His Grace Bishop Angaelos is General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, the ancient Church of Egypt founded by Saint Mark the Apostle. Bishop Angaelos oversees the Coptic Orthodox Church’s ecumenical and public relations in the United Kingdom and is ecumenically active at local, national and international levels, also working extensively in the area of inter-religious relations. Bishop Angaelos specializes in initiatives relating to advocacy and human rights, particularly minority rights, with a focus on dialogue, conflict-resolution, and reconciliation.
Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II is the patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church. He became the 123rd Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch when he was enthroned as patriarch in Damascus on May 29, 2014. Before his election to the patriarchate, he was Archbishop for the Eastern United States of America, and known as Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim in that post. In that role, he established 11 new parishes, introduced a number of new programs for the youth, and worked for inter-church unity.
His Holiness Catholicos Aram I is the head of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia and has been Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church since 1995. He resides in Antelias, Lebanon. Catholicos Aram I was ordained as a celibate priest in 1968 and obtained the title of Vartabed (Doctor of the Armenian Church) in 1970. In 1979, after serving for one year as Locum Tenens, he was elected Primate of the Armenian Orthodox Community in Lebanon; the next year he received episcopal ordination. In June 1995 he was elected Catholicos (the Head of the Church) by the Electoral Assembly of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia (35 clergy and 115 lay representatives), and was consecrated one week later.
Former U.S. Attorney General, Governor and U.S. Senator John Ashcroft serves as founder and Chairman of The Ashcroft Group and The Ashcroft Law Firm. In 1985, Mr. Ashcroft was sworn in as Governor of Missouri, where he served two terms. He was then elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, where he served until assuming the role of Attorney General. Mr. Ashcroft previously served as Missouri’s Attorney General. He was raised in Springfield, Missouri, received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago.
Toufic Baaklini is a Lebanese-American with more than 30 years of business experience in finance and development. Mr. Baaklini has committed years of service to preserving the historic Christian communities of the Middle East. To this end, he has testified before Congress, met with officials at the State Department and National Security Council and other high-ranking officials. He lives in the Washington, DC area.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 12th congressional district, serving since January 2007. The district includes much of the northern portion of the Tampa Bay Area. He has also served in the Florida House of Representatives. Bilirakis is a member of the Republican Party’s Whip Team and is Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Task Force for the Republican Policy Committee. Additionally, Bilirakis serves as a Co-Chair of the Congressional Military Veterans Caucus and the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues.
Judge Joseph Boohaker, a graduate of the University of Alabama (B.S. – 1976; J.D. – 1979), became a circuit judge for Jefferson County in January of 2001. Judge Boohaker served as a judicial law clerk to the Judges of the 11th Judicial Circuit in Florence, Lauderdale County, Alabama (1979 – 1980) and worked in private practice (1980 – 2000) before serving as a judge. Judge Boohaker is active in the American Bar Association, the Birmingham Bar Association, and the Circuit Judges’ Association.
Rep. Jim Bridenstine is the United States Representative for Oklahoma’s 1st congressional district, based in Tulsa, since 2013. He is a former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium and is a Naval Aviator in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He serves on the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
Ambassador Gilbert Chagoury is an industrialist, philanthropist, and diplomat who has committed his adult life to the preservation of Christianity in the Middle East. Born in Nigeria to Lebanese parents, Ambassador Chagoury built several highly successful businesses and later served as a diplomat and advisor to governments in Africa and the Americas. He was appointed as an Ambassador for St. Lucia to UNESCO. He was awarded and inducted into the The Order of Saint Gregory The Great at the rank of Commander, and was inducted into the “Order of National du Benin” with the rank of Commander. In 2004, he was appointed Ambassador of St. Lucia to the Holy See.
Nabil is the Executive Director of the Lebanese Baptist Society (LSESD), a key BMS partner in the Middle East with a mission to serve the church in Lebanon and throughout the Arab World. Nabil comes to ministry from the business world where he built a career in marketing and development, working 18 years with Eastman Kodak serving as Development Manager for the Gulf region. Alongside his role with LSESD, Nabil is the General Secretary of the Association of Evangelical Schools in Lebanon.
Robert M. Danin is Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He headed the Jerusalem mission of the Quartet representative, Tony Blair, from April 2008 until August 2010. A former career State Department official with over twenty years of Middle East experience, Dr. Danin previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs with responsibilities for Israeli-Palestinian issues and Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. He also served at the National Security Council for over three years, first as director for Israeli-Palestinian affairs and the Levant and then as acting senior director for Near East and North African affairs.
