Washington D.C. — July 13-15, 2021

Side Events

Day 1

TUESDAY, JULY 13
Falun Dafa Association

Forced Organ Harvesting and Global Impact

Room: Hampton

Time: 4:00 pm – 5:00pm

Description: Millions of Falun Gong practitioners in China have been imprisoned, tortured, or killed in the past 22 years. Many were killed through forced organ harvesting. A panel including a former USCIRF commissioner, a medical doctor, and a torture survivor examines this persecution, Falun Gong’s response, and the broader impact.

Speakers:

  • The Rt. Rev. Andudu Adam Elnail, Bishop of Kadugli and Nuba Mountains, Episcopal Church of Sudan
  • Sharoon Sarfraz, Regional Partner, Anglican Persecuted Church Network
  • Jason Jones, host, author, film producer, activist The Jason Jones Show
  • Faith McDonnell, Director of Advocacy, Katartismos Global 
Indian American Muslim Council

Religious Freedom in India: Challenges & Opportunities

Room: Governor’s Boardroom

Time: 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Description: Reviewing India’s overall democratic decline, including the worsening persecution of Muslims, Christians, Dalits and other minorities, governmental crackdowns on civil liberties, and assaults on free speech; and examining the appropriate responses the United States should consider when addressing such violations in India.

Speakers:

  • Anurima Bhargava, Commissioner, USCIRF
  • Sravya Tadepalli, Board Member, Hindus for Human Rights
  • Tabassum Haleem, CEO, Islamic Networks Group
  • Rev. Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Indiana-Kentucky Synod
  • Joanne Lin, National Director, Advocacy And Government Affairs, Amnesty International USA
  • Ed Markey, US Senator from Massachusetts
The Heritage Foundation

Emerging Threats to Religious Liberty from Progressive Policies

Room: Palladian

Time: 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Description: The right to freedom of religion is enshrined in international law, and conscience and speech protections are similarly protected. Yet in recent years individuals and communities that adhere to and profess beliefs that are considered insufficiently progressive or “woke”—such as protecting the unborn, defending marriage as the union of one man and one woman, or recognizing the immutability of biological sex—have increasingly been experiencing violations of their rights to religious freedom and speech. This panel will discuss how advocates of abortion and policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity have targeted religious believers with legal and economic punishment.

Speakers:

  • Rev. Dr. Bernard Randall
  • Mrs. Joy Brenda Mdivo, East African Center for Law and Justice
  • Mr. Tomas Henriquez, ADF International 
Action Alliance To Redress 1219

Revealing the Truth of Tai Ji Men Tax Case

Room: Congressional

Time: 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Description: Tai Ji Men is a Taiwan-based non-profit organization of qigong, martial arts, and self-cultivation. Their human rights and religious freedom have been violated for 25 years. Taiwan’s Supreme Court has declared them not-guilty of tax evasion or any other charges, but the tax injustice against them continues, attracting international attention.

Speakers:

  • Michael Selfridge, Representative, Association of World Citizens
  • Jeff Kuo, Representative, Action Alliance to Redress 1219
  • Chun Chieh Lu, Representative, Action Alliance to Redress 1219
  • Yuching Chen, Dizi, Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy 
  • Chi Yen Chen, Dizi, Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy 
  • Chieh An Chen, Author, “Who Stole Their Youth. 24 Years of Persecution: A Battle for Human Rights and Tax Justice in Taiwan”
A Demand For Action

The Forgotten Victims of Genocide

Room: Palladian

Time: 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm

Description: “The premiere screening of the film “Limbo” by award-winning filmmakers Nuri Kino and Eliyas Salameh will be held at this event. This documentary presents the stories of genocide survivors through their own personal testimonies and will reinforce our message that the international community needs to take urgent action to rebuild their shattered lives. ADFA, a volunteer-driven organization based in Sodertalje,Sweden was founded in 2014, by Nuri Kino, shortly after the fall of Mosul to ISIS extremists. It began as a social media campaign, calling for urgent international action to stop the ongoing genocide of Christians and other Middle Eastern minorities. Over the years, it has added humanitarian relief work to its mandate, while enhancing its stature as a leading advocacy organization.

China Coalition

Boycotting the Beijing Olympics

Room: Hampton

Time: 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm

Description: Since 1999, China has been designated as a “Country of Particular Concern” by the State Department for severe violations of religious freedom including genocide. Despite this, China is hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. In this event, experts will weigh the options of an Olympic boycott.

