On May 10-13, more than 600 delegates from 130 countries gathered in Washington, D.C. to address the global challenge of Christian persecution.
The event was filled with powerful testimonies of Christians around the globe - from the daughter of an Iranian martyr, to the brother of Coptic Christians killed by ISIS in Libya, to church leaders from South America, Africa, and Asia.
Tom Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, gave a plenary address to the summit on the topic of advocating for freedom. His remarks called for an urgency and a fierce commitment not just to the protection of Christians, but to the promotion of religious freedom. The principle that will enable them "to live in the world as his followers, as salt and light, as Christians."
Kent Hill, Executive Director, and Tim Shah, Senior Advisor of the Religious Freedom Institute also participated in the event as Special Advisors and led breakout sessions to discuss the challenges and opportunities of advocating on behalf of Christians in particular contexts of persecution.
Critical to any successful advocacy will be the principle of promoting religious freedom for all. This was one of the key findings of the Under Caesar's Sword project which studied in detail the responses of Christian communities to persecution in more than 25 of the world's most repressive countries.
The World Summit In Defense of Persecuted Christians was organized by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and was organized as an opportunity to bring greater attention to the global plight of persecution around the world.
Vice President Mike Pence addressed the Conference and Members of Congress including Senators James Lankford and Roy Blunt also participated.
"I’m here on behalf of the President as a tangible sign of his commitment to defending Christians and, frankly, all who suffer for their beliefs across the wider world," said Vice President Pence in his opening remarks.