Back to All Events

Report Launch: "Surveying the Landscape of International Religious Freedom Policy"

  • National Press Club, MWL Conference Room 529 14th St NW Washington, DC 20045 (map)

Join us for a public release of a first-of-its kind report titled, Surveying the Landscape of International Religious Freedom Policy. This unique report documents the efforts of governments and multilateral institutions to advance international religious freedom.



1:30pm - Welcome from Tom Farr, President, Religious Freedom Institute

1:35-1:40pm - Remarks: David Anderson, Member of Canadian Parliament; Chair, International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB)

1:40-1:50pm - Presentation of the Report: Fr. Dcn. Andrew Bennett, Senior Fellow and Director, North American Action Team, Religious Freedom Institute and Jeremy Barker, Senior Program Officer and Director, Middle East Action Team, Religious Freedom Institute

1:50pm - Q&A from the Audience

2:00pm - Closing Remarks, Tom Farr



David Anderson serves as the Member of Parliament for the Saskatchewan riding of Cypress Hills–Grasslands. David was first elected in 2000 and subsequently re-elected five times. He has served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Consular. He currently serves as Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Human Rights and Religious Freedom.

He has been committed to raising awareness of the need to protect religious freedom around the world, hosting Parliamentary Forums on Religious Freedom, and also worked to pass Motion 382, which unanimously declared the Parliament of Canada’s support for religious freedom around the world. David is a founding member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief.


Jeremy P. Barker serves as Senior Program Officer and Director of the Middle East Action Team for the Religious Freedom Institute. He assists with the programmatic objectives of both the Middle East and International Religious Freedom Policy Action Teams including research, writing, and advocacy with a particular focus on the Middle East and provides program development and management support for all of RFI’s action teams. He has lived or worked in the Middle East since 2010, including multiple years in Turkey and Northern Iraq. He has worked in rights-based relief, development, and advocacy across the region from Iraq and Turkey to Egypt and Morocco with a particular focus on issues of religious persecution and post-conflict justice and accountability. He holds a B.A. in History and M.A. degrees in Cross-Cultural Studies and International Relations.

The Rev. Dr. Andrew P.W. Bennett serves as Senior Fellow and Director of the North American Action Team of the Religious Freedom Institute. He is a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic deacon of the Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada. Fr. Deacon Andrew also serves as Senior Fellow at Cardus, Canada’s faith-based think-tank, where he is Programme Director of Cardus Law which looks at the role of law in society with a particular focus on religious freedom in Canada. Fr. Deacon And­­rew previously served in the Canadian foreign service as Canada's first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Head of the Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016 during which time he led in defending and championing religious freedom internationally as a core element of Canada's principled foreign policy. He remains a regular and active commentator on religious freedom in Canada and abroad. Fr. Deacon Andrew’s ambassadorial appointment was the culmination of a 14-year career in the Canadian civil service. He holds a B.A. Hons. in History (Dalhousie), an M.A. in History (McGill), and a Ph.D. in Politics (Edinburgh).

Screenshot 2019-07-05 at 14.09.02.png

Thomas Farr serves as President of the Religious Freedom Institute. A leading authority on international religious freedom, Dr. Farr served for 28 years in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Foreign Service. In 1999 he became the first director of the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom. He subsequently directed the Witherspoon Institute's International Religious Freedom (IRF) Task Force, was a member of the Chicago World Affairs Council’s Task Force on Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy, taught at the National Defense University, and served on the Secretary of State’s IRF working group. From 2008 – 2018 Dr. Farr was Associate Professor of the Practice of Religion and World Affairs at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He also directed the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown’s Berkley Center. A PhD in History from the University of North Carolina, Farr is a senior fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He serves as a consultant to the U.S. Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace; on the boards of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Christian Solidarity Worldwide-USA, and Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School; and on the boards of the Alexander Hamilton Society and the National Museum of American Religion. Farr teaches regularly at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute. Arguments from his 2008 book, World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Freedom is Vital to American National Security (Oxford University Press), have shaped U.S. religious freedom legislation and foreign policy.