International Religious Freedom Act at 20 and World of Faith and Freedom at 10: What has Changed and What is Changing?

As the United States prepares to convene the first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, leading practitioners and former officials who have been at the heart of the U.S. International Religious Freedom Policy consider what has changed and what is changing in the implementation of that effort. Twenty years since the passing of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) and ten years since the publishing of World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty is Vital to American National Security by Thomas Farr, the arguments put forward in that book that religious freedom is good for security and undermining religion-related violence and promoting societal flourishing seem more incisive than ever.

Join leading figures in the global effort to advance religious freedom for this pre-Ministerial event to consider what can be done.

Program: 4:00-6:00 PM
Reception: 6:00-7:00 PM


  • Keynote Conversation: IRFA at 20 and World of Faith and Freedom at 10
    • Thomas FarrPresident, Religious Freedom Institute and Former Director, State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom (1999-2003)
    • Frank WolfDistinguished Senior Fellow, 21Wilberforce and Former Congressman (V-10, 1981-2015)
    • Moderator: Sharon PaytExecutive Director 21Wilberforce
  • Panel: What has changed and what is changing in international religious freedom?
    • Allen HertzkeDavid Ross Boyd Professor of Political Science, University of Oklahoma
    • Emilie Kao, Director, Devos Center for Religion and Society at the Heritage Foundation and Fmr. East Asia Team Lead, U.S. State Department Office of International Religious Freedom
    • Katrina Lantos SwettPresident, Lantos Foundation and Former Commissioner and Chair, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (2012-2016)
    • Moderator: Kent Hill, Executive Director, Religious Freedom Institute and Fmr. Assistant Administrator, United States Agency for International Development

Click here for speaker biographies.



The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) is a nonprofit organization committed to achieving broad acceptance of religious liberty as a fundamental human right, the cornerstone of a successful society, and a source of national and international security. It promotes religious freedom for all people throughout the world regardless of creed or conviction.

21Wilberforce is a human rights organization dedicated to empowering a global movement to advance religious freedom as a universal right of all people. As religious freedom advocates, they mobilize and equip partner networks of all faiths to advance freedom of belief and to safeguard against persecution in hostile places around the world.

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Jul 23 2018


3:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Room G-50 Dirksen Senate Office Building, 50 Constitution AvenueNortheast, Washington, DC, 20002, United States