni currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.
Naomi Kikoler is the director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. As the Center’s deputy director she led Center’s policy engagement with the United States government and work on Bearing Witness countries, including undertaking the documentation of the commission of genocide by ISIS. Previously she developed and implemented the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect’s work on populations at risk and efforts to advance R2P globally and led the Centre’s advocacy, including targeting the United Nations Security Council. Prior to joining the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect in 2008, she worked on national security and refugee law and policy for Amnesty International Canada. She has also worked for the UN Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, the Office of the Prosecutor at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement at the Brookings Institution, and she worked as an election monitor in Kenya with the Carter Center. She has been an adjunct professor at the New School University and is the author of numerous publications, including the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s 2015 report, Our Generation is Gone: The Islamic States Targeting of Minorities in Ninewa, the 2013 Nexus Fund series on the emerging powers and mass atrocity prevention, and the 2011 report Risk Factors and Legal Norms Associated with Genocide Prevention for the UN Office on the Prevention of Genocide and the Jacob Blaustein Institute. She is a graduate of McGill University’s Faculty of Law, Oxford University, where her masters thesis was on the Rwandan genocide, and the University of Toronto. She is a board member of the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the Free Yezidi Foundation, is a Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, and was called to the Bar of Upper Canada.
Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide
Ruiting Ren, the member of The Early Rain Reformed House Church.
Survivor of Persecution
Minister João Lucas Quental Novaes de Almeida is the current director of the Department of Human Rights and Citizenship in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil. As a career diplomat for almost thirty years, he has served in several posts, including the Permanent Missions of Brazil to the United Nations in New York and Geneva. Minister João Lucas graduated in Economics and obtained master’s degrees in International Relations from the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and from the London School of Economics (LSE).
Minister João Lucas Quental Novaes de Almeida
Director of the Department of Human Rights and Citizenship in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil
Gregory John Mansour is an American Maronite prelate, who has served as the eparch (bishop) of the Maronite Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, a diocese based in Brooklyn, New York, covering the Maronite Church in the eastern United States since 2004.
On 10 January 2004 Mansour was appointed to the office of the Eparchy of Brooklyn succeeding Bishop Stephen Youssef Doueihi who retired., being ordained eparch on March 2, 2004, by Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, ruler of the Maronite Church and his co-consecrators were Roland Aboujaoudé, titular bishop of Arca in Phoenicia of the Maronites and Stephen Youssef Doueihi, emeritus bishop of the Eparchy of Brooklyn. On April 27, 2004, Mansour was installed as eparch of Brooklyn.
Bishop Mansour was appointed chairman of Catholic Relief Services’ board of directors on 22 November 2016, succeeding Archbishop of Oklahoma City Paul S. Coakley in the position. Mansour had previously travelled to Lebanon and Jordan to review CRS efforts to help refugees of the Syrian Civil War, as well as El Salvador and Egypt on behalf of CRS.
Bishop Gregory Mansour
Bishop of Saint Maron of Brooklyn
Morton A. Klein is National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest pro-Israel group in the U.S., founded in 1897. He is a member of the National Council of AIPAC. Mr. Klein is widely regarded as one of the leading Jewish activists in the United States.
The US Department of State has awarded Klein a “Certificate of Appreciation” “in recognition of outstanding contributions to national and international affairs,” after he delivered a major address there. He is a member of the International Board of Governors of the College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel, Israel.
He is an economist who served in the Nixon, Ford, and Carter Administrations. He has served as a biostatistician at UCLA School of Public Health and the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto, California. He has been a lecturer in mathematics and statistics at Temple University.
His successful campaigns against anti-Israel bias in leading textbooks, travel guides, universities, churches, and the media, as well as his work on Capitol Hill, were the subject of 30 feature stories both here and in Israel. His scientific research on nutrition and heart disease was cited by Discover Magazine as one of the Top 50 Scientific Studies of 1992. He has been invited to testify before the US Congress, Including the US House International Relations Committee, and the Israeli Knesset.
He traveled to Germany and persuaded the publishers of Baedeker’s, the world’s leading travel guide, to correct the many anti-Israel errors in its guides to Israel and Jerusalem. He launched a campaign to correct dozens of anti-Israel errors in D.C. Heath’s “The Enduring Vision,” the most widely used American high school and college history textbook.
More than 300 of his articles and letters have been published in newspapers, magazines, and scientific journals around the world. Klein has appeared on TV and radio. Lines from his speeches appear in the respected volume entitled “Great Jewish Quotations,” He is on the speaker’s bureau of UJC, and Israel Bonds.
National President of the Zionist Organization of America
The Honorable Mary Beth Long served over 17 years in government and was the first woman confirmed to a four-star military equivalent position by the U.S. Senate, as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. She also chaired NATO’s nuclear policy-making body. After government, Ms. Long became a successful entrepreneur and advisor. She meets regularly with senior officials globally. Professor Long teaches Intelligence and Foreign Policy at Penn State’s graduate School of International Affairs.
Mary Beth Long
Former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
Farahnaz Ispahani is a Public Policy Fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC and the author of the book Purifying The Land of The Pure: The History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities (Oxford University Press, 2017). In 2015, she was a Reagan-Fascell Scholar at the National Endowment for Democracy, in Washington, DC. And a Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center from 2013-2014.
A Pakistani politician, Ispahani served as a Member of Parliament and Media Advisor to the President of Pakistan from 2008-2012. She returned to Pakistan with Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007 after opposing the Musharraf dictatorship in the preceding years. In Parliament she focused on the issues of terrorism, human rights, gender based violence, minority rights and US-Pakistan relations. The most notable pieces of legislation enacted with her active support include those relating to Women’s Harassment in the Workplace and Acid Crimes and Control, which made disfiguring of women by throwing acid at them a major crime. She was also a member of the Women’s caucus in the 13th National Assembly. The caucus, which straddled political divides, was instrumental in introducing more legislation on women’s issues than has ever been done before during a single parliamentary term.
Ms. Ispahani spent the formative years of her career as a print and television journalist. Her last journalistic position was as Executive Producer and Managing Editor of Voice of America’s Urdu TV. She has also worked at ABC News, CNN and MSNBC.
She has contributed opinion pieces to the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, The National Review, The Hindu, India, The News, Pakistan and The Huffington Post.
Ms Ispahani has spoken at many forums in the US and abroad including the Aspen Ideas Festival, The Brussels Forum, The Aspen Congressional Program, The Chautauqua Institute, The University of Pennsylvania, Wellesley College, Jamia Millia University, Delhi.
Former Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan
Michael P. Farris is president and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom. As the second CEO of ADF, he brings to the role a diverse background as an effective litigator, educator, public advocate, and communicator, and is widely recognized for his successful work on both the national and international stage.
Farris was founding president of both the Home School Legal Defense Association (1983) and Patrick Henry College (2000) and continues to serve as chairman of the board of HSLDA and chancellor emeritus of PHC.
Farris has specialized in constitutional appellate litigation. In that capacity, he has argued before the appellate courts of 13 states, eight federal circuit courts of appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court, where in 2018 he successfully argued NIFLA v. Becerra, resulting in a free speech victory for California’s pro-life pregnancy centers.
Farris has testified many times before both the House and Senate. He was an executive committee member of the Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion that successfully lobbied Congress for the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. He also has substantial experience in international religious freedom advocacy.
Farris is the author of over 15 books, as well as law review and other scholarly and popular articles. He and his wife, Vickie, have 10 children and many grandchildren.
President and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom
When he was two years old, Arjia Rinpoche was recognized as the incarnation of the father of Lama Tsong Khapa, the great thirteenth-century Buddhist reformer, and, as such, became the Abbot of Kumbum Monastery located in eastern Tibet.
From age twelve to fourteen when the Chinese policies slightly eased, Rinpoche studied at Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, the monastery of the Panchen Lama. From age fourteen to twenty-seven during the Cultural Revolution, the political situation got much worse again, and he had to work in the fields at hard labor with other lamas and monks.
