Future of Religion and Diplomacy

Events

Mar
5
Mon
Human Rights and Freedom in Today’s Turkey @ Knight Conference Center
Mar 5 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Religious Freedom Center’s Committee on Religious Liberty will host a panel discussion about human rights violations and threats to basic freedoms in Turkey.

In July 2016, the attempted military takeover of the Turkish government resulted in a crackdown on the media and on dissenters of President Erdogan’s regime. Nearly 150,000 government employees — including prosecutors, judges, teachers and doctors — have been dismissed from their jobs with no right to appeal. More than 125,000 citizens have been detained and 60,000 are under arrest. With hundreds of media institutions taken over, shut down or threatened, and the highest number of jailed journalists in the world, independent media in Turkey have been almost decimated.

The panel will speak about the latest developments in Turkey and raise awareness of issues related to the government’s continued assault on individual freedoms.

Panelists

Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett
Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett

President, Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.
Dr. Lantos Swett is the former chair and vice-chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and teaches human rights and american foreign policy at Tufts University. She currently serves as co-chair of the Board of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) and the Budapest-based Tom Lantos Institute. Dr. Lantos Swett also serves on the Advisory Board of UN Watch, the annual Anne Frank Award and Lecture, and The Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership, and Public Policy.

Sevgi Akarçesme
Sevgi Akarçesme

Journalist in exile and former editor-in-chief, Today’s Zaman.
Sevgi Akarçesme holds a master’s degree in international relations from Istanbul Bilgi University and another M.A. in political science from Temple University. Following her graduate studies in Philadelphia, Penn., she joined the Turkey Project at CSIS in Washington, D.C. Upon returning to Turkey, she worked at the Office of the President from 2008 until the end of 2010, where she gained invaluable government experience. After working as an advisor at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Center for Strategic Research from December 2010 to July 2011, she moved to her hometown Istanbul. After working as a correspondent and columnist for the daily Today’s Zaman, she became the newspaper’s last editor-in-chief before it was taken over by the Turkish government in March 2016.

Dr. Y. Alp Aslandogan
Dr. Y. Alp Aslandogan

Executive Director, Alliance for Shared Values, New York.
The Alliance for Shared Values is a nonprofit organization that promotes bringing together citizens of diverse backgrounds around shared values of humanity. Prior to his current position, Dr. Aslandogan served as the board president of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog in Houston, Tex., as a contributing editor for the The Fountain magazine, and on the board of scholars and practitioners of the Journal of Interreligious Dialogue. Dr. Aslandogan is the co-editor of “Muslim Citizens of the Globalized World: Contributions of the Gulen Movement,” published by the Institute of Interfaith Dialog. He publishes a column on Huffington Post. Dr. Aslandogan holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Moderator

Emre Celik
Emre Celik

President, Rumi Forum.
Emre Celik is an Australian living in Washington, D.C., and has served as president of the Rumi Forum since 2009. The Rumi Forum is an organization dedicated to intercultural and interfaith dialogue issues covering themes of pluralism, social cohesion, democracy, and peace-building. Emre has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Washington Times and numerous media outlets in Europe and Australia on issues of diversity and dialogue. He regularly speaks at universities and was a participant of a private roundtable at Harvard University that examined issues surrounding Muslim Americans. In October 2014, the Rumi Forum helped organize the first-ever White House Eid reception, at which Emre provided opening remarks. When living in Australia, Emre was on the Melbourne Advisory Committee for the Parliament of World Religions and the Victoria Police Multifaith Council.

Rumi Forum

Mar
14
Wed
Islam & America: Tips for Sharing Scholarship with the Public (Free Webinar)
Mar 14 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

We will discuss how scholars of Islam and American public life can engage different publics to raise the visibility of their work. We are pleased to host co-presenters Dalia Mogahed, Director of Research at ISPU, Najeeba Syeed, Associate Professor of Interreligious Education at Claremont School of Theology, and Asma Uddin, Fellow with the Initiative on Security and Religious Freedom at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations. The webinar will include a presentation and extended Q&A.