Robert A. Destro is Professor of Law and founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Law & Religion at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. He has been a member of the faculty since 1982 and served as Interim Dean from 1999-2001. From 1983 to 1989 Professor Destro served as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on Civil Rights, and led the Commission’s discussions in the areas of discrimination on the basis of disability, national origin and religion.
Rep. Anna Eshoo is the U.S. Representative for California’s 18th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1993. She serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Ashoo was born in New Britain, Connecticut, of Assyrian and Armenian heritage.
Bishop Julian Mark Dobbs is the Bishop of CANA East and has oversight of the CANA clergy and congregations in the diocese. In addition, he is the Missionary Bishop of CANA and provides leadership to CANA’s ministry through North America. He and his wife Brenda, have made their home in Northern Virginia since 2006. Ordained in 1991, he planted three congregations and served as the rector of the fastest growing Anglican church in New Zealand. He was elected and consecrated as bishop by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) in 2011, and is a member of the College of Bishops in that church and also the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). In 2013 Dobbs wrote and open letter to the President of the United States calling for urgent intervention for persecuted Christians in Syria.
Andrew Doran served on the executive secretariat of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO at the U.S. Department of State. He has worked as a business and management consultant for the U.S. Department of State. He writes variously about U.S. foreign policy, with a particular focus on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, where he has traveled widely. He has met with Senators, Hill staffers, non-governmental organizations, and human rights activists from across North America, Europe, and the Middle East to advocate for the rights of religious minorities, especially the ancient Christian communities of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. He is an attorney and armed forces veteran, and lives in metropolitan Washington, D.C.
Tom Farr is director of the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Dr. Farr had a distinguished career in the U.S. Army and the Foreign Service. At the State Department, Dr. Farr was the first director of the Office of International Religious Freedom. He testifies regularly before Congress on issues relating to religious freedom and is published widely. His book World of Faith and Freedom makes the case that U.S. national security interests are undermined by America’s failure to provide leadership on matters of religious freedom.
Jeff Fortenberry was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004 to serve Nebraska’s First Congressional District. He currently serves on the Appropriations Committee. Fortenberry previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee where he placed particular focus on human rights concerns, Middle Eastern affairs, and nuclear weapons non-proliferation. Prior to serving in Congress, Jeff worked as a publishing industry executive in Lincoln, where he also served on the Lincoln City Council from 1997-2001.
Neemat G. Frem is President & CEO of INDEVCO Group, a Lebanese-owned and based multinational manufacturing Group employing over 10,000 people worldwide. In January 2013, he launched Loubnan El Afdal – Better Lebanon a national initiative with political, economical and social dimension, with a clear roadmap for a renewal in the Lebanese national contract as an attempt for a restructuring change in the Lebanese continuous political crisis. Frem graduated from the American University of Beirut with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
Dr. Jim Garlow is the Senior Pastor at Skyline Church in San Diego, California and is heard daily on over 800 radio outlets in his one-minute commentary, “The Garlow Perspective.” Jim Garlow came to national attention in 2008 for his leadership role in organizing religious groups to support California Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. He has done over 900 radio, TV and print interviews, national and local, covering a wide-range of historical, theological, and political topics. In 2013, Jim Garlow became the radio spokesperson for Alliance Defending Freedom as part of The Garlow Perspective broadcast commentary.
Rep. Scott Garrett is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 5th congressional district, serving since 2003. The district includes much of the northern-most and western-most portions of the state. He previously served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1990 to 2002. Garrett serves on the Committee on the Budget and also the Committee on Financial Services.
Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. 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 Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), of which he remains a corresponding member. Dr. George was appointed to the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom on March 22, 2012 by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).
Rep. Kay Granger represents the 12th congressional district of Texas — the first Republican woman to represent Texas in the House. She is currently Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations. She also sits on the United States House Committee on Appropriations’s Subcommittee on Defense, and the Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education Subcommittee.
His Beatitude Gregorius III Laham is Patriarch of the Church of Antioch, the spiritual leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. He was elected patriarch on November 29, 2000. He took his simple religious vows in 1949 and his solemn religious vows in 1954. He was ordained priest on February 15, 1959. He was appointed administrator of the Patriarchal Vicariate of Jerusalem in 1974. On August 30, 1981, he was named archbishop by Patriarch Maximos V Hakim. On November 27, 1981 he was enthroned as the titular archbishop of Tarsus and consecrated bishop by patriarch Maximos V Hakim.
