The Maghreb & Orient Courier attends the 2024 IRF Summit
During the period of Janurary 30th-January 31st the Maghreb & Orient Courier was credentialed to cover the 2024 International Relgious Freedom Summit at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC . The timing of the event is an attempt to link up with the National Prayer Breakfast the following day.
At times the event does feel compressed as like similar events there are seamless transitions between Keynote speeches and panel discussions. However the major organizers Former Senator, Governor of Kansas and Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and Katrina Lantos-Sweat herself a former USCIRF commissioner organize a great event.
Three of the speakers who gave well received remarks include: Former Vice President Mike Pence , current Speaker of the US House of Representatives Mike Johnson and Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
However one statement does happen to stand out. The President of the Religious Freedom Institute Eric Patterson wrote an Opinion Piece where he stated that “Some Arguments for Religious Freedom are a Poison Pill.” At a conference where a side event dealt with the topic of the decline of Relgious Freedom in Western Countries that has the potential of being a statement that is currently becoming a Master of the Obvious moment.
This event does yoeman’s work in describing how necessary this issue is in the debate of defending human rights. Highlighting victories over the previous year and giving some margainalized groups such as the Uyghers in China, Rohingya from Myanmar and even the Ahmadhis in countries such as Algeria are important in the context.
One interesting challenge has been following up. Often attendees feel encouraged and feel the need to speak up and address these challenges. Advocacy Groups often share information and do this and continue their advocacy year around.
What are the takeaways? This event was quick and hard-hitting, connecting it with the National Prayer Breakfast appears to be a natural fit as there are people that will register to attend both events.
The MOC is planning on covering this event next year