Mar
16
Fri
California, Coerced Speech and the Court: A Panel Discussion on NIFLA v Becerra @ Knight Conference Center
Mar 16 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

In the upcoming case National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, the Supreme Court will decide whether California’s Reproductive FACT Act may require pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for the abortion industry despite free speech protections under the First Amendment. Specifically, the California law requires licensed medical centers that offer free, life-affirming help to pregnant women to advise women on how to obtain a state-sponsored abortion. Pregnancy centers must also include a phone number for a county office that refers women to Planned Parenthood and other abortionists. Additionally, the law requires non-medical pregnancy centers to add large disclosures in multiple languages about their non-medical status in all advertisements, including billboards and newspaper ads. Pro-life pregnancy centers and their advocates argue that this obscures and crowds out their pro-life speech.

NIFLA v. Becerra is set to be argued before the United States Supreme Court on March 20th.  On March 16, join legal experts Denise Harle of Alliance Defending Freedom, Brianne Gorod of Constitutional Accountability Center, and Attorney General Rutledge for a panel discussion on the merits and implications of this case. SCOTUS reporter Kimberly Robinson of Bloomberg BNA will moderate the discussion.

Panelists

Denise Harle

Denise Harle serves as legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a member of the Center for Life. In this role, Harle focuses her litigation efforts on defending the First Amendment freedoms of medical and support staff working in pregnancy resource centers, as well as pro-life sidewalk counselors. She also works to defend pro-life legislation around the nation.

Brianne J. Gorod

Brianne Gorod is Constitutional Accountability Center’s Chief Counsel. Before taking her current role, Brianne served as CAC’s Appellate Counsel. From 2009 to 2011, she was an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, served as a law clerk for Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, a law clerk for Judge Robert A. Katzmann on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and a law clerk for Judge Jed S. Rakoff on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Brianne’s academic writings have appeared in, among others, the Yale Law Journal, the Duke Law Journal, the Northwestern University Law Review, the Washington Law Review, and the NYU Journal of Law & Liberty.

Leslie Rutledge

Leslie Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas and first woman elected to the office. General Rutledge believes face-to-face conversations lead to real solutions. Since taking office, she began a mobile office program for all 75 counties, a military and veterans initiative, a metal theft prevention program and a cooperative disability investigations program to stop fraud in social security disability. In addition to her state responsibilities, Rutledge actively works on multi-state issues with other attorneys general to include serving as chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association and vice chairwoman of the National Association of Attorneys General Southern Region.

Kimberly Robinson

Kimberly Robinson is Bloomberg Law’s Supreme Court reporter, covering the high court since 2012. In 2017, she wrote American Justice: The Supreme Court in Crisis, detailing the way individual justices and the institution as a whole reacted to the unprecedented situation the Court was plunged into following the death of longtime Justice Antonin Scalia. Prior to joining Bloomberg Law, Kimberly was an attorney at the global law firm Morrison & Foerster, LLP, where she was a member of the firm’s litigation group. She has a J.D. from Columbia University and a B.S. in Finance from Arizona State University.

Jul
6
Fri
Summer Bootcamp for Interns @ Religious Freedom Center
Jul 6 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Summer Bootcamp for Interns @ Religious Freedom Center | Washington | District of Columbia | United States

Religious Liberty, Religious Literacy & Civil Dialogue

This three-session intensive will give local interns the opportunity to learn about the role of religion in public life while exploring our three areas of competency: religious liberty, religious literacy, and civil dialogue. We will host the interns on three Fridays during the month of July. Participants will be introduced to experts who are actively engaged in addressing these issues in their local and national context.