In 1979 he was reinstated as Abbot of Kumbum Monastery and advanced in the governmental hierarchy. In 1998, he was about to become leader of the Chinese National Buddhist Association. In a crisis of conscience, he escaped from Beijing to Guatemala and, with the help of the Dalai Lama sought asylum in the United States.
Rinpoche settled in Mill Valley, California where he established the Tibetan Center for Compassion and Wisdom. In 2005, His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked him to become the director of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington, Indiana. He moved to Bloomington in February 2006 where he has renovated the center and continues to promote Buddh
Tibetan Buddhist Leader
Sharon Eubank has been the first counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) since April 2017 and is also the director of Latter-day Saints Charity.
Upon graduating from BYU, Eubank accepted a position teaching English in Suzuka, Japan. After returning to the United States, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked for four years as a legislative aid to U.S. senators Alan Simpson and Jake Garn. Following her work in Washington, Eubank returned to Utah to start a business. She and her business partner sold educational toys and games for seven years before selling the business in 1998.
From 2009 to 2012, Eubank served on the Relief Society General Board, while Julie B. Beck was president. She has served as first counselor to Jean B. Bingham in the Relief Society General Presidency since April 2017. In 2017 she traveled to Uganda with Beck at the invitation of UNICEF. In 2020 she addressed the G20 Interfaith Forum hosted by Saudi Arabia, discussing disaster response, food supply chains, and involving faith communities in emergency preparation and response efforts. In 2020, Eubank joined a CROP hunger walk for the Church World Service to walk in solidarity against hunger.
Director of Latter-day Saint Charities
Kevin Roberts, Ph.D., was named president of The Heritage Foundation in October 2021. He succeeded former Heritage President Kay C. James as the seventh president in the organization’s 49-year history.
Roberts previously served as the chief executive officer of the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), an Austin-based nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute and the largest state think tank in the nation. Under Roberts’ leadership, TPPF more than doubled in size. He also expanded the Texas think tank’s influence nationwide, opening an office in Washington, D.C., so that TPPF research might better inform federal policy debates.
As president of The Heritage Foundation, Roberts will continue to lead policy research efforts on many of the issues he championed at TPPF, including education, health care, border security, election integrity, and more, and his leadership will also be critical in pushing back on the radical, socialist agenda being advanced by the left at all levels of government. At a time when so many bad ideas are coming out of Washington, his experience advancing sound policy at the state and national levels will be vital.
President of The Heritage Foundation
Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly is the current Minister of Law and Human Rights in Indonesia. He was a member of the North Sumaregional legislature from 1999 to 2003, and of the People’s Consultative Assembly from 2004 to 2014. He is the first ethnic Nias to hold a cabinet position. He is one of the leaders in the central executive board of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.
Yasonna Laoly Hamonangan’s political career increased rapidly when President Joko Widodo appointed him Minister of Justice and human rights of Republic of Indonesia. Laoly’s experience of many years as an academic in the field of law at a time of lawyers, as well as the experience of being a member of Commission III of the DPR/MPR-RI (2005-2009), making it easy to adapt to his new position.
Minister of Law and Human Rights in Indonesia
Tehmina Arora serves as a Director of Advocacy, Asia, ADF International. Since joining ADF International in 2012, she has focused on working with allied attorneys, providing legal support, training, and advocacy to help individuals and faith-based groups targeted for their faith across South Asia. Working closely with allied attorneys, Tehmina and the team have achieved several critical victories in various courts across the region, including the successful challenge to an Indian law requiring religious converts to register with the state, seeking compensation for victims of communal and targeted violence, reopening of places of worship shut down arbitrarily, and successfully defending religious minorities wrongly accused under the blasphemy and the anti-conversion laws. Tehmina has also spoken frequently both nationally and internationally on the impact of the anti-conversion laws in India, the blasphemy laws and forced marriage cases in Pakistan.
Director of Advocacy at ADF International
Alwi Shihab is Senior Fellow at Leimena Institute. He was Indonesia’s Foreign Minister under President Wahid, Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare under President Yudhoyono, and Special Envoy to the Middle East and OIC under President Widodo. A prominent scholar, he received the Imam Muhammad Abduh International Prize. He served in the boards of Hartford Seminary and Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religion. He completed two PhDs from Ain Shams University and Temple University.
Previous Foreign Minister of Indonesia
Amjad Mahmood Khan is an American trial lawyer, law school professor, and human rights advocate. He is a Partner at the Los Angeles law firm of Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan LLP, a member of the adjunct faculty at UCLA School of Law, and National Director of Public Affairs for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
National Director of Public Affairs for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Chelsea Langston Bombino joined Fetzer after spending the last three years as the director of Sacred Sector and Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance at the Center for Public Justice (CPJ) in Washington, DC. Chelsea also served as the director of strategic engagement for the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance from 2015-17, and as acting CEO for the Center for Public Justice during summer 2020. Prior to her work at the Center for Public Justice, she also worked as the learning director for Maryland Nonprofits, as well as the manager of education and learning development for the National Association of Consumer Advocates. Chelsea’s career has focused on nonprofit policy, democracy, and civic engagement, and her faith informs her work. She is also an experienced facilitator, speaker and teacher, having led numerous conference sessions and having taught a nonprofit management course at Pepperdine University. She continues to serve as a fellow with CPJ; is a contributing writer for Religion Unplugged; and currently serves on the boards of First Amendment Voice and Young Leaders Institute.
Chelsea Langston Bombino
Board Member of First Amendment Voice and Young Leaders Institute
For 40 years, Rabbi Saperstein directed the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, representing the Reform Jewish Movement, the largest segment of American Jewry, to the U.S. Congress and Administration and currently serves as its Director Emeritus.
Designated by Newsweek Magazine as the most influential rabbi in America and by the Washington Post as the “quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill,” during the second term of the Obama administration, Rabbi Saperstein served as the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, carrying out his responsibilities as the country’s chief diplomat on religious freedom issues. Also an attorney, he taught seminars on Church–State law and on comparative Jewish and American law for 35 years at Georgetown University Law Center. In 2019-2020, Rabbi Saperstein served as the President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the international arm of the Reform Jewish Movement.
Director Emeritus of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Jeremy P. Barker serves as Director of the Middle East Action Team for the Religious Freedom Institute.
He has worked in rights-based relief, development, and advocacy across the Middle East. His work has focused on the convergence of religion and international affairs, with a particular focus on combatting drivers of religious persecution, engaging with religious inequality in humanitarian and development assistance, and pursuing the development of order, justice, and accountability in fragile post-conflict contexts. He leads in the design and implementation of the programmatic objectives of the Middle East Action Team, including research and analysis, equipping and mobilizing, and strategic grassroots and political advocacy with a particular focus on the Middle East and the intersection of religion and foreign policy.
He holds a B.A. in History and M.A. degrees in Cross-Cultural Studies and International Relations. Barker is also a Ph.D. researcher at the Institute of Development Studies and the University of Sussex.
Director of Middle East Action Team for the Religious Freedom Institute
Marek Magierowski was born in 1971. He graduated from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan with a degree in Hispanic Studies. He worked as a reporter, editor and columnist for over 20 years. He was, among others, the deputy head of the economic desk at “Gazeta Wyborcza,” the head of the foreign affairs desk and the business section at the “Newsweek Polska” weekly, and the deputy editor-in-chief of “Forum.” From 2006-2011, he was the deputy editor-in-chief of “Rzeczpospolita.” He regularly wrote columns on foreign policy for the “Uważam Rze” and “Do Rzeczy” weeklies. In October 2015, he left journalism to work for the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland as an expert on public diplomacy, and was subsequently appointed Head of the Press Office of the Chancellery of the President. From June 2017 to May 2018, he served as Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Marek Magierowski served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to the State of Israel from June 25, 2018, to November of 2021.
