The State of Religious Freedom in the World

An America’s Founding and Future Lecture

March 24, 2014
Religious Freedom event poster 2014

A Public Conversation featuring, from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom: Elliott AbramsCouncil on Foreign Relations; Commissioner, Eric P. SchwartzHumphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota; Commissioner, Katrina Lantos SwettLantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice; Commissioner, and Robert P. GeorgePrinceton University; Chair

Elliott Abrams is Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C.  He teaches U.S. foreign policy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.  He served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor in the Administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House.  After serving on the staffs of Sen. Henry M. Jackson and Daniel P. Moynihan, he was an Assistant Secretary of State in the Reagan Administration and received the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Award from Secretary George P. Shultz.  He is a member of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, and a member of the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy. His latest book, Tested By Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, was published in 2013.  He was educated at Harvard College, the London School of Economics, and Harvard Law School. 

Eric P. Schwartz has served as Dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota since October 2011.  Prior to that, he was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration.  He has also served as the United Nations Secretary General’s Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, and as Chief of Office in Geneva for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  From 1993 until 2001, he was on the staff of the National Security Council, ultimately as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs.  Earlier in his career, he served as Washington Director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch.  He is a member of the boards of directors of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.  Mr. Schwartz received a B.A. from Binghamton University, an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. 

Katrina Lantos Swett currently serves as Vice Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In April of 2012, she was appointed to USCIRF by Senator Harry Reid and was elected to serve as Chair in June of 2012 until June of 2013 when she was elected Vice Chair. She is the President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, a human rights organization which she established in 2008 to carry on the work of her father, the late Congressman Tom Lantos. In addition she has taught Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy at Tufts University, a subject she also taught at the University of Southern Denmark during her husband’s tenure as US Ambassador to Denmark. While living in Copenhagen, she led a successful advocacy effort to convince the Danish government to take action against illicit trafficking of women and children through Denmark.  Her first job after law school was as a Legislative Assistant and later, Deputy Counsel to the Criminal Justice sub-Committee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She currently serves on the Board of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, the International Advisory Board of UN Watch, the Budapest based Tom Lantos Institute, the Hungarian Initiatives Foundation, and the Advisory Board of the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership, and Public Policy. She graduated from Yale University with a degree in Political Science. She received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and later earned a Ph.D. in history at The University of Southern Denmark.

Robert P. George is McCormick Chair in Jurisprudence at Princeton University and is the director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He is currently chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). He has served on the President’s Council on Bioethics and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He has also served on UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology, of which he continues to be a corresponding member.  He is the author of In Defense of Natural Law, Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality, The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion and Morality in Crisis, and Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism, and co-author of Embryo: A Defense of Human Life, Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics, and What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. His scholarly articles and reviews have appeared in such journals as the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the American Journal of Jurisprudence, and the Review of Politics. He is a recipient of many honors and awards, including the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland, the Canterbury Medal of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Sidney Hook Memorial Award of the National Association of Scholars, the Philip Merrill Award of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, the Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement and the Stanley Kelley, Jr. Teaching Award from Princeton’s Department of Politics. He has taught at Harvard, Yale, University of St. Andrews, and Cornell University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and holds honorary doctorates of law, ethics, science, letters, civil law, humane letters, and juridical science. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School, he also received a master’s degree in Theology from Harvard and a doctorate in Philosophy of Law from Oxford University.

Video recording is not available for this event. We apologize for any inconvenience.


McCormick Hall 101

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