From February 12-19, RFI’s Vice President for Public Policy, David Trimble, joined Jeremy Barker, Director of RFI’s Middle East Action Team, to lead a series of religious freedom trainings and public events across Iraq.
RFI collaborated with the Iraqi Council of Representatives Parliamentary Development Institute to provide a multi-day training in Baghdad for legal staff and senior advisors from various departments across the Iraqi parliament. The trainings highlighted key principles and practices to support legislative efforts that promote religious freedom.
Moving from Baghdad to the Iraqi city of Erbil, RFI was a sponsor of the first International Conference on Religion and Social Peace, which the Catholic University in Erbil and Koya University co-hosted. Trimble delivered the conference’s opening keynote address in which he discussed the role of educational institutions in mitigating the vulnerabilities of minority religious communities and promoting religious freedom generally throughout Iraqi society. Barker presented a paper based on findings from the John Templeton Foundation-funded Freedom of Religious Institutions in Society Project. During his remarks, he outlined the contributions of institutional religious freedom to flourishing societies.