Speakers:

  • Olivia Enos, Senior Policy Analyst at Heritage Foundation
  • Reggie Littlejohn, Founder and President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers
  • Candace Bryan Abbey, Director of Policy & Partnerships, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice
  • Peter Irwin, Senior Program Officer for Advocacy & Communications, Uyghur Human Rights Project
  • Zumretay Aierken, Program & Advocacy Manager, World Uyghur Congress
  • Rushan Abbas, Founder and Executive Director, Campaign for Uyghurs
CUA Center For Religious Liberty

Chen Guangcheng Speaks about Religious Freedom in China

Room: Empire

Time: 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm

Description: Chen Guangcheng and Professor William Saunders discuss religious freedom in China.

Speakers:

  • Chen Guangcheng, Civil Rights Activist
  • William Saunders, Professor – Human Rights, Religious Liberty, Bioethics, Catholic University of America
Save The Persecuted Christians

Stop The Slavery And Slaughter In Nigeria

Room: Congressional

Time: 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm

Description: FOLLOW THE MONEY: Nigeria is unraveling. Unceasing, religious-based attacks fuel the enslavement of Nigerian women and girls, food insecurity, loss of education and unemployment. Who is funding the violence? Our Nigerian witnesses to violence ask for financial accountability, transparency and audits of money flowing to the Nigerian federal government and contractors.

Speakers:

  • Frank Gaffney, President, Save the Persecuted Christians
  • Dede Laugesen, Executive Director, Save the Persecuted Christians
  • Hon. Robert Destro, fmr. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
  • Dr. Gloria Puldu, President, LEAH Foundation
  • Alheri Bawa Magaji, co-Founder, RADi
  • Stephen Enada, President & co-Founder, International Committee on Nigeria (ICON)
Religious Freedom & Business Foundation

Religious Freedom Benefits Business And Business Can Help Advance Religious Freedom

Room: Governors Boardroom

Time: 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm

Description: The economic benefits of freedom of religion and belief are tremendous, allowing people to bring their whole selves—faith and all—to work every day. As more and more global Fortune 100 corporations realize and promote this, they are becoming powerful builders of religious freedom in workplaces worldwide.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Brian Grim. President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation
  • Ingrid Vanderveldt, CEO, Empower a Billion Women
  • Sharon Brown-Hruska, Former Chief Economist, US State Department

Day 2

WEDNESDAY, JULY 14
Boat People SOS

Challenges to Religious Freedom in Southeast Asia

Room: Governors Boardroom 

Time: 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm 

Description: This session will cover two Southeast Asian countries where religious freedom is severely curtailed: Myanmar under military rule and Vietnam under the communist regime. Human rights advocates and former victims of persecution will share their stories and experience and present collaborative models with effective strategies and concrete actions.

Speakers:

  • Boat People SOS (BPSOS)
  • Montagnard Evangelical Church of Christ
  • NextGen-VN
  • Institute for Global Engagement
  • Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy
BYU Law – International Center for Law and Religion Studies

Points of Light: Healing Division by Centering on Human Dignity for Everyone Everywhere

Room: Diplomat 

Time: 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm 

Description: Panel discussion by the authors of Points of Light, a book that uses the principles of human dignity to address conflict and find common ground in the human rights arena. Free copies of the book will be given to attendees.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Gregory Prince, Madison House Autism Foundation
  • JaLynn Prince, Founder, President and Chairman of the Board, Madison House Autism Foundation

 

Family Research Council

Africa’s Violent Christian Persecution: A Danger to the World

Room: Empire 

Time: 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm 

Description: Africa is facing unprecedented challenges, and Christian communities are at risk. Believers endure abduction and arrests for sharing the Gospel and are even being brutally massacred and driven from their homes because of their faith. This panel will examine the causes of these escalating dangers, featuring eye-witness accounts from survivors and expert analysis of how the international community should respond.

Speakers:

  • Mariam Ibraheem, Sudanese Survivor of Persecution
  • Joy Bishara, Survivor of Boko Haram
  • Fr. Joseph Bature Fidelis, Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri
  • Nina Shea, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute
For the Martyrs

Uniting a Coalition: Breaking the Silence on Christian Persecution

Room: Hampton 

Time: 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm 

Description: Despite Christians being the most persecuted religious group, the issue of Christian Persecution is often ignored by the media and overlooked within our communities of faith. In this side session, learn how to unify and mobilize a grassroots effort to raise awareness about the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.

