Center for the Study of Religious Freedom Hosts Justine L. Nusbaum Visiting Lecturer

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Ambassador David N. Saperstein Addressed the Challenges of Religious Freedom Around the Globe

Featured News   March 14, 2017

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Ambassador David N. SapersteinDavid N. Saperstein, the Immediate Past United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, was the 2016-2017 Justine L. Nusbaum Visiting Lecturer. During the special event, hosted by the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom (CSRF), Ambassador Saperstein addressed “The Challenges of Religious Freedom Around the Globe: 2017.”

Ambassador Saperstein spoke passionately of religious freedom as the "foundational right of every American" and as the "inalienable right of all people." Speaking of the "powerful force" of interfaith cooperation, he said religious freedom should be protected "not just in the abstract" but also because it is "a driver of peace and security."

Ambassador Saperstein served in 1999 as the first Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He was confirmed by the Senate in December 2014 as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. He was sworn in and assumed his duties in January 2015 and served in that capacity until January 2017. The Ambassador-at-Large is, by law, a principal advisor to the President and Secretary of State and serves as the United States’ chief diplomat on issues of religious freedom worldwide. He worked simultaneously as head of the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

Saperstein previously served as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC). During his 40-year tenure at the helm of the RAC, he led several national religious coalitions, including the Coalition to Protect Religious Liberty. He has served on the boards of numerous national organizations, including the NAACP (most recently as chair of its national Religious Affairs Committee), the National Religious Partnership on the Environment, and the World Bank’s “World Faith Development Dialogue.”

A rabbi and an attorney, Saperstein has taught seminars in First Amendment Church-State Law and Jewish Law at Georgetown University Law Center for 35 years. He is a prolific writer and speaker, and his articles have been published in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Harvard Law Review. His latest book is titled Jewish Dimensions of Social Justice: Tough Moral Choices of Our Time.

“We are so grateful to the Ambassador for his visit, as well as to the CSRF’s Dr. Craig Wansink and Kelly Jackson for hosting this very enlightening event,” says VWC President Scott D. Miller. “The Center for the Study of Religious Freedom continues, through its program initiatives, to educate minds, touch hearts, and strengthen individuals to be agents of change and transformation in our communities.”