U.S. Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback (3rd left) and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (center) officially opened the Religious Freedom Forum in Taipei, Taiwan held March 11-12, 2019.
IGE was honored to participate in the first-ever Religious Freedom Forum held in Taipei, Taiwan, from March 11-12. The gathering of government, religious, and civil society leaders from Asia and the U.S. was jointly organized by the Taiwan and U.S. governments. In her keynote address, Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen stated, "We chose to stand with those who were oppressed and whose religious rights were taken away by authoritarian regimes. That's why we have been striving to strengthen value-based partnerships with like-minded friends around the world. And we remain committed to creating a world where people are free from fear of persecution, or the fear of exile because of their religion or ethnicity." U.S. Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback headed the U.S. government delegation and said, "As a U.S. official, Taiwan is a democratic success story, a reliable partner, and a force for good in the world. We count ourselves fortunate to have Taiwan as a friend and partner in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region."
Participants came from 15 countries and also included Uyghur and Tibetan victims of persecution. During the conference, Taiwan announced that it would contribute $1 million towards the U.S. government’s International Religious Freedom Fund. It also announced the appointment its first Ambassador-at-large for Religious Freedom. IGE also took part in preparations for the creation of an International Religious Freedom Roundtable in Taiwan that would work in collaboration with the Roundtable in Washington, D.C., which IGE co-founded and is a steering committee member.