Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom

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Discussants at a panel discussion during the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on July 24, 2018. [State Department photo/Public Domain]

Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom

The Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom brings together leaders from around the world to discuss the challenges facing religious freedom, identify means to address religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, and promote greater respect and preservation of religious liberty for all. This event focuses on concrete outcomes that reaffirm international commitments to promote religious freedom and produce real, positive change.

From July 16-18, 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will convene the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC. Advancing international religious freedom for all remains one of the defining challenges of the 21st century and is a top foreign policy priority of this administration. The ministerial will bring together an unprecedented number of civil society organizations, religious leaders, and high-ranking officials to better understand the challenges and devise strategies to confront intolerance, discrimination, and abuse.

On July 16 at 9:00 AM EDT, Secretary Pompeo will kick-off the first day of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom with brief remarks. Following the Secretary’s opening address, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback will deliver remarks on the need for increased partnerships in the fight to advance religious freedom. At 3:25 PM EDT, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and retired U.S. Representative Frank Wolf will participate in a discussion moderated by Ambassador Brownback on religious freedom challenges in China and the importance of bipartisan, whole-of-government approaches to defending religious freedom.

On July 17, Secretary Pompeo will present the Department of State’s first-ever International Religious Freedom Awards to individuals who have demonstrated an ongoing and relentless commitment to promoting religious freedom.

On July 18 at 8:55 AM EDT, Secretary Pompeo will deliver keynote remarks on the state of religious freedom around the world, advancements over the last year, and remaining work to be done. Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at 11:00 AM EDT, underscoring international religious freedom as a key U.S. foreign policy priority. At 1:00 PM EDT, White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will deliver opening remarks at the Luncheon for the Heads of Foreign Delegation.

These events will be streamed live on A full schedule of ministerial events can be found here.  Visit for additional information, and follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag #IRFMinisterial.