Sens. Coons, Lankford and Reps. Cuellar, Smith join Manchin and Brownback as bipartisan honorary co-chairs of International Religious Freedom Summit 2021

Apr. 22, 2021

Summit keynote speakers also include Imam Magid, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elpidophoros, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Angaelos, Lord David Alton, Frank Wolf and others

WASHINGTON — Former U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback and United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Gayle Manchin have announced the honorary congressional co-chairs and keynote speakers for the International Religious Freedom Summit 2021, a grassroots gathering of civil society and religious groups from all over the world. The Summit will take place Tuesday, July 13 through Thursday, July 15 in Washington, D.C. 

Honorary congressional co-chairs include:

  • Sen. Christopher Coons — Delaware (D): Co-founder and co-chair of the U.S. Senate Human Rights Caucus; U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs; U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee; U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee; U.S. Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee; U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics. 
  • Sen. James Lankford — Oklahoma (R): U.S. Senate Committee on Finance; U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs; U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics; Co-founder and co-chair, U.S. Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism; Commissioner, Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
  • Rep. Henry Cuellar — Texas, 28th District (D): Chief Deputy Whip, U.S. House of Representatives; U.S. House Appropriations Committee; Vice Chair, U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security; U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense; U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies.
  • Rep. Christopher Smith — New Jersey, 4th District (R): Author, Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000; Co-founder and co-chair, Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus; U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs; U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights & International Organizations; Co-chair, U.S. House Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission; U.S. House Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Keynote speakers include:

The Summit is supported by more than 40 diverse partners, including the Religious Freedom Institute, Uyghur Human Rights Project, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Alliance Defending Freedom, among others. It aims to bring greater attention to religious freedom violations and to create a powerful coalition of groups to advance the cause of religious freedom around the world.

The U.S. Department of State held back-to-back Ministerials to Advance Religious Freedom in 2018 and 2019, which brought together international leaders to discuss religious persecution and discrimination throughout the world and pursue solutions. Brazil will host the 2021 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in the fall. 

This civil society-led International Religious Freedom Summit will build on the movement started by the government-led ministerials. 

More information on the International Religious Freedom Summit 2021 is available here

Registration and accommodations are available here.

International Religious Freedom Summit 2021 is convening a powerful, diverse and non-partisan coalition of religious and civil society groups to advocate for religious freedom for all people, everywhere at all times. The 2021 Summit will be held July 13-15 in Washington, D.C.

Samuel Brownback served as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom from 2018 to 2021.

Gayle Manchin is Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.