Session One: Religious Liberty & Religious Literacy

Friday, July 6, 2018

9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
“The History of Religious Freedom in America” presented by Eleesha Tucker, faculty at the Religious Freedom Center

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
“Religious Literacy and Religious Identity” presented by Benjamin P. Marcus, religious literacy specialist at the Religious Freedom Center

Session Two: Legal Literacy & Civil Dialogue

Friday, July 13, 2018

9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
“Religious Liberty and Legal Literacy” (Part 1) presented by Rev. Jennifer Hawks, associate general counsel with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Civil Dialogue session presented by Rev. Kristen Looney, director at the Religious Freedom Center

Session Three: Religious Freedom Tour & Legal Literacy

Friday, July 20, 2018

9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Religious Freedom Tour of the Newseum, guided by Blair Forlaw, volunteer at the Newseum and Religious Freedom Center

10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
“Religious Liberty and Legal Literacy” (Part 2)

The registration period is now through June 30, 2018. For questions, please contact the director of recruitment and admissions Dr. Sabrina Dent at sdent@newseum.org.

Jul
10
Tue
NCSS 2018 Summer Religious Studies Institute @ Religious Freedom Center
Jul 10 @ 1:30 pm – Jul 12 @ 12:00 pm
NCSS 2018 Summer Religious Studies Institute @ Religious Freedom Center | Washington | District of Columbia | United States

The Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute will host the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Summer Religious Studies Institute at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The program, to be held July 10 – 12, 2018, will convene K-12 educators in the nation’s capital to explore issues of religious freedom and diversity in the classroom. Educators will learn about religious studies as an academic discipline, and have the opportunity to develop working relationships with leading religious studies subject matter experts and curricular resource providers.

The NCSS Summer Religious Studies Institute is limited to 60 participants. For more information and to register, please visit socialstudies.org.

Jul
13
Fri
Summer Bootcamp for Interns @ Religious Freedom Center
Jul 13 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Summer Bootcamp for Interns @ Religious Freedom Center | Washington | District of Columbia | United States

Religious Liberty, Religious Literacy & Civil Dialogue

This three-session intensive will give local interns the opportunity to learn about the role of religion in public life while exploring our three areas of competency: religious liberty, religious literacy, and civil dialogue. We will host the interns on three Fridays during the month of July. Participants will be introduced to experts who are actively engaged in addressing these issues in their local and national context.

Session One: Religious Liberty & Religious Literacy

Friday, July 6, 2018

9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
“The History of Religious Freedom in America” presented by Eleesha Tucker, faculty at the Religious Freedom Center

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
“Religious Literacy and Religious Identity” presented by Benjamin P. Marcus, religious literacy specialist at the Religious Freedom Center

Session Two: Legal Literacy & Civil Dialogue

Friday, July 13, 2018

9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
“Religious Liberty and Legal Literacy” (Part 1) presented by Rev. Jennifer Hawks, associate general counsel with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Civil Dialogue session presented by Rev. Kristen Looney, director at the Religious Freedom Center

Session Three: Religious Freedom Tour & Legal Literacy

Friday, July 20, 2018

9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Religious Freedom Tour of the Newseum, guided by Blair Forlaw, volunteer at the Newseum and Religious Freedom Center

10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
“Religious Liberty and Legal Literacy” (Part 2)

The registration period is now through June 30, 2018. For questions, please contact the director of recruitment and admissions Dr. Sabrina Dent at sdent@newseum.org.

Jul
20
Fri
Summer Bootcamp for Interns @ Religious Freedom Center
Jul 20 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Summer Bootcamp for Interns @ Religious Freedom Center | Washington | District of Columbia | United States

Religious Liberty, Religious Literacy & Civil Dialogue

This three-session intensive will give local interns the opportunity to learn about the role of religion in public life while exploring our three areas of competency: religious liberty, religious literacy, and civil dialogue. We will host the interns on three Fridays during the month of July. Participants will be introduced to experts who are actively engaged in addressing these issues in their local and national context.

