On May 4, 2017, together with the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) and the International Religious Freedom Roundtable, the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) presented a briefing about the future of U.S. international relgious freedom policy for the National Security Council at the White House. The meeting centered on U.S. Foreign Policy and International Religious Freedom: Recommendations for the Trump Administration and the U.S. Congress, a policy brief co-authored by Thomas F. Farr (President of RFI) and Dennis R. Hoover (VP for Research and Publications at IGE and Editor of The Review of Faith & International Affairs.) In addition to Farr and Hoover, eighteen scholars, activists, and NGO leaders participated in this multi-faith meeting, including IGE Executive Director James Chen. Representing the National Security Council at the meeting was Dr. Nadia Schadlow, Deputy Assistant to the President and lead drafter of the National Security Strategy.

Participants in the meeting made the case that international religious freedom is a critical component to national security, and that a comprehensive strategy for promoting and building religious freedom should be incorporated into the National Security Strategy. The briefing included a presentation by Dr. Nilay Saiya, a leading expert on global data that verifies how religious freedom is vital to sustainable security. Participants also urged quick appointment of an experienced and widely respected person to fill the vacant position of U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom. IGE’s model of engagement also featured prominently in the discussions.

The policy brief was first released on March 20 at a high-profile launch event on Capitol Hill attended by over 110 policy makers and activists.