Speakers:

  • Gia Chacón, Founding President, For the Martyrs
International Christian Concern

India and the Rising Tide of Persecution

Room: Palladian 

Time: 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm 

Description: Since Prime Minister Modi and the BJP took power in 2014, Christians have been persecuted like never before. At this event, ICC will discuss these developments and unveil the latest discoveries surrounding religious freedom in India.

Speakers:

  • Matias Perttula, Director of Advocacy, International Christian Concern 
  • Jeff King, President, International Christian Concern
  • Nikhil Mandalaparthy, Director of Advocacy, Hindus for Human Rights
  • Ajit Sahi, Director of Advocacy, Indian American Muslim Council 
  • Sam Brownback, Former Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, Co Chair of IRF Summit
  • Katrina Lantos Swett, Co Chair of the International Religious Freedom Summit
Uyghur Human Rights Project

China’s Criminalization of Islam in East Turkistan: The Policy Agenda

Room: Congressional 

Time: 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm

Description: Join the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), Uyghur American Association (UAA), and World Uyghur Congress (WUC) for a presentation of new evidence of China’s persecution of Uyghurs and the criminalization of religious practice, as well as discussion of current and proposed actions to respond to the crisis. Kalbinur Gheni, Uyghur advocate and UAA member, will provide testimony on her experience with family members detained for religious practice; Dolkun Isa, WUC President, will provide personal testimony and actions in Europe; and Peter Irwin will discuss a new UHRP report, Islam Dispossessed—featured by the BBC—which exposes the detention and persecution of Uyghur imams.

Day 3

THURSDAY, JULY 15
ADF International

Promoting International Religious Freedom: How Students and Young Professionals Can Make a Difference

Room: Empire 

Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm 

Description: The current generation of students and young professionals is the future of the international religious freedom movement. The Young Leaders Track aims to launch a global movement of young leaders who stand for religious freedom for everyone, everywhere, all the time. During this side session, participants will learn from each other and from seasoned advocates how to implement hands-on projects in their own communities to advance international religious freedom. Participants will form important connections and have the opportunity to join a global network of fellow young leaders who are making a difference for religious freedom.

Speakers:

  • Sean Nelson, Legal Counsel, Global Religious Freedom, ADF International
  • Trent Martin, Advocacy and Training Coordinator, 21Wilberforce
  • Shirin Taber, Director, Empower Women Media
  • Kori Porter, CEO, CSW-USA
  • Judith Golub, Activist
Barnabas Aid

Asia Bibi: A Case Study in Pakistan

Room: Palladian 

Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm 

Description: Come and hear from Asia Bibi herself, and hear about life as a Christian in Pakistan.

Speakers:

  • Mr. John Marsh
  • Mrs. A+sia Bibi
China Aid Association

Religious Freedom and Rule of Law Under Xi Jinping

Room: Governors Boardroom 

Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm 

Description: Xi Jinping’s rise to power in 2013 brought religious persecution to a level that hasn’t been seen since the Cultural Revolution. In this panel, Bob Fu, Serikzhan Bilash, and Baggio Leung will discuss the Uyghur genocide, the suffocation of Hong Kong democracy, and the underground house church under Xi’s rule.

Speakers:

  • Bob Fu, Founder and Director, ChinaAid
  • Serikzhan Bilash, Founder and Director of Atajurt Kazakh Human Rights
  • Baggio Leung, Activist and Former Hong Kong legislator
  • Congressman Frank Wolf, Former U.S. Representative
  • Gulzira Auelkhan, Survivor of detention camps in Xinjiang
  • Enoch Li, Son of Pastor Yang Hua
IRF Secretariat

The Role of Religious Freedom Roundtables, the IRF Summit, and IRF Secretariat in the Future of the Global Movement

Room: Congressional 

Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm 

Description: This session will be a Special International Religious Freedom Roundtable that will focus on the future of the global movement—a future of increasing global communication, cooperation through engagement that builds religious freedom on relationships of mutual respect and protection, and coordination of actions within and across global networks of civil society roundtables and partners, governments, and parliamentarians.