Ambassador of Poland to the United States
Mariam Ibraheem is a Sudanese Christian who was imprisoned for apostasy and blasphemy because of her faith in December 2013 and later sentenced to death. She refused to recant her faith; therefore, they declared her an apostate and imprisoned her along with her 9-month-old son, Martin. While in prison she discovered she was pregnant, and her sentence of execution was postponed until after her daughter was born. Mariam gave birth to her daughter, Maya, chained in a prison cell in May 2014. Mariam’s story gained international attention, and many advocated for her release. Mariam and her children were released soon after Maya’s birth, and they eventually moved to the United States. A rare living martyr, Mariam received continued international publicity, and she spoke at the European Union and for Pope Francis. Inspired by St. Bakhita of Sudan and her own mother’s persecution for helping victims of human trafficking, she continues to publicly advocate for those who are oppressed globally because of religious persecution and human trafficking, and she is on the Board of Directors for ATI (Anti Trafficking International). She is Cofounder and Director of Global Mobilization at Tahrir Alnisa (setting women free) Foundation which serves women and children impacted by domestic abuse and religiously-motivated violence. On International Women’s Day 2022, Whitaker House released Mariam’s autobiography “Shackled: One Woman’s Dramatic Triumph Over Persecution, Gender Abuse, and a Death Sentence.”
Director of Global Mobilization for Tahrir Alnisa Foundation (TAF),
Mary’s story is the American dream and a brand rooted in God, American patriotism, and love of country. A daughter of Pentecostal ministers, Mary is anointed to usher in God’s presence and specifically in settings of patriotism.
A unique career that began as a White House presidential appointee to President George W. Bush paved the way for Mary now recognized as one of the world’s celebrated voices in music. Coined as America’s “National Anthem Singer” across America, Mary has performed the National Anthem and patriotic music for three consecutive U.S. Presidents – President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama, and President Donald Trump, international royalty, and world leaders. Mary has been featured at the 58th Presidential Inauguration Victory Celebration for President Trump, The White House, the United States Congress, the 2022 CPAC Convention, 2020 Republican National
Convention, for the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), 2016 RIO Olympics, off-Broadway, in India, China, Europe, Canada, Africa, and in concert halls worldwide.
Mary is formally recognized as a U.S. State Department cultural envoy and regarded as a cultural ambassador across the world for her effective leadership in cultural diplomacy, interfaith dialogue, and advocacy for global inclusion. Mary’s artistic career has a very intimate perspective and inside relationship with American politics and Washington, D.C., blessed with bipartisan support from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House leadership.
Most of all, Mary is a singer who will make you love your country again. Her rousing arrangements of America’s patriotic music and international anthems (India, China, Israel, UAE) evoke emotional
response and stir patriotism universally. Mary is a small-town girl from the Midwest who made her way standing on a platform singing for U.S. Presidents and world leaders, in order to be a part of discussions to help change the world. And by changing the world, that includes using her voice and platform to encourage love of country, promote unity, and always honor those who have sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice their lives for freedom. Mary is devoted to using her voice and platform to share God’s love to hearts and lands globally.
Mary was named to Ideagen’s 2020 Power 10 List – 10 Global Leaders Empowering Women & Girls alongside Oscar/Emmy/Tony Award Winning Actress Viola Davis; Melinda Gates – Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation Co-Chair; Kate Johnson – Microsoft US President; Adena Friedman – CEO of Nasdaq; Jo Ann Jenkins – CEO of AARP, and more. Mary is a passionate and devoted advocate for women and girls across the world.
February 2020, Notefornote Entertainment released Mary’s debut single “Grace Will Lead Me Home” on THE MEANEST MAN IN TEXAS original motion picture soundtrack now on all leading digital platforms globally and received Academy Award/Oscar eligibility. Produced with
2018 Songwriter Hall of Fame Inductee, three-time Grammy/six-time Emmy nominee Steve Dorff and lyrics by two-time Emmy Award winner and four-time Grammy nominated songwriter Maribeth Derry. “Grace Will Lead Me Home” was written for THE MEANEST MAN IN TEXAS, now available on Amazon Prime Video.
Mary made her New York debut at the Westchester Broadway Theatre starring in Ray Roderick’s
Gershwin musical ‘S Wonderful. June 2019, Mary starred in the world premiere of Tazewell
Thompson’s play Jubilee at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. In addition, Mary starred in Arena
Stage’s premieres of Sophisticated Ladies and Crowns, for which she received a Helen Hayes Award nomination. Mary has headlined solo concerts at popular New York venues including The Copacabana, Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, The City Winery, The Cutting Room, and featured at the Iridium.
A global ambassador for Education Africa, Mary is a noted advocate for religious freedom, the ideals of freedom and free enterprise, creating opportunity for marginalized communities, small business, children, arts education and school choice, and the empowerment of women and girls across the world.
Mary earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Oklahoma’s prestigious Weitzenhoffer Department of Musical Theatre, a minor in political science, and completed studies and fluency in Mandarin in China – Xian University, Kunming University, Peking University, and Fudan University.
Matius Ho is Executive Director of Leimena Institute in Jakarta. He spearheaded the Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy program in Indonesia that has trained thousands of teachers on competencies to strengthen interfaith relations and multi-faith collaborations. He has spoken on the program in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and the United States. He wrote the Indonesian case in The Routledge Handbook of Religious Literacy, Pluralism, and Global Engagement (2021). He received his Master degree from University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Executive Director of Leimena
Pam Pryor is currently working on many of her first loves: domestic and international religious freedom, faith issues and Gallup StrengthsFinders. She is on the executive team at Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, VA. Prior to joining Cornerstone’s staff, she was appointed acting Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the State Department by President Trump and Secretary Mike Pompeo. Under her purview were all the multilateral organizations including 6 ambassadors, the United Nations (including the UN Security Council) and the World Health Organization. Before serving in that role, Pam was the Senior Bureau Official in the Undersecretariat of Civilian Security, Democracy and Human rights. She had oversight on anti-trafficking, international religious freedom and global women’s issues as well as 6 other bureaus from immigration to international narcotics.
Previously, Pam was Chief of Staff to Congressman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, and has been a college professor, TV news anchor, and radio talk show host. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, OK.
Executive Team Member at Cornerstone Chapel
Bishop Dr. Sunday N. Onuoha is the founder and President of Vision of Africa, which focuses on bringing networks of faith communities to share God’s love and empowering the grassroots which helps build Nigeria’s indigenous capacity to solve problems and cure society’s ills from the inside out. A former pastor and chairman of Youth for the Abia State government, he is the executive of director of Nigerian Interfaith Action Association, the largest Christian-Muslim collaboration in history that provides a platform for inter-religious collaboration to end malaria in Nigeria. He was appointed as Special Assistant on Privatization in the Presidential Cabinet of Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003 and was consecrated as Bishop in the Nigerian Methodist Church.
Bishop Dr. Sunday Onuoha
Founder and President of Vision of Africa
William Bnyameen Adam, better known as Khlapieel is amongst many things: a documentary filmmaker, writer, civil activist, and journalist specialising in indigenous human rights and politics. He has directed films such as “The Rise of Gilgamesh” (2015) and “A Civilization Under the Rubble” (2017), offering an exclusive insight into the lives of Assyrians in the Khabour Region of northeast Syria, during the occupation of ISIS and the aftermath, plus “Love Your City” campaign supported by USAID/ICRI program that discusses the return of the people of Tesqopa, Alqosh and Bashiqa to their hometown after three years of displacement as they try to preserve their historical identity and reconstruct what they destroyed and highlight their commitment to celebrating religious events.
More recently, Khlapieel directed “When the Son Sets” (2020), a short film offering a rare glimpse into the lives of Assyrian-Armenian families, who lost sons in the war on Artsakh.
