RFI Welcomes Stephen M. Rasche as Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom Policy


January 7, 2022, Washington, D.C. – The Religious Freedom Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen M. Rasche as Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom Policy.

“The Religious Freedom Institute is delighted and privileged to welcome Stephen Rasche as our new Senior Fellow,” said Tom Farr, RFI President. “Rasche brings decades of invaluable experience promoting international religious freedom and other human rights. Throughout, he has been a fierce defender of persecuted religious minorities and will be a tremendous asset to RFI in the fight to advance religious freedom globally.”

In his role at RFI, Rasche will be focused on researching and investigating religious persecution in conflict zones and finding ways to promote religious freedom in those areas. He brings over 35 years of experience in international business and humanitarian aid projects in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with much of it in high-risk locales.  

Rasche’s professional background includes serving the Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil in response to the humanitarian crisis in Northern Iraq caused by ISIS. He assisted in coordinating the care of more than 150,000 internally displaced Christians, recognized by the U.S. State Department as victims of genocide. Rasche has also lived for extended periods in Iraq, held direct responsibility for the Catholic Church’s humanitarian and resettlement programs there, and served as international representative for the Church’s plight in Iraq, testifying numerous times before the U.S. Congress, E.U. Parliament, U.K. House of Lords, and the United Nations. 

Rasche was a founding officer of the Catholic University in Erbil in 2014, where he presently sits on the Board of Directors. He has served as an official representative to the Vatican Dicastery on Refugees and Migrants and is an official member of the Historical Commission to the Vatican Postulator in the cause of Fr. Ragheed Ganni and three murdered Iraqi Deacons. He is the principal international liaison on behalf of the Catholic University in Erbil and continues as counsel to the Chaldean Archdiocese of Erbil.

Beginning in 2019, Rasche took on additional work in Africa for the purpose of bringing best practices from his experience in Iraq to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Nigeria.  He is presently a visiting scholar at the Kukah Centre in Abuja, Nigeria, where his work is focused on the plight of internally displaced persons.

He is also the author of numerous articles on Iraq and religious minorities and has been interviewed and quoted in leading media outlets worldwide regarding his critically acclaimed book, The Disappearing People: The Tragic Fate of Christians in the Middle East.

Read more about Rasche in his biography.