Professional Fellows Explore Religious Freedom in a Modern Context

July 15, 2019

The launch of a new Professional Fellows On-Demand Program titled, “Religious Freedom and Interfaith Dialogue Exchange,” focuses on connecting spiritual and community leaders and building interfaith cooperation in multiple settings. This two-way exchange program will welcome 26 faith and community leaders, religious advocates, academics, and government officials from South and Southeast Asia to the United States to begin their exchange.

The kickoff will take place in Washington D.C. and coincide with the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom (MARF) at the U.S. Department of State. Following the Ministerial, fellows will engage with policy makers and community advocates at the “Religious Tolerance 2.0 Forum” at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs to explore religion in a digital context and its impact in promoting tolerance. The group will then be divided into three cohorts which will travel to three cities based on their respective theme.

In Minnesota, program participants will discuss “Immigration and Religious Tolerance” and how cities confront integration issues within populations. Professional Fellows traveling to Pittsburgh will explore “Interfaith Dialogue and Community Resilience” and how community leaders respond in the aftermath of extremist attacks. The final group will go to Salt Lake City to focus on “Minority Religions and the Role of Religion in Public Discourse” and how leaders are working towards inclusivity. The program will conclude with a closing program in New York City.

These issues will be examined from multiple perspectives through discussions among the fellows and experts in government, religion, social media, and academia. Through meetings, job shadowing, and training sessions, these Professional Fellows will develop a network of counterparts dedicated to religious freedom and inclusivity, as well as a skillset to promote understanding and cooperation back home.

The reciprocal exchange will take place in fall 2019 and U.S. counterparts will join the fellows for a final summit in Asia, which will focus on religious tolerance in the digital age.

Follow the Fellows on their program at #ExchangeOurWorld and #AdvancingReligiousFreedom