Speakers:

  • Greg Mitchell, Chairman – IRF Secretariat
  • Dr. Paul Murray, Vice President – Global Peace Foundation International
  • Lauren Homer, Homer International Law
  • Simran Singh Stuelpnagel, IRF Secretariat
  • Mehmet Saracoglu, Rumi Forum
  • Anila Ali, American Muslims & Multifaith Womens Empowerment Council
  • Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman – Representative to the U.S.A., Kurdistan Regional Government
  • Pastor Raul Marroquin – Estamos Unidos
  • Wade Kusack – LYNC
  • Julie Millsap – Campaign for Uyghurs
  • Kyle Abts – International Committee on Nigeria
  • Ambassador Bi-Khim Hsiao – Representative, Taipei Economic & Cultural Representative Office

 

Religious Freedom Institute

Neutralizing the Harm of Blasphemy Laws: A Religious Freedom Problem

Room: Diplomat 

Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm 

Description: Blasphemy laws, and their dramatic legal and social consequences, have been the source of immense harm to individuals and institutions across the globe. These laws are disproportionately present and enforced in Muslim-majority countries with devastating impacts on both majority and minority communities. What practical steps must we take to shift the legal, religious, and societal trends that support these laws?

Speakers:

  • Paul Marshall, Director, Southeast and Southeast Asia, Religious Freedom institute and Wilson Professor of Religious Freedom, Baylor University
  • Farahnaz Ispahani, Senior Fellow, South and Southeast Asia, Religious Freedom Institute
  • Rehman Chishti MP, Member of UK Parliament and Senior Fellow, International Religious Freedom Policy, Religious Freedom Institute
  • Ahmet Kuru, Senior Fellow, Middle East, Religious Freedom Institute and Porteous Professor of Political Science at San Diego State University
  • Jeremy P. Barker, Director, Middle East Action Team, Religious Freedom Institute
  • Arafat Mazhar, CEO, Engage Pakistan and CEO and Founder of PuffBall Studios
The Philos Project

Why International Religious Freedom Has Failed over the Past Generation and How it Can Succeed

Room: Hampton

Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm 

Description: The international religious freedom movement is not nearly as effective as it should be given the amount of time, money, and energy that has been put into it for three decades. Foreign policymaking takes place in the US and around the world with almost no consideration of, or even respect for, the institutions and arguments that drive the movement. One problem is the growing rift in Western countries over the values we seek to defend. Another problem is the seeming inability of religious freedom advocates to address with the pragmatic realities of geography, politics, and security that play such a decisive role in international affairs. Add to these other problems that include Beltway-centricity, imprudent military ventures, entanglement in domestic politics, and the failure to train a new generation of leaders and you have the bloated and largely ineffective movement that we see today. The time has come for religious freedom advocates to talk honestly about past shortcomings and relaunch the movement with a realistic, long-term strategy that can withstand the growing challenges to religious freedom that we see all over the globe.

Speakers:

  • Robert Nicholson
  • Darren Duke
  • Andrew Doran
G20 Interfaith Forum

Religion, Humanitarianism, and G20 Policy Initiatives: Promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB)

Room: Empire

Time: 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

Description: For the past several years, the G20 Interfaith Forum has been making practical policy recommendations consistent with interfaith aspirations, while bringing together a network of networks that can aid in such efforts. Join the discussion on supplemental approaches to protecting FoRB.

Speakers:

  • W. Cole Durham, Jr., President, G20 Interfaith Forum Association
  • Michael K. Young, Former Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Katherine Marshall, Senior Fellow, Berkley Center, Georgetown University; G20 Interfaith Forum, VP
  • Robert W. Hefner, Professor, Boston University; President, American Institute for Indonesian Studies
  • Kyai Haji Yahya Cholil Staquf, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Supreme Council
  • Timothy Samuel Shah, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Center for Shared Civilizational Values
Hindu American Foundation

Religious Freedom in Bangladesh 1971-2021 From Genocide to Today

Room: Congressional 

Time: 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

Description: Guests will hear from an expert panel of speakers who will discuss the 1971 genocide and its ramifications today, how Bangladesh turned away from its secular constitution in 1988 and declared Islam its official state religion, and the status of Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and other religious minorities in Bangladesh today.

Speakers: 

  • Dr. Richard Benkin, Author
  • Dr. Sachi Dastidar, Professor, State University of NY
  • Deepali Kulkarni, Director of Human Rights, Hindu American Foundation
  • Taniel Koushakjian, Director of Public Policy, Hindu American Foundation
  • Brahmachari Sharan, Director for Hindu Life & Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University
  • U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA-17)
In Defense of Christians

Allies, Antagonists, and Arm Sales: How Improved U.S. Defense Policy Can Support Religious Freedom in the Middle East

