IRF Summit 2022 confers IRF Impact Awards

Jun. 30, 2022

WASHINGTON — The IRF Summit conferred Thursday the 2022 IRF Impact Awards, which recognize individuals driving outstanding changes in the international religious sphere.

“These awards are given out to dedicated individuals who have served the global movement to advance religious freedom by taking responsibility, playing a leadership role, and taking courageous actions to confront tyranny, persecution, and even genocide,” said Greg Mitchell, Chairman and CEO of IRF Secretariat, who chairs the IRF Summit Awards Committee. “Each recipient has been instrumental, in their own unique way, in increasing the impact of our combined efforts to secure this most fundamental human right.”

This year’s IRF Impact Award recipients include:

  • Civil Society Advocacy Leader – Enes Kanter Freedom, NBA free agent and religious freedom advocate
  • Civil Society Business Leader – Lynn Zovighian, Managing Director of The Zovighian Partnership
  • Civil Society Youth Leader – Jamaima Afridi, Journalist and women’s rights activist
  • Member of Congress/Parliament – Lord David Alton, Baron Alton of Liverpool
  • Current/Former Government Leader – Nadine Maenza, IRF Secretariat President and former chair of USCIRF

All award recipients were honored during the IRF Impact Awards Gala on Thursday, June 30, which took place at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Gala included a keynote conversation
between Enes Kanter Freedom and Katrina Lantos Swett, and a success story from Chris Seiple and Ambassador Javlon Vakhabov.

The IRF Summit 2022 is the second annual gathering of international freedom advocates and activists from around the world. It 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 Summit is convened by former Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and Dr. Katina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. It is supported by more than 70 diverse partners, including the IRF Secretariat, Religious Freedom Institute, Uyghur Human Rights Project, American Hindu Foundation, Open Doors, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Alliance Defending Freedom, among others, and 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.

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.