Upholding Religious Freedom in Local Communities

March 20, 2017 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Newseum, Knight Conference Center (enter on 6th Street)
555 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Free and open to the public. Registration required.

Religious and civic leadership in the 21st century requires a thorough understanding of the guiding principles of the First Amendment, which enables Americans to negotiate religious and philosophical differences with civility and respect. Most religious and civic leaders receive little or no education about the history and significance of the religious liberty principles of the First Amendment. These principles provide the civic framework for living among people of any religion or none.

Tonight’s panel features religious and civic leaders from around the country who represent a diverse array of ideological and disciplinary traditions: Latter-Day Saint (Mormon), Anglican, Episcopal, Sunni Islam, Jewish, and Unitarian Universalist. These leaders are actively engaged in religious freedom advocacy work by moving education about the topic from theory to practice within their local communities.

This event is sponsored by the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute.


Sabrina E. Dent, speaker, is the director of admissions and recruitment at the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute. Sabrina previously served as the program coordinator for the Doctor of Ministry Program at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. She is the past president for the Interfaith Council of Greater Richmond.

Kristen Looney, moderator, is project director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute. As a religious leader and educator, Kristen develops partnerships and equips leaders with dialogue skills. She was the head of Programs and Partnerships for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in the United States.

Engy Abdelkader, panelist, is a senior fellow and adjunct professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University where she teaches seminars on civil liberties and national security as well as terrorism and human rights. She is the author of “When Islamophobia Turns Violent: The 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections,” and her work has been featured on CNN, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, CBS News and other news media platforms.

Dr. Charles C. Haynes, panelist, is vice president of the Newseum Institute, founding director of the Religious Freedom Center and a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center. He writes and speaks extensively on religious liberty and religion in American public life, particularly on First Amendment issues in public schools.

Joel Campbell, panelist, is associate professor in journalism in Brigham Young University School of Communications. He holds a master’s degree from Ohio State University. He worked 20 years as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Salt Lake City. He teaches media writing, journalism principles, media and religion, and research courses.

Dianne Daniels, panelist, is a community activist and a passionate advocate for women, civil and voting rights. Working for over 20 years in the Information Technology field, she is the city’s first Director of Management Information Systems. Dianne is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Starr King School for the Ministry.

Mazhun Idris, panelist, is a freelance journalist with over 10 years of experience working for Nigerian newspapers and other media outlets. He is currently serving as an intern for the Center for Islam and Religious Freedom and AtlasCorps in Washington, D.C.

Aesha Mehta, panelist, is currently the Associate Director of Programs at the Hindu American Foundation where she manages and implements a broad range of community and education programs. Previously, Ms. Mehta worked in banking to assess the credit worthiness and risk factors for clients partners and related transactions.

Lauren W. Herman, panelist, is a civil rights lawyer, community organizer, and scholar of religion and the law. After law school, Lauren clerked for the Honorable Chief Justice Stuart Rabner at the Supreme Court of New Jersey. She previously worked with the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network for Justice.


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