Khlapieel has also written numerous reports on the livelihood of Assyrians across several countries including Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, and Russia. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops held by United Nation organizations. Khlapieel’s mission is to highlight the plight of the Assyrian people, raise awareness about inequalities that exist within the region and advocate for inclusivity and equal rights for all ethnic groups in Iraq. He calls for preserving the unity within the country, an Iraq which does not only represent a single identity or ethnicity.
William Bnyameen Adam
Frank Wolf served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years, representing the 10th district of the state of Virginia. He is the author of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), which infused religious freedom into U.S. foreign policy. Wolf also is the author of the legislation to create a special envoy at the U.S. State Department to advocate for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.
Wolf founded and served as co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan organization made up of nearly 200 Members of Congress who work together to raise awareness about international human rights issues. He has traveled to Ethiopia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and other countries in Africa to see firsthand the tremendous suffering due to corrupt governments, war, AIDS and famine. He led the first congressional delegation to Darfur. He also has worked to call attention to the human rights abuses and religious persecution in the People’s Republic of China, Tibet, Romania, Nagorno-Karabakh, Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and the Middle East.
In January 2015, following his tenure in Congress, Wolf was appointed the first-ever Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom at Baylor University, a post he held through 2016. That same month he joined the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a newly created religious freedom group, from which he retired in September 2018 as Distinguished Senior Fellow.
Wolf has been honored by a number of organizations for his work on human rights and religious persecution. Among them: the Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights; the Christian Legal Society’s William Bentley Ball Life and Religious Liberty Defense Award; the Alliance for Defending Freedom’s Originalism & Religious Freedom Award; and Prison Fellowship Ministries William Wilberforce Award. He also received the 2014 Democracy Service Medal from the National Endowment for Democracy and the Leadership Award from Freedom House. Wolf was named World Magazine’s Daniel of the Year for 2014.
In addition to his work on human rights and religious persecution, Wolf was a leader in a number of other areas in Congress addressing some of the most challenging issues of our time. He is the author of the legislation that created the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, also known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission, which played a critical role in building public support among the American people for the “surge” of U.S. troops in 2007 that effectively defeated the insurgency. Frank Wolf was chairman or ranking member of several subcommittees of the House Appropriations Committee.
Frank Wolf was the original author of the Benghazi Select Committee resolution. The recent update (2016) of the International Religious Freedom legislation was named the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, which was passed unanimously. He was the driving force behind the National Commission on Terrorism, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission and the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, also known as the Meese Commission. He also worked with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to lower the national blood alcohol, making .08 BAC the new standard for drunk driving.
Wolf authored legislation to create a National Hunger Commission to find ways to alleviate hunger in the United States. He also successfully pushed for the creation of a bipartisan blue ribbon commission to reform our nation’s prisons named after the late Chuck Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship.
Wolf received his B.A. degree from Penn State University in 1961 and his law degree from Georgetown University in 1965.
Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Sharon Kleinbaum serves as spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City. She was installed as CBST’s first rabbi in 1992, arriving at the height of the AIDS crisis when the synagogue was in desperate need of pastoral care and spiritual leadership. She guided the congregation through a period of loss and change, while addressing social issues of the day and building a strong and deeply spiritual community. Under her leadership as Senior Rabbi, CBST has become a powerful voice in the movement for equality and justice for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions and a significant force challenging the radical right’s dominance over religious and political life in the United States and around the world.
Rabbi Kleinbaum has long been involved in the fight for human rights for all people. For many years she has been ranked by Newsweek among the 50 most influential rabbis in America. Rabbi Kleinbaum is also a Commissioner on New York City’s Commission on Human Rights, serves on Mayor de Blasio’s Faith Based Advisory Council and serves on the boards of the New York Jewish Agenda, and the New Israel Fund.
Sharon Kleinbaum’s longtime leadership of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah and her outspoken activism have made her a powerful voice for LGBTQ rights and human rights in America and around the world.
A political philosopher by training, Stephen Schneck retired from The Catholic University of America in 2018, after more than thirty years as a professor, department chair, and dean. At the university he was also the founder and long-time director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies. He received his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame.
A well-known advocate for Catholic social justice teachings in public life, Schneck currently serves on the governing boards of Catholic Climate Covenant, which advocates for environmental justice and care for creation, and of Catholic Mobilizing Network, a Catholic organization working to end the death penalty and advance restorative justice. His writings appear regularly in the religious media and he is a frequent commentator on Catholic matters for national and international news services. Previously, he was the executive director of Franciscan Action Network, which promotes environmental, economic, racial, and social justice on behalf of the Franciscan communities of the United States. He served the administration of President Barack Obama as a member of the White House Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Born and raised in Clinton, Iowa, Schneck now lives with his wife, Suzanne, on Bald Head Island, North Carolina.
Former Dean at the Catholic University of America
Annie Boyajian is Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Freedom House, where she leads engagement with U.S. government and collaboration with American human rights groups and serves as the Mark Palmer Distinguished Fellow. She regularly contributes to Freedom House’s publications and has testified before the U.S. Congress, the Canadian parliament, and Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan. She has provided interviews and commentary for outlets including BBC World, CSPAN’s Washington Journal, Deutsche Welle, Al Jazeera, Radio Free Asia, Reuters, The Economist, Fox News, The Bulwark, The Globe and Mail, The Diplomat, International Policy Digest, Just Security, and The Hill.
Prior to joining Freedom House, she worked in both the Senate and the House, where she held numerous roles, including Legislative Director, and focused on foreign policy, human rights, and appropriations issues. Annie holds a master’s degree in International Affairs: U.S. Foreign Policy from American University’s School of International Service. Her master’s research project focused on China’s influence on African media. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a former board member of the Hong Kong Democracy Council, and a former congressional fellow at the Partnership for a Secure America.
Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Freedom House
Dolkun Isa is the President of the World Uyghur Congress. He was a former student-leader of the pro-democracy demonstrations in East Turkistan in 1988 and founded the Students’ Science and Culture Union at the university in 1987 working on programs to eliminate illiteracy, promote science and lead other students in East Turkestan. He was then dismissed from university. After having endured persecution at the hands of the Chinese government, Isa fled China in 1994 and sought asylum in Europe and acquired German citizenship in 2006. He has consistently advocated for the rights of the Uyghur people and has raised the issue in the United Nations, the institutions of the European Union and in individual states and other international fora. He has worked to mobilize the Uyghur diaspora community to collectively advocate for their rights and the rights of the Uyghurs. In 2019, he received the World Democracy Award from NED on behalf of the World Uyghur Congress.
President of the World Uyghur Congress
Dr. Paul Murray serves as Vice President of Religious Freedom Initiatives with the Global Peace Foundation International. A passionate advocate for religious freedom and human rights, Dr. Murray serves as Vice Chairman of the IRF Secretariat and Advisory Board member of the National Committee for Religious Freedom (NCRF). Murray holds a Doctorate in Pastoral Leadership from Howard University, an M.Div. and M.A.R. in Theology from Liberty University, and a B.S. Healthcare Services the University of Phoenix.
Vice President of Religious Freedom Initiatives
Eric M. Ueland is a Public Advisor for the Paragon Health Institute. He has a long and extensive history of service in the United States Congress, the executive branch, and the private sector.
Ueland has served as the Senior Official (Acting Under Secretary) for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the U.S. Department of State. He also served as senior advisor and principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, to drive execution of Presidential and Secretarial priorities throughout the international organizations in which the United States participates. In addition, he served as the Director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources at the Department, managing the foreign assistance budget of the Department of State and USAID. Additionally, Ueland served as senior strategy officer at the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Mr. Ueland also served as Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs and Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs for President Donald J. Trump, following time at the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President and Assistant Director of the Domestic Policy Council. In both roles, he conceived and executed policies on behalf of the President in the executive and legislative branches, led efforts to deliver legislative results for the President on Capitol Hill, and ensured confirmation of the President’s nominees to Cabinet departments, executive branch agencies, and the courts.
