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Deep Dive

  • On July 17, we are hosting three separate, concurrent discussions for the attendees of Day One to unpack ideas generated during Day One. These sessions are hosted in three different venues within and in the immediate vicinity of the Harry S. Truman Building to allow for more focused discussions and a greater number of breakout sessions.

  • We invite topical experts, civil society actors, religious leaders, academics, and working-level government officials to discuss topics such as: best practices for religious freedom advocacy; limitations in forming, registering and recognizing religious communities; challenges facing religious minorities; combatting the rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Islamic behavior; and countering violent extremism; religious freedom and national security; religious freedom and economic development; cultural heritage protection for religious sites; religious minorities and humanitarian crises; international development aid and religious freedom; and mobilizing faith leaders around peace and development goals.

Watch footage from each of Day 2’s three tracks: Building Blocks for Advancing Religious Freedom (Track I); Emerging Trends in Religious Freedom (Track II – below); and Religious Freedom in Development and Humanitarian Assistance (Track III).

Emerging Trends in Religious Freedom (Track II)

First Session

The “Emerging Trends in Religious Freedom” track began its first session with State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus welcoming attendees and introducing Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. A presentation by a Chinese Buddhist survivor of religious persecution and an introduction by Ambassador Callista Gingrich transitioned the track to the general session “Documenting Atrocities with Sara Bloomfield.”

9:00 – 9:05 am Welcome and Introduction by Morgan Ortagus, State Department Spokesperson
9:05 – 9:20 am Speech by Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
9:20 – 9:35 am Presentation by Survivor of Religious Persecution (China, Buddhist)
Introduction: Ambassador Callista Gingrich
9:35 – 10:45 am General Session: Documenting Atrocities with Sara Bloomfield
Moderator: Ambassador Kelley Currie, Office of Global Criminal Justice

Speakers: Naomi Kikoler, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; Chris Engels, Commission for International Justice and Accountability; Karim Khan, UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh
10:45 – 11:00 am Instructions and Transition to Breakout Rooms by Special Advisor Knox Thames

Off-camera breakout sessions for participants in this track included: Religious Freedom and Countering Violent Extremism; Women’s Rights and International Religious Freedom; and Teaching Interfaith Tolerance. After lunch, participants could choose to attend another round of breakout sessions on: Preserving Cultural Heritage for Religious Communities; Atrocity Prevention – Protecting Vulnerable Religious Minorities in Conflict and Crisis Settings; and Journalism and International Religious Freedom.

Second Session

Following a number of off-camera breakout sessions, a presentation by an International Religious Freedom Awardee started the track’s second session, follow by the general session “The Economic and Security Benefits of Advancing Religious Freedom.” Congressman Chris Smith gave closing remarks followed by summary of the day by Ambassador Brownback.

3:15 – 3:30 pm Presentation by International Religious Freedom Awardee
3:30 – 4:30 pm General Session: The Economic and Security Benefits of Advancing Religious Freedom
Moderator: Doug Padgett, Strategic Religious Engagement Unit Chief, IRF Office

Speakers: Brian Grim, Religious Freedom and Business Foundation (RFBF); Nilay Saiya, Religious Freedom Institute
4:30 – 4:45 pm Closing Remarks by Congressman Chris Smith
4:45 – 4:50 pm Closing and Summary of Day by Ambassador Brownback


U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future