Room: Diplomat 

Time: 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

Description: The largest Christian community in the Middle East, Egypt’s Coptic Christians, remains the target of violent attacks. Why is Egypt, the second largest recipient of U.S. defense assistance, unable to secure these communities? The Middle East’s final remaining bastion of Christianity, Lebanon, is projected to implode into failed state status, or even civil war, if it remains on its current course. The U.S. is the world’s leading international supporter of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), while Iran’s lethal grip, through its proxy Hezbollah, directly threatens peaceful religious coexistence in the Land of the Cedars. Turkey, a supposed NATO Ally, persecutes Christians domestically and internationally—in Syria, Iraq, and Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh)—through direct Turkish support to jihadist militias. The Gulf States remain key U.S. security partners, and yet include some of the world’s worst religious freedom violators. These examples provide insight into how U.S. foreign policy, particularly security policy and military assistance—if properly leveraged—can incentivize and influence an improvement in the status of religious freedom for Christians in the land of Christ’s birth.

Speakers:

  • Richard Ghazal – Executive Director, In Defense of Christians
  • Robert Nicholson – President, Philos Project
  • Aram Hamparian – Executive Director, Armenian National Committee of America
  • Endy Zemenides – Executive Director, Hellenic American Leadership Council
  • Samuel Tadros – Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom
Office of Tibet, DC

Persecution of Tibetans’ Religious Freedom

Room: Governors Boardroom

Time:3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

Description: A conversation about the ongoing persecution of Tibetans’ religious freedom with Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the former president of the Central Tibetan Administration.

Speakers:

  • Ngodup Tsering, Representative, Office of Tibet-DC
  • Sophie Richardson, China Director at Human Rights Watch
Templeton Religion Trust

Engaging Donors

Room: Hampton 

Time: 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

Description: This practical session shares some principles of engagement from two TRT grantees—The Aspen Institute’s Dr. Allison Ralph and the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation’s Dr. Brian Grim. The principles will consider domestic and international application, the nature of the donor—individual or institutional, faith-based or not, private or governmental—and whether the donor seeks unsolicited submissions. Common themes include relationship, partnership, and thought leadership. In other words, engaging donors is similar to engaging a specific country and cultural context: you have to know about yourself and your mission, you have to know something about the place you are engaging (i.e., the donor and its mission), and you have to know how to discover and/or create alignment between you, such that the common good is served, together.

Speakers:

  • Brian Grim, President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation
  • Allison Ralph, Interim Director of the Inclusive America Project, The Aspen Institute
Presbyterian Church of Taiwan

Taiwan: A Leading Voice for Religious Freedom

Room: Palladian 

Time: 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

Description: Taiwan has been steadfast in pursuing justice and religious freedom inside and outside its borders amidst China’s crackdown on religious groups. Ambassador Hsiao Bi-khim, Commissioner Nadine Maenza, Judge Ken Starr, Dr. Sen-Hong Yang, and Bob Fu will cover Taiwan’s role in pushing back against rising religious persecution in China.

Speakers:

  • Bob Fu, President and Founder, ChinaAid
  • Judge Ken Starr
  • Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwanese Ambassador to the U.S.
  • Nadine Maenza, Chair, US Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Sen-Hong Yang, President, Taiwan Association for China Human Rights
  • Ren Ruiting, Early Rain Covenant Church member
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA

Digitizing Religious Repression on a Global Scale: How Pakistan is Exporting its Blasphemy Laws to the U.S. and Beyond

Room: Diplomat 

Time: 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm 

Description: Since 1984, Pakistan has used its penal code to prosecute and punish blasphemy. As has been well-documented by the U.S. State Department, Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws have long suffocated the rights of religious communities, including Ahmadi Muslims, Shia Muslims and Christians. But in recent months, Pakistan has used its telecommunication authority (PTA) to initiate legal actions against non-Pakistani foreign operators of digital content, including U.S. citizens, under threat of criminal prosecution for blasphemy. In addition, PTA has capitulated to a massive troll farming disinformation campaign initiated by extreme groups against Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan by forcing big technology companies, such as Google, to remove Ahmadi-created digital applications or risk criminal prosecution. Disturbingly, these companies have complied with PTA’s demands despite the resulting human rights concerns over freedom of expression, religion, and belief. This seminar addresses the grave implications of the extra-territorial application of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws on U.S. and other foreign citizens and the role of big technology companies in abiding by international human rights standards.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Sir Iftikhar Ayaz, Chairman, International Human Rights Committee
  • Knox Thames, Visiting Expert US Institute for Peace
  • Nadine Maenza, Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • Kian Vesteinsson, Research Analyst, Freedom House
  • Waris Hussain, Adjunct Professor, Howard Law School
  • Brett Williamson, Partner, O’Melvery & Meyers
    Bruderhof

    The Impact of War on Religious Freedom

    Room: Empire 

    Time: 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm 

    Description: A 5 speaker moderated roundtable discussion on the impact of war on religious minorities.