Mr. Ueland served on Capitol Hill in a variety of positions. At the Senate Republican Policy Committee, he worked as the policy and communications director, press secretary, economics analyst, research director, and editor. He served as deputy chief of staff and then chief of staff for the Senate Assistant Majority Leader, Don Nickles; and then transition staffer, deputy chief of staff, and then chief of staff for the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
In the Senate, Mr. Ueland also served as staff director of both the Budget Committee and the Rules Committee.
Mr. Ueland is a native of Portland, Oregon, and earned a B.A. in History from the University of San Francisco.
Public Advisor for the Paragon Health Institute
Nicole Bibbins Sedaca serves as the Executive Vice President of Freedom House, where she oversees the organization’s strategy and programs.
Prior to joining Freedom House, Ms. Bibbins Sedaca served as the Deputy Director of Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) program, the Co-Chair for the Global Politics and Security Concentration, and a Professor in the Practice of International Affairs in MSFS. She is also the Kelly and David Pfeil Fellow at the George W. Bush Institute.
Ms. Bibbins Sedaca has held numerous positions in the public and non-governmental sectors in the United States and Ecuador. She served for ten years in the United States Department of State, working on democracy promotion, human rights, human trafficking, religious freedom, refugees, and counterterrorism. Following her governmental service, she opened and directed the International Republican Institute’s local governance program in Ecuador. She also taught at the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador) on democratization and conflict resolution. She served as the Director of the Washington Office for the advisory group Independent Diplomat.
Ms. Bibbins Sedaca holds a Master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from The College of William and Mary and a Master’s of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She also studied at Humboldt Universitӓt in Berlin, Germany, while on a Rotary International Scholarship. She has served on the Board of non-governmental organizations working on human trafficking, violence against the poor, and religious freedom, as well as on the Board of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, the William and Mary Fund, and the William and Mary Washington Office.
Nicole Bibbins Sedaca
Executive Vice President of Freedom House
Ms. Salima Mazari was the Fmr. Governor of the Charkint District, Balkh Province in Afghanistan. Born and raised in Iran, Ms. Mazari earned her degree from the University of Tehran and worked for the International Organization of Migration. Upon her return to Afghanistan, Ms. Mazari began pursuing a career in politics, eventually becoming the District Governor of Charkint, Balkh Province, where she tirelessly advocated for the rights of women and children, ethnic equality, and religious tolerance. She was among the first female politicians to have ever been elected in Afghanistan.
During her time in office, Ms. Mazari tirelessly advocated for Human Rights and religious freedom, especially for various Afghan ethnic groups, including the Hazara community of which she is a member. In addition to her advocacy, Ms. Mazari formed a Security Commission that recruited local militia to defend her area against the Taliban. After the fall of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in 2021, however, Ms. Mazari fled to the United States with her family members. Ms. Mazari continues to advocate for the freedom of the Afghan people, especially for Hazaras and other ethnic groups under threat of genocide and persecution.
Former Governor of the Charkint District in Afghanistan
Steve Perles is the founder of the Perles Law Firm, PC, a law firm specializing in private litigation against state sponsors of terrorism which have included Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Libya. Additionally, the firm bring suits against large financial institutions that launder money for terrorist organizations.
Steve’s 40-plus year career has resulted in reparations for thousands of American victims of terrorism and their family members. In 1986, Steve took on the first successful case of its kind, pursuing a foreign sovereign for injury to a U.S. citizen. He represented Hugo Princz, a US passport holder enslaved in the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Dachau, in a lawsuit against Germany. He successfully worked with members of Congress to ensure that Mr. Princz and all other people held in Nazi concentration camps while U.S. citizens received compensation from the German government. In 1996 the goal of Princz, to hold sovereign states accountable for gross violations of international norms, was codified as law when Congress passed the state-sponsored terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act. Steve brought the first case under this exception, Flatow v. The Islamic Republic of Iran, on behalf of the estate and family of a young woman murdered by an Iranian-sponsored terrorist attack in Gaza.
Since that time, Steve has represented persons killed or injured in events such as the bombing of the LaBelle Discotheque in Berlin, the bombing of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar al Salaam, and the bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut. He also represents victims of contemporary acts of terrorism, such as the Syrian-supported assassination of an American diplomat in Amman, Jordan, the beheading of an American Journalist in Syria, and the Iran-sponsored killing of U.S. service members in Iraq.
Steve graduated from the University of Alaska in 1973, attended William & Mary Law School, and graduated in 1975. Steve then spent seven years working
for Senator Ted Stevens, Republican Whip and acting Minority Leader at the time, including as Senator Stevens’ legislative director during the Tehran Hostage Crisis.
Steve is an adjunct professor at William & Mary Law School, a trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and has two children and two grandchildren.
Founder of the Perles Law Firm
Ambassador Michael Herzog was appointed Israel’s Ambassador to the United States in the summer of 2021 by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Ambassador Herzog is a retired IDF Brigadier General and has held senior positions in Israel’s Ministry of Defense between 2001 and 2009. During this time, Ambassador Herzog worked with four Ministers of Defense as a Senior Military Aide and then as Chief of Staff. The Ambassador’s career has also included service as head of the IDF’s Strategic Planning Division (1998-2001), Deputy Head of the Strategic Planning Division (1995-1998), member of the Intelligence Corps (1974-1994), and Infantry Soldier (1973 war).
Since 1993, Ambassador Herzog has played a key role in the Arab-Israeli peace process, participating in most of Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians, Jordanians, and Syrians. In his capacity as a peace negotiator, Ambassador Herzog has participated in the Wye Plantation summit, the Camp David summit, the Taba negotiations, the Annapolis summit, and the 2013-2014 peace negotiations lead by Secretary John Kerry. From 2009 to 2014, he served as special emissary to Israel’s Prime Minister in the efforts to relaunch the peace process.
Prior to his nomination, Ambassador Herzog had been an International Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a Senior Fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute. Ambassador Herzog was also the Director of the Forum of Strategic Dialogue (FSD) where he engaged in consultations between Europe and Israel’s top governmental officials and experts in the fields of defense, security, foreign affairs and economics.
Ambassador Herzog is a graduate of the prestigious National Defense College in Israel. He received an M.A. from Haifa University and a B.A. from Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ambassador Herzog is married to Shirin Herzog, a corporate lawyer, and is a father of two.
Israeli Ambassador to the United States
Oksana Markarova was born in Rivne, in 1976. She received a master degree in ecology from Kyiv Mohyla Academy and a master degree in international public finance and trade from the University of Indiana (Bloomington, USA).
From 1998 till 1999 and from 2001 till 2003, Oksana Markarova was active as an economic policy advisor and as a manager for external and corporate communications at the US direct investment fund Western NIS Enterprise Fund (now managed by Horizon Capital).
In 2000, she made her internship at the World Bank in the USA where she worked at the group in charge for the banking sector and financial markets in Europe and Middle Asia. From 2003 – 2015 she served as Head of Board (President) of ITT-Invest company. From 2015 – April 2016 she served as the Deputy Minister of Finance – head of the office of the Ministry of Finance. In this position, she was responsible for the reform of the public finance management system and was the co-author of the successful program for the macro-economic stabilization of Ukraine.
Following the initiative of Oksana Markarova, the Ministry of Finance created E-Data, the biggest web portal of open data on public finances. On April 29, 2016, Oksana Markarova was appointed the First Deputy Minister of Finance of Ukraine. On August 8, 2016, she became the Government’s entitled representative for investments in Ukraine. In this position she launched UkraineInvest – the office for the attraction and promotion of investors, as well as a number of initiatives to support existing investors and to gain new investments for Ukraine.
Оksana Markarova is also a member of the supervisory boards of the Oschadbank, Eximbank, Ukrgazbank and Privatbank.