Session One: Religious Liberty & Religious Literacy

Friday, July 6, 2018

9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
“The History of Religious Freedom in America” presented by Eleesha Tucker, faculty at the Religious Freedom Center

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
“Religious Literacy and Religious Identity” presented by Benjamin P. Marcus, religious literacy specialist at the Religious Freedom Center

Session Two: Legal Literacy & Civil Dialogue

Friday, July 13, 2018

9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
“Religious Liberty and Legal Literacy” (Part 1) presented by Rev. Jennifer Hawks, associate general counsel with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Civil Dialogue session presented by Rev. Kristen Looney, director at the Religious Freedom Center

Session Three: Religious Freedom Tour & Legal Literacy

Friday, July 20, 2018

9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Religious Freedom Tour of the Newseum, guided by Blair Forlaw, volunteer at the Newseum and Religious Freedom Center

10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
“Religious Liberty and Legal Literacy” (Part 2)

The registration period is now through June 30, 2018. For questions, please contact the director of recruitment and admissions Dr. Sabrina Dent at sdent@newseum.org.

Jul
21
Sat
Civil Dialogue Training @ Newseum’s Learning Center
Jul 21 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Civil Dialogue Training @ Newseum’s Learning Center | Washington | District of Columbia | United States

The Religious Freedom Center, as a nonpartisan and nonsectarian initiative, is committed to promoting dialogue and understanding among people of all religious traditions and none. We carry out this mission by providing civil dialogue training and workshops, hosting the Committee on Religious Liberty, and building partnerships with organizations that represent a broad spectrum of religious and ideological perspectives.

Religious and civic leaders, educators, and business leaders are uniquely positioned to help cultivate an informed and engaged citizenry. Having the ability to facilitate dialogue is a key leadership skill for the 21st century. As sharp ideological divisions continue to polarize our communities, we need leaders who have the skills to engage people and communities who hold a variety of legal, ideological, religious and nonreligious perspectives.

We invite you to join one of our full-day civil dialogue training sessions or to schedule one with your community. The workshops will be facilitated by Rev. Kristen Farrington, civil dialogue specialist and director of the Religious Freedom Center.

upcoming sessions

  • Saturday, September 15, 2018 (registration due date is September 7, 2018)
  • Saturday, December 8, 2018 (registration due date is November 30, 2018)

training features

  • Dialogue theory
  • Learning and practicing the skills of dialogue
  • Learning how to facilitate dialogue
  • Learning the practical steps to setting up dialogue sessions in your community.

Sign up online today. These training sessions are free but seats are limited. Registration is required.  For more information, please contact Dr. Sabrina Dent at sdent@newseum.org.

 

Jul
26
Thu
Religious Persecution in Iran and Yemen: The Case of the Baha’is @ Knight Conference Center
Jul 26 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Religious Persecution in Iran and Yemen: The Case of the Baha’is @ Knight Conference Center

The Religious Freedom Center and the Baha’is of the United States invite you to a reception followed by the U.S. premier screening and a panel discussion of the 25-minute film, “The Cost of Discrimination,” by journalist and film producer, Maziar Bahari. The film draws striking comparisons between the apartheid era system of education in South Africa and the denial of higher education to Baha’i youth in Iran. Shot partly in South Africa, it features Arash Azizi, well-known author, former BBC journalist, and co-host of a popular Iranian TV show. The impact on religious freedom of Iran’s influence in Yemen will also be addressed. Mr. Richard Foltin, a senior scholar at the Religious Freedom Center, will moderate a panel that will consist of Mr. Azizi, Ms. Diane Ala’i, representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva, Dr. Farhad Sabetan, a U.S.-based spokesperson for the Baha’i International Community, and Mr. Saman Mobasher, who studied in the informal and discretely operated Baha’i Institute for Higher Education after being denied admission to university in Iran on account of his religion.

Use the password HOPE to get a ticket. There is limited seating to this event.

Jul
27
Fri
Security and Religious Freedom: How Do We Protect Both? @ Newseum’s Knight TV Studio
Jul 27 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am

Secretary of State Pompeo is convening the first ever Ministerial to advance religious freedom in Washington, D.C., from July 24-26. The Religious Freedom Center at the Freedom Forum Institute/Newseum is holding a side event at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, July 27 — Security and Religious Freedom: How Do We Protect Both?