The Very Reverend Father Nabil Haddad is a priest in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and a leading figure among Arab Christians in Jordan. He is the founder and current director of the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center (JICRC) in Amman, Jordan. Father Nabil Haddad has worked to implement the ideas behind World Interfaith Harmony Week, first proposed by King Abdullah II of Jordan in an address to the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 23, 2010.
Bishop Emeritus of the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle, Ibrahim Ibrahim was born on October 1, 1937 in Telkaif, north of Mosul in modern day Iraq. He entered the Chaldean Seminary in Mosul in 1951. After six year of study, he was sent to the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris to continue his studies in philosophy and theology. The Bishop is well known for his wisdom and expertise in theology. Bishop Ibrahim speaks and writes Chaldean, Arabic, English, French, and Italian.
Rep. Darrell Issa is the U.S. Representative for California’s 49th congressional district, serving since 2001. Issa, the second of six children, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Martha and William Issa. His father was Eastern Orthodox and his mother was a Mormon. His paternal grandparents were Lebanese immigrants who both belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch. Issa is one of a few Lebanese-Americans in Congress and has had a significant role in U.S. peace initiatives in the Middle East.
Hon. Henri Jibrayel is a Member of the National Assembly of France with Lebanese and Assyrian roots. His father was an Assyrian survivor of the Assyrian genocide who had taken refuge with his parents in a Beirut slum. After the war, the family got the French naturalization and was hosted by its new fatherland in a slum near Marseille. Henri Jibrayel left school at 15, became a crane driver, and afterwards entered the French Poste. After being a trade-unionist at the Poste, Jibrayel becomes conseiller général for the Socialist Party in a Marseille canton and maire-adjoint in a Marseille secteur in 2001, then he is elected member of the National Assembly of France in 2007, becoming one out of three metropolitan deputies with non European family roots.
Secretary Ray LaHood is a Lebanese-American who served in the Cabinet of President Barack Obama as U.S. Secretary of Transportation (2009-13). Prior to his appointment, Secretary LaHood served in the U.S. Congress as a Representative from Illinois’ 18th District (1995-2009). LaHood was born in Peoria, Illinois, to Edward M. LaHood, a Lebanese American who managed a restaurant, and Mary A. LaHood, who was of German ancestry. He graduated from Spalding Institute, worked his way through Canton Junior College and Bradley University in Peoria, earning a Bachelor of Science in education and sociology in 1971.
James Marchant received his MA in Iranian Studies from the University of Exeter, United Kingdom. He is currently the Research Manager at Small Media, a London-based organisation working to increase the flow of information into and out of Iran.
Currently serving his ninth term in Congress, McGovern serves as the second ranking Democrat on the powerful House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for debate and amendments on most legislation; and a member of the House Agriculture Committee. In those roles, McGovern has secured millions of dollars in federal grants and assistance for Massachusetts. McGovern is also co-chair of both the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the House Hunger Caucus. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Northeast Midwest Congressional Coalition.
Eric Metaxas is an American author, speaker, and TV host. He is best known for two biographies, Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery about William Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Metaxas was the keynote speaker at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC.
Alexis Moukarzel served as Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of the Holy Spirit in Kaslik, Lebanon, from 2001 to 2007. He is an architect and academic whose research focuses mainly on the evolution of Church art and architecture, and their interaction with their cultural context. He was designated by the Maronite Patriarcate as its representative in the “Comité de la sauvegarde de la Qadisha”, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and elected president of the Committee from 2000 to 2005.
Rep. Joe Pitts is the United States House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 16th congressional district, serving since 1997. He serves of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Rob Portman was elected to the United States Senate from the state of Ohio in 2010. Portman was first elected to Congress in 1993, where he represented the Second District in southern Ohio. In 2005, Portman was asked to serve as the United States Trade Representative, the Cabinet-level official responsible for implementing and enforcing U.S. trade policy. A year later Portman became Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He currently serves on the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Raï is the 77th Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. Rahi has said that, for the sake of communion and love, he would work “to establish a sincere and complete dialogue” with Muslims “and build together a future in common life and cooperation.”
Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS, the Founder, President & CEO of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF), was born in Amman, Jordan to Palestinian parents.
