At its inaugural Religious Liberty Summit, Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Initiative brought together scholars and thought leaders on religious freedom from a multitude of faith traditions. This two-day, in-person event featured several expert panel discussions including an interfaith dialogue panel with a keynote address from His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.
At the summit, the inaugural Notre Dame Prize for Religious Liberty to United States Commission on International Religious Freedom was presented to Commissioner Nury Turkel, a leading human rights advocate focused on the oppression of Uyghurs in China.
In his acceptance speech, Commissioner Turkel described the 5-year genocide of the Uyghurs – the prison camps, the forced abortions and sterilizations that are pushing the Uyghur population’s birthrate into rapid decline. He warned of the growing use of cyber surveillance in racial profiling and the consequences for anyone concerned with religious freedom worldwide. He thanked Notre Dame for the award but mainly for drawing attention to the suffering of the Uyghur people: “No law school in the country has done anything this significant, publicly.”
Notre Dame’s efforts are part of a welcome growing trend of bipartisan gatherings popping up post-COVID. The International Religious Freedom Summit, co-chaired by Sam Brownback, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, with Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights just wrapped in Washington, DC.
There may be a lot of darkness – a lot of attacks on religious liberty in the United States and across the globe – these days. But efforts like the ones in South Bend and Washington, DC shine a ray of hope.
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