The Fight for International Religious Freedom:
Perspectives from the Vatican

Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2060
5:00-7:00 p.m. July 24, 2018

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Ambassador Callista Gingrich - U.S. Ambassador to the holy see

Callista L. Gingrich is the United States Ambassador to the Holy See.  She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 16, 2017, sworn in by President Trump and Vice President Pence on October 24, 2017, and credentialed by Pope Francis on December 22, 2017. Ambassador Gingrich is a New York Times bestselling author and former President and CEO of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production and consulting company. She is the author of the “Ellis the Elephant” children’s American history series and co-author of “Rediscovering God in America.”  Mrs. Gingrich is also the producer of several historical documentary films including, “Nine Days that Changed the World.”  In 2018 Ambassador Gingrich was awarded an honorary doctorate from Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida. Previously, Mrs. Gingrich served as a congressional aide in the U.S. House of Representatives and as the President of The Gingrich Foundation.  She sang for two decades with the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  She is married to former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

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His excellency Archbishop paul gallagher - Secretary for relations with states for the holy see

Gallagher was born in Liverpool and attended St. Francis Xavier’s College in Woolton; he was ordained a priest in the archdiocese of Liverpool in 1977 and a bishop in 2004. After earning a doctorate in canon law, he became a member of the Holy See's diplomatic service. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher is the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States and head of the Second Section of the Secretariat of State. Throughout his life of service to the Roman Catholic Church he has held diplomatic positions in Tanzania, Uruguay, the Philippines, Guatemala, and at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. In 2012 he was named papal nuncio to Australia, serving until Pope Francis appointed him to his current position. The Section for Relations with States or Second Section of the Secretariat of State is the body within the Roman Curia charged with dealing with matters that involve relations with civil governments. It has been part of the Vatican Secretariat of State since 1909.

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Representative Francis Rooney (FL-19) - Former US Ambassador to the holy see

Ambassador Francis Rooney represents Florida’s 19th Congressional District. He and his family started Rooney Holdings, Inc. (RHI), a diversified, international group of companies based in Naples, Florida. In addition to his business career, Rooney and his family have a longstanding tradition of public and community service. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See from 2005 to 2008. In the 115th Congress, Rooney serves as the Vice-Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. His other committee assignments include the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the Joint Economic Committee. He is a member of the bi-partisan Everglades and Estuary caucuses which focus on restoring Florida’s ecosystems. A graduate of Georgetown University (A.B. 1975) and Georgetown University Law Center (J.D. 1978), Rooney has honorary degrees from the University of Notre Dame (2006) and the University of Dallas (2010).


Tom Farr - President, Religious Freedom Institute

Tom Farr is President of the Religious Freedom Institute, an NGO working to achieve worldwide acceptance of religious freedom. Farr served in the U.S. Army and Foreign Service for 28 years. He has spent the last two decades advocating for religious liberty, including as founding Director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, Associate Professor of the Practice of Religion and International Affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and as Director of Georgetown’s Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center. Farr is a senior fellow at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion and a consultant to the U.S. Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace. 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.

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William Saunders

William Saunders is Co-Director of the center for Religious Liberty at the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America and Law Fellow and Director of the program in human rights of the Institute for Human Ecology. His expertise centers on issues of religious liberty, human rights, international law, life, and bioethics. He is Chairman of the Religious Liberty group at the Federalist Society. A member of the bar of the Supreme Court and Federal Bar of the D.C. circuit, he has authored numerous legal briefs in state, federal, foreign, and international courts. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of North Carolina. Mr. Saunders has submitted testimony to the President’s Council on Bioethics, as well as to UNESCO’s Committee on Bioethics, and has briefed Congressional staff, and testified in state legislatures.

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Ambassador Miguel Diaz

Miguel H. Díaz is the John Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service at Loyola University Chicago and was selected by President Barack Obama as the 9th U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. Prof. Díaz obtained his doctorate in Systematic Theology from the University of Notre Dame. He is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) and member and former President of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS).  In 2013, Prof. Diaz was the recipient of the prestigious Virgilio Elizondo Award from ACHTUS, given in recognition for distinguished achievement in Theology. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from a number of universities, including Fordham University and Portland University. Among his scholarly interests include Trinitarian theology, theological anthropology, political theology and Latino/a theology. He is a prolific writer and public speaker. His publications include books, articles, and speeches. He is currently working on three books: The Word Became Culture: Latino/a Theological Explorations, Building Bridges: God, Diplomacy and the Common Good and God in Latino/a Theology.

Prof. Diaz regularly contributes to efforts that bridge faith and public life. He has been a consultant to CNN, CNN en Español, Al Jazeera America, The Charlie Rose Show, BBC News, and Fox News. He has conducted interviews that have appeared in a wide selection of national and international newspapers that include the NY Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and Infobae America.  His article entitled “A Tale of Two Countries: Pope Francis comes to Nuestra América,” was featured on the front cover of America Magazine on September 21, 2015 preceding the papal trip to Cuba and the United States.