Press Release: U.S. State Department to Hold High-Level Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom for Second Year in a Row

January 25, 2019, Washington, D.C. — The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) welcomes the U.S. Department of State’s recent announcement that it will host a second consecutive Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom July 16-18, 2019.

This high-level event, according to the announcement, “will again gather hundreds of government representatives, religious leaders, survivors of religious persecution, and members of civil society to build on the actions that began with the inaugural Ministerial last year.”

“We are grateful for Secretary Pompeo’s commitment to advancing religious freedom around the world,” said Thomas Farr, President of RFI and founding Director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom. “U.S. leadership is strengthened when it recognizes religious freedom both as a moral imperative and a source of national and international security,” Farr continued, “and the upcoming Ministerial is further evidence that this administration is doing just that.”

RFI advised the State Department in planning last year’s Ministerial, which was an action-orientated, three-day event that dealt with economic, security, and human rights issues. Coinciding with the Ministerial, RFI hosted four side events featuring experts discussing the 20th anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act, the role of the Vatican, lessons from Southeast Asia, and best practices for diplomats in advancing religious freedom.

As with the 2018 gathering, this year’s Ministerial has the potential to spur measurable change for years to come.

“Formal gatherings of this stature serve to make the U.S. commitment to international religious freedom more visible, durable, and effective. We applaud Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Brownback for making the Ministerial an annual event,” said Farr.

Media Contact:
Jeremy P. Barker

The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) works to secure religious freedom for everyone, everywhere. The RFI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C.