Press Release: Symposium on Advancing and Defending International Religious Freedom

PRESS RELEASE
September 26, 2020
Secretary Pompeo, Cardinal Parolin, Archbishop Gallagher to Participate in U.S. Symposium on Religious Freedom

ROME (September 26, 2020) – Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Holy See Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Holy See Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Gallagher will participate in the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See’s symposium, “Advancing and Defending International Religious Freedom Through Diplomacy,” on September 30.

The symposium will highlight diplomatic tools that governments, international organizations, and faith-based organizations can use to identify and confront religious persecution and encourage international cooperation to protect and promote religious freedom.

Religious persecution and restrictions on religious freedom are among the most pressing global human rights concerns today.  Promoting and securing religious freedom is a cornerstone of the United States’ diplomatic relationship with the Holy See.

“The United States understands that upholding the right to religious freedom is not just a moral necessity, it is a national security imperative.  When nations effectively promote and protect religious freedom, they are safer, more prosperous, and secure,” said U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich.

Symposium panelists will include representatives from the U.S., Holy See, and UK governments, as well as leaders from the Aid to the Church in Need and the AVSI Foundation.  The moderator for both panels will be John Allen, President and Founder of Crux.  Please see the attached list for additional details.

This symposium will be held at the Westin Excelsior in Rome.  Please note that COVID-19 health and safety precautions will be adhered to strictly.  A limited number of attendees and journalists will be allowed in-person with advance registration.  All others will be able to follow the symposium live on the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See Facebook page:  @HolySee.USembassy.

For accreditation to this symposium, please send your full name, media affiliation, and equipment requirements to Mary Shovlain, Public Diplomacy Specialist, U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, ShovlainML@state.gov   (Office:  +390646743444) no later than 2:00 p.m., Monday, September 28.

U.S. Embassy to the Holy See Symposium
Advancing and Defending International Religious Freedom Through Diplomacy
September 30, 2020 / 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Westin Excelsior, Rome, Italy

Welcome Remarks
Callista L. Gingrich, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See

Opening Remarks
Michael R. Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Holy See Secretary for Relations with States

Moderator
John Allen, President and Founder, Crux

Panel 1 — Diplomatic Tools for Identifying Areas of Concern Where Religious Freedom is Threatened

Panelists

  • Ambassador Nathan Sales, Acting Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, U.S. Department of State
  • Marcela Szymanski, Editor-in-Chief, Religious Freedom in the World, Aid to the Church in Need
  • Rehman Chishti, Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom

Panel 2 — Diplomacy and International Cooperation

Panelists

  • Ambassador Samuel Brownback, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom
  • Giampaolo Silvestri, Secretary General, AVSI Foundation
  • Monsignor Khaled Akasheh, Bureau Chief for Islam, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

Closing Remarks
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Holy See Secretary of State