    Speakers:

    • Angela Wu Howard/International Law Fellow/Becket Institute
    • Father Andre Mahanna- “Abouna” Recognized Thought-Leader
    • Trita Parsi/Executive Vice President/Quincy Institute 
    • J. Heinrich Arnold/Senior Pastor/Bruderhof 
    • William Devlin (aka PB)/Infinity’s Mission Pastor 
    • Lauren Homer/International Lawyer/Steering Committee of the IRF Roundtable 
      HIAS

      Policy Solutions: Persecuted Religious Minorities and International Refugee Protection

      Room: Palladian 

      Time: 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm 

      Description: This session, led by HIAS, will highlight examples of religious minorities in need of international refugee protection. The panelists will offer resettlement, asylum and foreign policy recommendations for the United States, and will provide concrete suggestions for taking action. The interactive dialogue will include multi-faith perspectives from refugee advocacy experts.

      Speakers:

      • Naomi Steinberg, Vice President, Policy & Advocacy/HIAS
      • Ryan Mace, Senior Policy Adviser for Civil and Political Rights/American Jewish World Service
      • Jenny Yang, Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy/World Relief
      • Christina Tobias-Nah, Director of Communications& Public Affairs/Islamic Relief USA
        Hudson Institute

        Working Group on Christians & Religious Pluralism in the Middle East

        Room: Governors Boardroom

        Time: 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm 

        Description: Christian Sacred Sites in the Middle East: Key to Religious Pluralism in Christianity’s Places of Origin. This will be a practical and theoretical discussion with experts on why and how Christian sacred sites require protection and preservation in the Middle East and how this can contribute to religious pluralism in the places of Christianity’s origin. Speakers will examine sites in Bethlehem, parts of Syria and Nineveh.

        Speakers:

        • Nina Shea, CoChair, Hudson Institute,
        • Elizabeth Prodromou, Co Chair, Hudson Institute,
        • Mazen Karam, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Bethlehem Development Foundation
        • Stephen Rasche, Vice Chancellor, Catholic University in Erbil; Executive Director, Institute of Ancient and Threatened Christianity
        • Sara Savva, Associate Director, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch Department of Development and Ecumenical Relations (GOPA-DERD)
            Jubilee Campaign

            Freedom to Choose: The Abolish Anti-Conversion Laws and Apostasy Penalties Coalition

            Room: Hampton

            Time: 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm 

            Description: This year in March 2021 over 50 countries came out with a bold statement during the United Nations Human Rights Council 46th calling for the repeal of the death penalty for apostasy or blasphemy laws, “both in practice and in law”. Following the statement the European Parliament voted – with an overwhelming majority – to immediately review Pakistan’s GSP+ status [a favorable bilateral trade agreement] in light of their blasphemy law and called for the immediate release of the prisoners of conscience held under blasphemy charges. In addition, in the US, both the Congress and the Senate passed resolutions calling for the global repeal of apostasy, blasphemy and heresy laws during the last congressional session in 2020. The resolutions called on countries applying such laws to be considered as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) for their violations of freedom to choose a religion or belief. Despite this however, countries violating the fundamental right to choose a religion or belief, have still not been designated as a CPC, with countries like Brunei still enjoying the Visa Waiver. This side-event is convened to raise the voices of those affected by laws and practices that punish individuals for leaving or adopting another religion and address how policy makers can work to turn the tide and encourage more states to follow Sudan’s good practices and repeal the apostasy or similar laws considering the suffering it causes and the resulting violations of basic human rights.

            Speakers:

            • Marziyeh Amirizadeh 
            • Mariam Ibraheem, Tahrir Alnisa Foundation 
            • Ambassador Jos Douma
            • Tim Scheiderer, St. Charles Institute
            • Kamal Fahmi, Founder Set My People Free
            • Ann Buwalda, Executive Director, Jubilee Campaign
                Religious Freedom Coalition

                Islamist Enroachment into Christian Majority States

                Focusing on Plateau State and recent deadly Islamist attacks in the Jos-Miango areas during May, 2021. Plateau State is a “belt state” between the Sharia law governed northern states and the secular states of the south. Details of the evacuation of the Religious Freedom Coalition financed orphanage in Miango and attacks along the Jos Miango Road.