One of the most pressing questions in the world today is how best to protect both security and robust rights to religious freedom. Too often, governments across the world use security as a rationale to impose overly broad limits on religious exercise — from regulating religious garb and religious speech to limiting cultural productions and even cutting off access to houses of worship. This panel will examine how such limitations are worsening rather than bettering security and discuss the benefits of religious freedom for security, social stability and economic health.

Program panelists include Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation, Neil Hicks, senior director for advocacy at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, and Haroon Azar, program director for the Initiative on Security and Religious Freedom.

Asma Uddin, senior scholar of religious freedom at the Religious Freedom Center, will moderate the conversation.

panelists

Brian J. Grim

Brian Grim, Ph. D.
Brian Grim is president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and a leading scholar on international religious demography and the socio-economic impact of religious freedom. His recent research finds that religion contributes $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, more than the combined revenues of the top companies including Apple, Amazon and Google. Brian is an affiliated scholar at Baylor University, Boston University and the Freedom Forum Institute. He is also recent chair of the World Economic Forum’s council on the role of faith, and he works closely with the United Nations “Business for Peace” platform. Brian is a Penn State alumnus and author of numerous works including “The Price of Freedom Denied” (Cambridge), “World Religion Database” (Brill), “World’s Religions in Figures” (Wiley), and “Yearbook of International Religious Demography” (Brill). He is also a TEDx speaker and a speaker at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

Neil Hicks

Neil Hicks
Neil Hicks is the senior director for advocacy at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. He has over 35 years of experience in the human rights field.

Neil began his career in human rights at Birzeit University in the occupied West Bank. He worked as an executive assistant and researcher at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London, focusing on Egypt and Iran, between 1985 and 1991. He then worked at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in New York, later known as Human Rights First, for 27 years and in a variety of positions. During that time, he founded the organization’s Human Rights Defenders program, engaged in research and advocacy on a wide range of countries in the Middle East and beyond, and led the organization’s efforts to promote the protection of human rights as a central part of the U.S. government’s strategy to combat terrorism and counter violent extremism. Neil joined CIHRS in 2018.

Haroon Azar

Haroon Azar
Haroon Azar teaches National Security and Civil Liberties at UCLA School of Law. He is a Senior Fellow at UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations and Program Director for the Initiative on Security and Religious Freedom. Mr. Azar is a recognized national security expert with broad experience working with law enforcement and faith-based communities to further resilience mission areas. Prior to his current role, Mr. Azar was the Regional Director in Los Angeles for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Previously, Mr. Azar worked as Deputy Director for the Middle East, Africa, & South Asia in the Office of International Affairs at DHS Headquarters in Washington DC. His portfolio included providing the Office of the Secretary with policy counsel and management of international affairs related to homeland security. Additionally, Mr. Azar was responsible for negotiating bilateral and multilateral security agreements with international partners focusing on improving immigration policy, visa security, aviation security, border security, supply chain management, and counterterrorism efforts.

Mr. Azar earned his B.S. magna cum laude at California State University Dominguez Hills, and his J.D. from UCLA School of Law where he was Editor-in-Chief of UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law.

Asma T. Uddin

Asma Uddin
Asma T. Uddin is a fellow with the Initiative on Security and Religious Freedom at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations. She is also a research fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. Asma previously served as counsel with Becket, a nonprofit law firm specializing in U.S. and international religious freedom cases, and as director of strategy for the Center for Islam and Religious Freedom, a nonprofit engaged in religious liberty in Muslim-majority and Muslim-minority contexts. She is widely published by law reviews, university presses and national and international newspapers. She is also an expert advisor on religious liberty to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and a term-member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition to her expertise in religious liberty, Asma writes and speaks on gender and Islam, and she is the founding editor-in-chief of altmuslimah.com. She graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a staff editor at the University of Chicago Law Review.