Young Leaders Track of International Religious Freedom Summit 2021 to train teenagers and young adults to advocate for survivors of religious persecution

Jun. 8, 2021

WASHINGTON — As part of International Religious Freedom Summit 2021, young leaders ages 15 to 35 are invited to participate in the Young Leaders Track, chaired by Nguyen Dinh Thang, president and CEO of Boat People SOS (BPSOS). The Young Leaders Track will take place Tuesday, July 13 through Thursday, July 15 virtually and at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

“Forty-two years ago, I arrived in the United States as a boat refugee from Vietnam. I know firsthand the horrors of persecution and the horrors that come with risking everything to flee for freedom,” said Thang. “It is my great privilege to advocate for and support survivors of persecution and human trafficking in Vietnam, Southeast Asia and around the world, and share my experiences with young leaders at this year’s International Religious Freedom Summit.”

Young Leaders Track participants will:

  • Receive training on human rights advocacy from experienced advocates, government officials and survivors of religious persecution.
  • Develop advocacy projects that they can implement in their own hometowns, schools and communities.
  • Connect with other young leaders from around the world who are passionate about religious freedom.

Before the summit, young leaders are urged to participate in these interactive online forums:

Along with the general summit track, the Young Leaders Track includes three additional events:

  • The Launching Young Leaders Network Side Event — Young leaders will apply their international religious freedom knowledge and advocacy training to brainstorm and develop plans for projects, such as advocating for international prisoners of conscience, that they can implement in their communities.
  • Congressional Advocacy Day — Young leaders will meet with members of Congress and/or their staff on Capitol Hill or virtually to advocate in support of international religious freedom.
  • Professional development opportunities — Young leaders will connect with experienced advocates in the field and participate in networking events.

Additional resources and events:

Over 60 diverse partners support the Summit. They seek to bring greater attention to international religious freedom violations and to create a powerful coalition of groups united in support of religious freedom around the world.

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

The full schedule of events for the summit is available here.

International Religious Freedom Summit 2021 is convening a powerful, diverse coalition of religious and civil society groups to advocate for religious freedom for all people, everywhere at all times. The 2021 Summit will be 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. He serves as co-chair of IRF Summit 2021.

Katrina Lantos Swett is president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice and former chair and vice-chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). She serves as co-chair of IRF Summit 2021.