WASHINGTON — On June 28-30 religious freedom leaders, advocates and activists from around the world, spanning a wide range of faith traditions and political affiliations, will gather in Washington, D.C., for the second annual International Religious Freedom Summit. The Summit will highlight increasing threats to freedom of religion, conscience and belief, and it will once again offer the IRF community a chance to come together to advance shared goals for extending these fundamental freedoms to people and faith communities across the globe.
The inaugural IRF Summit in 2021 convened more than 1,100 leaders, experts and advocates from government, civil society, academia and dozens of world religions. It featured survivors of discrimination and persecution based on religion or belief, shining a much-needed spotlight on issues such as: the genocide being committed against the Uyghurs; the ongoing persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt and Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan; the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar and Christians targeted by Boko Haram in Nigeria; prisoners of conscience being held unjustly in countries like Saudi Arabia; and much more.
IRF Summit 2022 will continue building a broad coalition of IRF supporters, emphasizing the vital need to create partnerships to advance IRF that cut across religious and political lines. Speakers at IRF Summit 2022 will include former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, co-founder of the global Humanitarian Islam movement K.H. Yahya Cholil Staquf, Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University and a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, among many others.
Former U.S. Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback and President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett will continue in their role as Co-Chairs of the Summit.
“The inaugural IRF Summit demonstrated the power of uniting people from different backgrounds and faiths in the common cause of advocating for greater religious freedom globally,” said Brownback. “In the year since we last met, the challenges to freedom of religion and belief have deepened, but so have the bonds among the diverse members of our IRF coalition. This year’s Summit will be an opportunity to take stock of the challenges, discuss innovative solutions and together make commitments that will march us toward our shared goal of religious freedom for everyone, everywhere, at all times.”
“In countries around the world, we continue to see severe restrictions placed on the free exercise of religion, conscience and belief,” said Lantos Swett. “These freedoms constitute fundamental human rights, and we know that they are absolutely vital to building peaceful and just societies. The IRF Summit offers a unique example of how people with different perspectives and opinions can nonetheless work in close partnership and collaboration to bring about real progress and change. I am so eager to once again gather with this group of committed advocates and to work together to build even greater momentum for the IRF movement.”
The Summit will connect resources and advocates interested in religious freedom and will continue to highlight the personal testimonies of persecution survivors. It also will offer breakout sessions hosted by convening partners, which include over 40 diverse groups such as the Religious Freedom Institute, Uyghur Human Rights Project, American Hindu Foundation, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Alliance Defending Freedom, among others.
Registration is now open, with early bird rates valid until April 15. There will be opportunities for virtual participation for those who cannot attend in person.
More information and the full schedule of events for the International Religious Freedom Summit 2022 is available here.
Press on assignment to cover IRF Summit 2022 must request event credentials at [email protected].
International Religious Freedom Summit 2022 is a powerful, broad coalition of religious, human rights and civil society groups that advocate for religious freedom for all people, everywhere at all times.
Samuel Brownback served as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom (2018-21) and is co-chair of IRF Summit 2022.
Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett is president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, former Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and is co-chair of IRF Summit 2022.
Source: The Kairos Company, The International Religious Freedom Summit returns to DC June 28-30