WASHINGTON — With just a day until the kickoff of the sold-out International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit 2021, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (via video), former Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo and USAID Administrator Samantha Power have joined a stellar lineup of speakers that includes special messages from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Award-winning actor and producer Mahershala Ali, among other prominent international religious freedom advocates. The Summit is led by co-chairs Samuel Brownback and Katrina Lantos Swett, Honorary Senate co-chairs Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Honorary House co-chairs Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ, 4th District) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas, 28th District).
“Once again, the energy around religious freedom has far exceeded our expectations,” said Samuel Brownback, co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Summit 2021. “This freedom is a fundamental, universal human right that is essential to personal and societal flourishing. We’re amazed and humbled by the incredible commitment of people from all over the world who will join us — many of whom are risking their lives by doing so — to advocate for religious freedom for everyone, everywhere, all the time.”
More than 30 faith traditions will be represented at the Summit, which is made up of 79 partners from around the world. Over three days, 82 plenary speakers will address attendees across 35 breakout sessions on topics such as religious genocide, refugee protection, philanthropy, leadership, corporate global supply chains and many more.
Attendees will hear from:
- Adam Phillips — Director, Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, USAID
- Adlay Kejjan — Executive Director, Yazidi American Women (YAW) Organization
- Amjad Mahmood Khan — Founding Partner, Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan LLP
- Andrew Brunson — Pastor
- Anurima Bhargava — Commissioner, USCIRF
- Asia Bibi — Pakistani Christian
- Archbishop Aykazian — Ecumenical Director and Diocesan Legate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America
- Archbishop Elpidophoros — Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
- Archbishop Warda — Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Erbil
- Bob (Xiqiu) Fu — Founder and President, ChinaAid
- Cardinal Timothy Dolan — Archbishop of New York
- Cash Luna — Pastor
- His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
- Daniel Nadel — Senior Official, Office of International Religious Freedom
- David Curry — President and CEO, Open Doors USA
- David Saperstein — Former Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom
- Eric Patterson —Executive Vice President, Religious Freedom Institute
- Farhan Latif — President, El-Hibri Foundation
- Frank Wolf — Former United States Congressman
- Greg Mitchell — Co-chair, International Religious Freedom Roundtable
- Imam Mohamed Magid — Executive Imam, All Dulles Area Muslim Society
- Ingrid Vanderveldt — Chairman and CEO, Empowering a Billion Women, EBW Distributors, Vanderveldt Global Investments
- James Chen — Vice President of Global Operations, Institute for Global Engagement
- Ján Figeľ — Member of the Governing Board of The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), Budapest, Hungary
- Johnnie Moore – President, Congress of Christian Leaders
- Joy Bishara — Christian from Chibok, Nigeria
- Knox Thames — Visiting Expert, U.S. Institute of Peace
- Mahershala Ali – Award-winning actor and producer
- Mark Green — President, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars
- Melissa Rogers — Executive Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
- Mike Pompeo — Former U.S. Secretary of State; Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency
- Most. Rev. Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah — Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria
- Nadine Maenza — Commissioner, USCIRF
- Nancy Pelosi — Speaker of the House, U.S. House of Representatives
- Naomi Kikoler — Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Nasrin Rasho — Human Rights Activist, Yazidi Survivors Network
- Nina Shea — Director, Center for Religious Freedom
- Nury Turkel — Commissioner, USCIRF
- Olivia Enos — Senior Policy Analyst, Asian Studies Center, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, Heritage Foundation
- Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ, 4th District) — Honorary House co-chair of International Religious Freedom Summit 2021
- Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas, 28th District) — Honorary House co-chair of International Religious Freedom Summit 2021
- Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif., 17th District) — U.S. House of Representatives
- Rita Stephan — Regional Coordinator for Religious & Ethnic Minorities, USAID
- Samantha Power — USAID Administrator; former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
- Sat Bachan — Certified High Performance Coach; International Business Consultant
- Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) — Honorary Senate co-chair of International Religious Freedom Summit 2021
- Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) — Honorary Senate co-chair of International Religious Freedom Summit 2021
- Tina Ramirez — Republican candidate for Congress, Virginia’s 7th District
- Tom Farr — President, Religious Freedom Institute
- Tony Perkins — President, Family Research Council; Vice Chair, USCIRF
- Tristan Azbej — State Secretary, Aid of Persecuted Christians
- Tursunay Ziyawudun — Voice for Uyghur Women
- Wade Kusack — Senior Fellow for Central Asia, Institute for Global Engagement; Founder and President, Love Your Neighbor Community
- Wai Wai Nu — Founder, Women’s Peace Network
- Yahya Cholil Staquf — General Secretary, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)
- Yerzhan Nukezhanov — Chairman of the Committee on Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan
- Zeenat Rahman — Executive Director, University of Chicago Institute of Politics
Keynote sessions include:
In Solidarity with the Persecuted — Tuesday, July 13 from 5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. (ET). Special event on Capitol Hill for Congressional Advocacy Day (limited attendance due to capitol restrictions).
Big Surveillance and the Rise of Technology in Persecution; Addressing Genocide: Preventing and Recovering from Religious Cleansing; Refugee Protection — Wednesday, July 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (ET).
Contextualizing IRF: The Founders of the Movement and Thought Leaders; The Role of Philanthropy in International Religious Freedom; Legal Structures of Persecution and Religious Discrimination — Wednesday, July 14 from 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. (ET).
IRF in Economy, National Security and Accountability; The Rising Tide of Religious Nationalism; IRF Secretariat Segment: Governments and Frameworks that Advance Religious Freedom — Thursday, July 15 from 8:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Hope for the Future: Civil Society and American Global and Multilateral Leadership — Thursday, July 15 from 6:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. (ET).
The full schedule of events and side events for the in-person International Religious Freedom Summit 2021 can be found here.
On Friday, July 16, the International Religious Freedom Secretariat and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation will host the International Religious Freedom Roundtable Virtual Summit. The first session, “Planning for a New Approach,” will be led by Greg Mitchell, co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable, from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (ET). The second session, “The Business Case for International Religious Freedom” is a panel discussion featuring Kathy Ireland, Ingrid Vanderveldt, King Husein, Katrina Lantos Swett and Brian Grim. These plenary sessions will be livestreamed free of charge on the IRF Summit 2021 website. Register for the Virtual Summit here.
The International Religious Freedom Summit 2021 will begin on Tuesday, July 13 at 2 p.m. (ET) and conclude on Thursday, July 15 at 10 p.m. (ET) at the Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington (2500 Calvert Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20008).
The Summit is supported by more than 70 diverse partners around the world 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.
As the Summit convenes activists from around the world, many of whom have risked lives and livelihoods, the event will be credentialed for security. Press credentials for the Summit must be requested by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.