Оksana Markarova is a member of the Advisory Council of the National University Kyiv Mohyla Academy, a member of the assembly of friends of the Ukrainian Catholic University and is a member of the International Organisation of Young Presidents (YPO). She holds a license as a professional stock trader and asset manager.
At the extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on June 7, First Deputy Minister of Finance Oksana Markarova was appointed the acting Minister of Finance of Ukraine.
On November 22, 2018, Oksana Markarova was appointed Minister of Finance of Ukraine. In February 2021, she was appointed Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States.
Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States
Dr. Ari Gordon is Director of Muslim-Jewish Relations for American Jewish Committee, where he fosters partnership on issues of common concern and productive engagement on issues of difference. A graduate of Yeshiva University and Harvard Divinity School, Gordon completed a PhD in Islamic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where his research focused on sacred geography and interreligious relations in Islam’s formative period.
Director of Muslim-Jewish Relations for American Jewish Committee
Nina Shea is a Hudson Institute Senior Fellow and directs its Center for Religious Freedom, which she founded 35 years ago. A Washington-based lawyer, she focuses on foreign policy. She served as a USCIRF Commissioner for 13 years and was appointed as a US delegate to the UN’s main rights body. She was a leader on the International Religious Freedom Act, authored/co-authored three books, and writes media articles on religious freedom concerns.
Hudson Institute Senior Fellow
Ms. Pari Ibrahim, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Free Yezidi Foundation (FYF). Ms. Ibrahim is Yezidi and originally from Iraq. She fled Iraq as a child with her family in 1991 during the Saddam Hussein regime, eventually settling in the Netherlands. Ms. Ibrahim created the Free Yezidi Foundation to provide support for Yezidi survivors in the aftermath of the Yezidi Genocide perpetrated by ISIS. The Foundation’s fundamental values include women’s rights, justice for gender-based violence and sexual violence, and the rights of ethno-religious minorities. Ms. Ibrahim and FYF have tackled some of the most difficult cases, particularly in defense of Yezidi women.
Ms. Ibrahim seeks an Iraqi society where Yezidis are considered equal and enjoy equal access to opportunity and rights. Similarly, she advocates for women’s empowerment and equal rights for women and girls in Iraq. Ms. Ibrahim is an advocate of heightened attention to and appreciation of gender issues in the Yezidi community, and seeks respect and acknowledgment of women’s rights in the broadest sense.
Ms. Ibrahim established FYF in August 2014 in the Netherlands. The Foundation has implemented programs funded by the United Nations, the United States Government, European governments, and various foundations and international organizations. On behalf of the Foundation, Ms. Ibrahim has spoken at the United Nations Security Council, British Parliament, US Holocaust Museum, BBC, Al-Jazeera, and at countless universities, media outlets, and think-tanks.
After the ISIS attacks on Sinjar and the Yezidi population in August 2014, Ms. Ibrahim founded the Free Yezidi Foundation to help Yezidi civilians in need and raise awareness of their plight. She has been active in organising protests and outlining the challenges facing Yezidis, with articles appearing in the Washington Post, Telegraaf, Al-Monitor, the Guardian, the Sunday Times (UK), Middle East Eye, and others. Ms. Ibrahim and her team established the FYF women’s and children’s centers, the FYF justice project, FYF’s Enterprise & Training Center, the combating GBV office, and various other projects, also conducting general advocacy to promote greater humanitarian and human rights support to Yezidi civilians.
Ms Ibrahim studied law at the University of Amsterdam. She speaks Kurmanji, Dutch, English, and German. FYF is a registered charity in the Netherlands and the United States, implementing projects in Iraq.
Founder of the Free Yezidi Foundation
Pinchas Goldschmidt (born 21 July 1963) has been the Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Russia since 1993 serving at the Moscow Choral Synagogue. He also founded and heads the Moscow Rabbinical Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) since 1989, and since 2011 serves as President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) which unites over seven hundred communal rabbis from Dublin to Khabarovsk.
Goldschmidt, was born in Zurich, Switzerland, to a Jewish Orthodox family of business people and left to Israel alone at an early age to pursue rabbinic studies at the Ponevezh Yeshiva, (1979–1981) He pursued afterwards his studies at the Telshe Yeshiva, Chicago, Il (1981–1982), and continued at the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore USA, where he received his MA in Talmudical Jurisprudence. In parallel, he pursued his secular studies at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his Masters in Science in 1985. After a short courtship he married Dara Lynn Brodie from Monsey, NY, a student at Yeshiva University. They married in NY in 1985, and moved to Jerusalem, where Goldschmidt continued his rabbinical studies in the Shevet Umechokek Institute for Rabbinical Judges. In 1987 he was ordained by the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Yitzchak Kolitz, Rabbi Yisrael Grossman and Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg.
After ordination, the Goldschmidt family left Jerusalem to jump starts an outreach center in the North of Israel, in Upper Nazareth, with a fellow group of rabbinical students. In 1988, Goldschmidt was approached by a coalition of Jewish organization dealing with Soviet Jewry to go and serve as an adviser on Jewish law for the Chief Rabbinate of the Soviet Union.
The young Goldschmidt family moved to Soviet Russia in 1989 with the blessing of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the World Jewish Congress and an assembly of Jewish organizations and activists, who supported the Jewish underground in the Soviet Union. Goldschmidt set up the first Rabbinical Court in the Soviet Union since the Stalin period and dealt with all acute issues of personal status of Soviet Jews pertaining to Jewish law.
He authored articles on issues of Jewish law regarding post-Soviet Jewry and has published a collection of responsas with a compilation of Russian Jewish names “Zikaron Basefer”, (Moscow 1996). In 1990 he created the guidelines in conjunction with the Israeli Ministry of Interior to reconfirm Jews who have hidden their Jewish identity during Soviet times.
In 1991 after the failed putsch and the founding of the new Russian State, Goldschmidt was instrumental in founding and developing communal structures of the newly freed Jewish community, starting with colleges, day schools and kindergartens, soup kitchens and rabbinical schools, and ending with political umbrella structures, such as the Russian Jewish Congress and the Congress of the Jewish Religious Organizations and Associations in Russia (KEROOR).
Goldschmidt represents also the Russian Jewish community politically. He published op-eds in the international press pertaining to the issues of the day. He has also addressed the US Senate, the EU Parliament, The Council of Europe, and The Israeli Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “Neeman Commission“, Oxford University, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Berlin Conference on anti-Semitism, and Harvard University, discussing the state of the Jewish Community, and the threats of anti- Semitism.
In January 2005, five hundred people, including newspaper editors, public intellectuals and 19 Duma deputies published an appeal to the Prosecutor General of Russia and called for the closure of Jewish organized life in Russia, recycling anti-Semitic accusations used during the blood libel Beilis trial in Kiev in 1912. Goldschmidt wrote a detailed response to all the accusations in the official Izvestiya newspaper and addressed the letter to Dmitry Rogozin, leader of the nationalist Rodina (Motherland) party, who, after receiving Goldschmidt’s letter, apologized and distanced himself from the petition.
Goldschmidt was denied entry to Russia in September 2005, and returned to his community after three months, thanks to an international campaign. In 2010 by special decree of Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, he was made a citizen of Russia.
In July 2011, Goldschmidt, who speaks seven languages, was elected president of the Conference of European Rabbis, after having served as Chairman of the Standing Committee
for the previous ten years. He succeeded the Chief Rabbi of France, Joseph Sitruk, who had held the post since 1999. Only the fourth president of the CER in its 54-year history, Rabbi Goldschmidt is the first to hold the post from Eastern Europe.
When Rabbi Goldschmidt took the helm of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), he shifted the organisation’s focus from its post WWII mission of rebuilding Jewish communities to a forward-looking approach, seeking to inspire Jewish continuity. He believed that the creation of a tolerant society where all minorities flourish, is the hallmark of a free, healthy and democratic Europe.
