Join us at the Faith and Freedom Summit: Practicing what we Preach in Europe, that will take place on June 28th in Brussels, at the Solvay Library.
The Faith and Freedom Summit: Practicing what we Preach in Europe is a non-partisan summit, which brings together leaders from the various fields of politics, government, academia, activism and the non-for-profit sector from across Europe and beyond, in order to propose and develop initiatives that will put Freedom of Religion or Belief in Europe back in the spotlights.
These summits on Faith and Freedom are particularly appropriate in a year in which we celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights, a commitment which all European countries have signed, and a vision that requires increased dedication and action to go from an idealistic dream to a needed and expected reality.
Under international law, Freedom of religion or belief has two components:
(a) The freedom to have or not to have or adopt (which includes the right to change) a religion or belief of one’s choice, and
(b) The freedom to manifest one's religion or belief, individually or in community with others, in public or private, through worship, observance, practice and teaching.
With the adoption of the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or beliefin 2013, the EU has committed to advance this fundamental freedom in its external action, including through its financial instruments. In doing so, the EU is guided by the principles of non-discrimination and interrelatedness of human rights.
The EU "focuses on the right of individuals, to believe or not to believe, and, alone or in community with others, to freely manifest their beliefs". While these protections are codified, we have not realized them in practice yet. Faith and Freedom Summit seeks to remind the EU of the standards professed and push to put those ideals more fully into practice.
Solvay Library, Parc Leopold, Rue Belliard 137, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Congressman Bob McEwen
Former Member, American Delegation to the European Parliament
EU Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union
Amjad Bashir MEP
Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament
Rep of the Italian presidency at OSCE
Special Rapporteur on human rights to UN Human Rights Council
Secretary General of EMISCO
Ivan Espinosa de los Monteros
Director of International Affairs for VOX
Dr. Eli Nacht
Official Representative of International Committee of Human Rights in Israel
Human Rights Attorney
Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers International
U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
President of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe
Professor of Law & Religion at University of Siena
Director of the Gerard Noodt Foundation
Co-Chair, International Religious Freedom Roundtable
Former Jurisconsult of European Court of Human Rights
President of the International Society for Human Rights
Dr. Juan Ferreiro Galguera
Professor of Law and Religion, University of A Coruña
Lithuanian diplomat, President of the International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees
Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz
President of the Oxford Society of Law and Religion
Dr. Alessandro (Alex) Amicarelli
Chairman of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB)
Director of the All Faiths Network
Legal Counsel for ADF International in Belgium
Registration and Coffee
Keynote Speech by Richard Milsom, Chief Executive of the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe
Video Address by Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Religion or Belief
Activists Panel Discussion
While the EU has adopted strong commitments in favor of freedom of religion and belief in its external policy, too often its internal application of this fundamental right is left lacking. The distinguised religious freedom activists of this panel will discuss the need to consider the real issues that exist today regarding freedom of religion in EU member states, and explore ways for the EU to take responsibility to live up internally to what we preach externally. Discussion will be followed by Q&A with the room.
Keynote Speech by Jan Figel, EU Special Envoy for Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the European Union
Keynote Speech by Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Archbishop and President of the International Society of Human Rights
Fireside Chat with Politicians
With the 2019 European elections in view, the politicians of this non-partisan panel will assess areas that need to be improved regarding the protection of freedom of religion or belief, and will discuss the possibilities to outline policies toward a greater respect of religious diversity in Europe. It shall provide participants with valuable insights into why EU citizens must enjoy a real freedom of religion or belief, at every level, and how this fundamental right could be given the importance it deserves in EU institutions. Discussion will be followed by Q&A with the room.
Special Address by Congressman Bob McEwen, Former Member, American Delegation to European Parliament
Video Address by Sam Brownback, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
Keynote Speech by Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz, USCIRF Commissioner and Vice-Chairwoman
Keynote Speech by Salvatore Martinez, Representative of the Italian Presidency of the OSCE, in Charge of Freedom of Religion, and President of the Vatican Foundation International Center Family of Nazareth
Law and Religion Panel Discussion
The distinguished legal and religious experts of this panel will discuss the challenging necessity of addressing Freedom of Religion or Belief as an important topic to be tackled by EU institutions. They will discuss how and why European institutions have both the capacity and ability to address freedom of religion in EU countries and a duty to do so. Discussion will be followed by Q&A with the room.
Activists Panel Discussion
EU citizens must enjoy a real freedom of religion or belief, at every level, and if this fundamental right is not given the importance it deserves in the EU institutions, and in the EU instruments to protect the various freedoms of EU citizens, it is a symptom of failure for the EU. This international high-level Human Rights activists’ panel will discuss how Freedom of Religion or Belief is or is not in the DNA of the European Union, explore international initiatives that exist outside and could be reproduced inside, real challenges such as the relationship between freedom of religion and the refugee issue, and the need to defend the freedom of conscience and religion of all individuals by rejecting and speaking out against bigotry, discrimination, harassment and violence, and so build a more equitable society for all. Discussion will be followed by Q&A with the room.
Keynote Speech by Hans Noot, Director of the Gerard Noodt Foundation