However, achieving this vision was far from simple. Multiple obstacles littered the way. Legislative restrictions against Jewish ritual, in particular the sacred practices of circumcision and shechita, made Jewish religious life in Europe nigh impossible. Jewish communities in countries such as Poland, Germany, Holland and Scandinavia, felt threatened and wondered what the future would bring.
The CER stood by the communities and supported their local infrastructure through legal counsel and political guidance. The organisation initiated US congressional letters and drummed up support in the EU Commission and Parliament to counter these attacks on religious practice.
In 2016 in a groundbreaking move, the CER engaged in interfaith dialogue by publishing ‘Between Jerusalem and Rome’, the first ever Jewish theological response to the Catholic church’s Nostra Aetate, issued fifty-one years ago. Rabbi Goldschmidt looked to bring together the international Jewish community and secured the co-signatories of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel on the document. This move resulted in unprecedented positive relations between Jewish and Catholic communities. In addition to this, Rabbi Goldschmidt established the first pan European Council for Muslim and Jewish Leaders (MJLC) to build bridges and open dialogue between Europe’s 1.6 million Jews and 40 million Muslims.
In 2011, the CER established the Lord Jakobovits Prize of European Jewry to award individuals who have shown support to European Jewry, defended their religious rights and combatted anti-Semitism. Since then, the prize has been awarded to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, in recognition of her steadfast support in the circumcision debate in Germany. Speaking at the award ceremony in the Great Synagogue of Europe, Rabbi Goldschmidt confessed that the decision to award the prize to a German Chancellor was difficult, but correct. Other former recipients of the prize include the Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, in appreciation for his role in securing France’s Jewish Institutions during the Great Wave of Terror and King Felipe VI of Spain for his role in reviving Jewish life in Spain.
Since the great wave of terror swept through Europe in 2014, the cost of security for Jewish institutions has become a financial burden with local Jewish communities allocating up to 50% of their annual budgets to keep themselves safe. The CER has raised the profile of this ongoing issue amongst international stakeholders and activity has included presenting at the Munich Security Conference in both 2017 and 2018. The events brought together numerous
high-level stakeholders with their united goal of securing a safe European landscape for all faiths.
In his role as the President of the CER, Rabbi Goldschmidt has written many articles and addressed multiple audiences. This material is collated into his book ‘Communitati Et Orbi’, originally published in English and since translated into German and Russian.
Rabbi Goldschmidt has been awarded the Jerusalem Prize by the Speaker of the Knesset, Mr Avram Burg, and in 2002 received Certification to serve as candidate for the Position of Chief Rabbi in Israel by the Council of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. In the spring of 2009, Goldschmidt took a sabbatical as a visiting Scholar at the Davis Center at Harvard University.
On July 27, 2016 Francois Holland the French President, awarded Goldschmidt the title of Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honor for his paramount contribution to the strengthening of relations between Russia and France.
Rabbi Pinchas and his wife Dara have seven children, five who are married and have eight grandchildren.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt
The Chief Rabbi of Moscow, Russia
Ethan Gutmann is a Research Fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and co-founder of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China. He is the author of Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire, and Betrayal (2004),The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem (2014) and The Xinjiang Procedure (forthcoming). In 2017, Gutmann was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Co-founder of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China
Abdülhamit Bilici is a journalist and media executive living in exile in the US following political turmoil and government oppression of the press in Turkey. Before leaving the country, Bilici served as Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper Zaman, the largest daily newspaper in Turkey, & CEO of its English-language version, Today’s Zaman. Bilici is an expert on the issues of press freedom and the dangers of populism both as a witness and a victim of antidemocratic surge.
Turkish Journalist and Media Executive
Born on June 2, 1961, in Oka Akoko, Ondo, Nigeria, Bishop Arogundade was ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese on September 8, 1990. He served as a hospital chaplain and then health coordinator for Ondo before being sent to NY for advanced studies. While serving in the Archdiocese of New York, Bishop Jude earned his Masters and PhD in Pastoral Counseling at Fordham University. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI named him the fourth bishop of Ondo where he serves today and has made education and healthcare priorities.
Most Reverend Dr. Jude Ayodeji Arogundade
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ondo
Jonathan is currently Head of Global Public Policy at WhatsApp, where he helps develop and execute public policy strategy and engagement across the globe for the world’s largest private messaging service.
Previously, Jonathan served as a U.S. government national security official at the Department of Homeland Security, National Security Council staff, and Department of Defense, and was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company.
Head of Global Public Policy at WhatsApp
Sharifah Shakirah was born in northern part of Rakhine State of Burma/Myanmar. At the age of 5 she was forced to flee the country together with her family and spent 21 years as refugee in Malaysia and currently based in United States,
In 2016 while living in Malaysia as refugee she founded first refugee women organization and as well as first Rohingya women organization called Rohingya Women Development Network (RWDN). RWDN was founded to fill the gab to help human trafficking victims and help empower the women leaders to be the voice of the community together with men to rebuild their community shoulder to shoulder.
Rohingya Women Development Network is an organization focus on two important areas, the grassroot level work, which is by providing education programs for the community for example literacy classes, reproductive awareness class, skills building programs which create financial opportunities for women and providing aids to the community. Another important work that RWDN do is advocacy for the refugee rights for Rohingya refugees in diaspora to promotes refugee rights like education, protections, livelihood, and shelters as well as doing advocacy on Rohingya Genocide so that Rohingya are able to return home with peace and with their citizenships restored.
In 2019, Sharifah Shakirah was nominated as Malaysia’s candidate for the US Department of State’s International Women of Courage award. The award is presented by the US Department of State to acknowledge women around the world who have shown courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment.
Currently she is also working as Program Associate at Burma Task Force, to continue to empower the Rohingya community worldwide and advocate for justice for the Rohingya community.
Founder & Director of Rohingya Women Development Network & Program Associate at Burma Task Force (Justice For All)
Joe Snell is a multimedia editor at Al-Monitor and the founder and editor of The Assyrian Journal. His reporting has taken him to Iraq, Germany, Paris, Belgium and across the United States. Joe attended the University of Southern California and Northwestern University and now lives in Arlington, VA.
Founder of The Assyrian Journal
Dr. Chris Seiple is the president emeritus of the Institute for Global Engagement, the principal advisor to the Templeton Religion Trust’s Covenantal Pluralism Initiative, a senior fellow at the comparative religion program at the University of Washington’s Jackson School of International Studies, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a former United States Marine Corps infantry officer.
President Emeritus of the Institute for Global Engagement
Ambassador Javlon Vakhabov joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan in 2001, serving early career assignments as an attaché, 3rd secretary, and chief of division. In 2006 he was appointed to the Uzbek National Security Council where he was promoted to deputy security of the Council in 2011. In 2013, Ambassador Vakhabov served as the Director of the Institute for Strategic and Inter-Regional Research, a government-funded think tank in Tashkent. He joined the leadership team at the Foreign Ministry in 2013 as one of four deputy ministers of foreign affairs. In July 2015, he was promoted to First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the title he held when he was appointed Ambassador to the U.S. in 2017.
Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the United States
Wade Kusack possessing extensive cross-sectoral networks throughout the former Soviet Union, especially in Central Asia. Organized or participated in more than 150 discussions and roundtables in connection with religious studies of the government, academic and civil society platforms; and, developed educational network for religious leaders on international and domestic religious laws and policies. His direct experience in peacemaking and reconciliation, as well as leading multi-faith dialogues has inspired many stakeholders to found the non-profit, Love Your Neighbor Community (LYNC)
Founder of Love Your Neighbor Community
John Hanford III served as the second US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (2002 to 2009). He was the architect of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, leading the team that authored IRFA and co-leading negotiations to unanimous passage. The first in the US government to focus full-time on international religious freedom interventions, he served 14 years with Senator Richard Lugar. A UNC Morehead Scholar in economics, he holds an MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Seminary.
Former U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
Travis S. Weber, J.D., LL.M., is Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs at Family Research Council, where he oversees policy development and engagement with federal and state government officials on issues related to life, family, and religious liberty.
Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs at Family Research Council
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.
Director of Advocacy for Global Religious Freedom with ADF International
Simran Stuelpnagel is a Human Rights Advocate, Community Organizer, Sikh Minister, and Management Consultant who works for religious inclusion and freedom of conscience issues domestically and around the world.He was the Senior VP of Akal Global, a Sikh nonprofit-owned security firm that deployed top secret cleared Americans to over 120 countries, helped protect the White House, Pentagon, Federal Courts in over 350 US cities, and secured dozens of federal agencies. With 15,000 employees and over 5000 retired police officers, Akal was the largest employer of retired American police officers in the world — while Sikhs and other religious minorities could not serve in US police or military uniforms with their articles of faith intact. He was the youngest VP in Akal’s 35-year history and initiated the effort for DC’s Metropolitan Police to become the first major police department in the US to allow articles of faith in uniform. Simran was also the Chief Communications Officer and EVP at the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, where he is currently a Senior Advisor.
Senior Advisor at the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation
Countering Transnational Repression Officer in the Office of Security and Human Rights Department of Defense.
Countering Transnational Repression Officer in the Office of Security and Human Rights Department of Defense.
Eric Patterson, Ph.D. serves as Executive Vice President of the Religious Freedom Institute. Patterson is scholar-at-large and past dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University and a Research Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, where he previously served full-time. Patterson’s interest in the intersection of religion, ethics, and foreign policy is informed by two stints at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, with work in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Congo, Angola, and elsewhere. He has significant government service, including over twenty years as an officer and commander in the Air National Guard and serving as a White House Fellow working for the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Executive Vice President of the Religious Freedom Institute
Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla is a Guatemalan politician who is serving as the president of Guatemala since 2020. He is a former director of the Guatemalan penitentiary system and participated in Guatemala’s presidential elections in 2007, 2011, and 2015.
Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla
President of Guatemala
Religious leader and corporate entrepreneur Suzan Johnson Cook was born January 28, 1957, in New York City. Her mother was a schoolteacher and her father, a trolley car driver. They founded a security guard business that moved the family from a Harlem, New York, tenement to a home in the Gunn Hill section of the Bronx, New York. Cook was one of the few African American children to attend the Riverdale Country Day School in the Bronx, and her parents helped to organize an African American Parent Teachers Association. Cook studied acting and singing at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, where she received her B.S. degree. She has also received her M.A. degree in education from Columbia University, her M.Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary and her D.Min. degree from Ohio’s United Theological Seminary. She is also a graduate of Harvard University’s President’s Administrative Fellows Program.
Suzan Johnson Cook
Former U.S. Ambassador at Large For International Religious Freedom
Olivia Enos, senior policy analyst in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, focuses on human rights and national security challenges in Asia. Her research spans a wide range of subjects, including democracy and governance challenges, human trafficking and human smuggling, religious freedom, refugee issues, and other social challenges in the region.
Senior Policy Analyst in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation
Acting Chair for the Kazakhstan Committee on Religious Affairs
Acting Chair for the Kazakhstan Committee on Religious Affairs
Bulat Sarsenbayev is the Chairman of the Managing Board of the N. Nazarbayev Center for the Development of Interfaith and Inter-civilization Dialogue. Since 2007 to 2019 Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Jordan, (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine concurrently), India (Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan and Nepal concurrently). He has scientific degree of the candidate of historical sciences. Awarded with the national order «Kurmet», the order of Independence of the first degree («Wisam al-Istiqial», Jordan), the order «Gold Medal for Merit» (Palestine).
H.E. Mr. Bulat Sarsenbayev
Chairman of the Managing Board of the N. Nazarbayev Center for the Development of Interfaith and Inter-civilization Dialogue
Nury Turkel is the first U.S.-educated Uyghur-American lawyer, foreign policy expert, and human rights advocate. He was born in a re-education camp at the height of China’s tumultuous Cultural Revolution and spent the first several months of his life in detention with his mother. He came to the United States in 1995 as a student and was later granted asylum by the U.S. government.
Since June 2022, Nury has served as the Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, having been reappointed by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in May of 2022 for a two-year term. In September 2020, Turkel was named one of the TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World; and in May 2021, he was named on Fortune‘s List of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.
Turkel is a respected opinion leader and a foreign policy expert primarily focusing on diplomatic, economic, and national security issues involving China, Central Asia, and Turkey. He is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In June 2021, the Notre Dame Law School Religious Liberty Initiative honored Nury with the first Notre Dame Prize for Religious Liberty.
Turkel received an M.A. in International Relations and a J.D. from the American University in Washington, DC. As an attorney, he specializes in regulatory compliance, federal investigation and enforcement, anti-bribery, legislative advocacy, and immigration. In addition to his professional career, Turkel has devoted his time and energy to promoting Uyghur human rights and supporting American and universal democratic norms.
In addition to his law practice and foreign policy work, Turkel has worked on human rights advocacy for more than two decades. He serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), which he co-founded in 2003. Previously, he served as the president of the Uyghur American Association, where he led efforts to raise the profile of the Uyghur people in the United States, including organizing and leading the campaign that achieved the March 2005 release of a renowned Uyghur prisoner of conscience, Ms. Rebiya Kadeer. Since 2011, he has successfully represented a substantial number of Uyghur political refugees with their asylum applications in the United States.
In addition to his advocacy work in the United States, Turkel has engaged in policy and legislative advocacy in the European Union and the Australian Parliament. He served as an adviser to the past and present presidents of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), an organization that serves as an umbrella organization for the Uyghur community and advocacy groups promoting universal human rights. Turkel successfully represented Dolkun Isa, WUC’s current president, to restore his travel privileges to the United States. He has also assisted Uyghur refugees in the United States, Europe, and Turkey.
Turkel has published policy-oriented commentaries and op-eds in publications such as Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, USAToday, The Hill, The Independent, and The Diplomat. Turkel has spoken at numerous policy forums, academic institutes, and human rights conferences, regarding the mass internment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in China. He has appeared on major media outlets, including CNN, BBC, Fox News, Al Jazeera, Australian ABC, Sky News, France 24, and TRT World.
He has testified before Congress, including most recently before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China in October 2019, speaking about Uyghur internment camps, and advocating a legislative response to China’s atrocities. Many of his recommendations have been incorporated into U.S. laws and pending bills relating to Uyghurs and China in Congress, including the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-145).
Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
He has graduated from the Faculty of Law “Justinian the First” at the “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” University in Skopje. He has continued his postgraduate studies at the same faculty and acquired the title of Master of Law in the field of Civil Law.
As a director of the CRRCG, he advocates a new chapter of the relations between the state and religious communities, where in the honest approach will build an atmosphere of trust and cooperation between confessions, increased care for the needs of the religious communities, protection of the secular character of the state and promotion of religious freedoms and rights of the citizens.
The Government of the Republic of Macedonia appointed him director on February 13, 2018, and in 2022 he started his second term as director of the Commission for Relations with Religious Communities and Groups. In the past period, the institution
notes organizational and functional development, a series of implemented projects, sets a strategic line of future action and quality relations with all religious entities and relevant domestic and international actors, while motivating regional cooperation of the countries in the region.
Director of the State Commission for Relations with Religious Communities and Groups
A refugee from Vietnam, in 1988 Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang joined Boat People SOS as a volunteer and in 2001 became its full-time Executive Director. Under his leadership, BPSOS has rescued or assisted in the rescue of 11,000 victims of human trafficking in 26 countries and successfully advocated for 20,000 repatriated Vietnamese boat people to be resettled to the U.S. In 2015, Dr. Thang co-launched the Southeast Asia Freedom of Religion or Belief (SEAFOB) initiative.
Dr. Nguyễn Dinh Thang
Executive Director of Boat People SOS