He came to the United States in 1976, for his education. From 1981 to 1986, he was Director of Operations for a British/Saudi corporation “Saudi Support Services, Ltd. He moved to Jordan where he worked for his own company, Reem Support Services. In 1989, he moved to Washington, D.C. where he worked for Marriott Corp. and managed and owned several businesses which he founded (Image Printing & Publishing, Inc., as well as Vison Management & Consulting, Inc.) Sir Rabie is co-founder and past national president of the Birzeit Society; co-founder, Vice President, and Treasurer of the Institute for Health, Development, and Research in Palestine. He is also a Knight Commander of the Equestrian order of Holy Sepulcher, and a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, founder and Co-Chair of the Holy Land Outreach Committee of the Knights of Columbus, Maryland State Council. Read more.
Nermien Riad is the executive director of Coptic Orphans, an award-winning international Christian development organization that works with Egyptian children through grassroots partnerships and volunteer networks, especially those who have lost a parent. Ms. Riad founded Coptic Orphans in 1988 after a visit to Egypt, her childhood home. She has worked for the US Department of State and the Internal Revenue Service. Ms. Riad has been recognized by the National Council of Nonprofits and the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area Community for her work with Coptic Orphans. In addition to serving Egypt’s Christian community, Ms. Riad has been an advocate of the rights of Christian communities in the Middle East, signing the May 7, 2014 on behalf of Christians and Other Small Religious Communities in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.
Dr. Bronwen Robertson received her PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and in 2012 published her book ‘Reverberations of Dissent’ about Iran’s illegal underground music scene. She is currently the Director of Reseach and Innovation at Small Media, a London-based organisation working to increase the flow of information into and out of Iran.
His Grace Mar Awa Royel is the Bishop of the Diocese of California for the Assyrian Church of the East. He was ordained a priest on May 23, 1999 by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch, at the patriarchal cathedral of St. George, Chicago. His Grace Mar Awa was promoted to the rank of Cor-bishop on July 15, 2007 by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV at Chicago, and elected to episcopacy by the Holy Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East held in Dohuk, Iraq, in October of 2008. His Grace was promoted as Archdeacon on November 23, 2008 by His Holiness the Patriarch at Mar Yosip church, San Jose, California, and then consecrated to the episcopacy by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch (assisted by prelate-members of the Holy Synod) at Mar Zaia Cathedral, Modesto, California on November 30, 2008. His Grace is currently the Secretary of the Holy Synod and the President of CIRED.
Dr. Philip A. Salem, physician, researcher, educator and international statesman in cancer medicine, serves as Director Emeritus of Cancer Research at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston and is the President of Salem Oncology Centre. In the early 1990’s he served on a healthcare advisory committee to the White House. In 1994 he received the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom, and in 1998 he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his “exceptional humanitarian efforts and outstanding contributions to American science.” In the year 2000, he was awarded the Khalil Gibran International Award by the Arabic Heritage League in Sydney, Australia. In May 2000 he was selected the ‘Arab American of the Year’ by the Arab Community Centre for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) in Dearborn, Michigan.
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri is Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Oriental Institute. In 1974 he served at the nunciature in Madagascar. From 1977 to 1989, he worked at the Secretariat of State. In 1989 he was posted to the United States as counsellor at the nunciature and served as papal representative at the Organization of American States. He was ordained a bishop on 11 October 1997. On 1 March 2000 he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico and later, on 16 September, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. He was a President Delegate of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops in October 2010.
An international human-rights lawyer for over thirty years, Nina Shea joined Hudson Institute as a Senior Fellow in November 2006, where she directs the Center for Religious Freedom. Between June 1999 and May 2012, Shea served as a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. She has been appointed as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations’ main human rights body by both Republican and Democratic administrations. She also served as a member of the Clinton administration’s Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. For seven years ending in 2005, she helped organize and lead a coalition of churches and religious groups that worked to end a religious war against non-Muslims and dissident Muslims in southern Sudan.
Congressman Brad Sherman, born and raised in southern California, represents California’s San Fernando Valley, and has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997. He is serving his ninth term in Congress, and currently resides in Sherman Oaks, CA. Congressman Sherman is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and serves as the senior Democrat on the Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade. He is also a senior member of the Financial Services Committee.
Rep. Chris Smith is currently in his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Smith, 61, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee. In 2011-2012 he chaired both the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
Senator Debbie Stabenow represents Michigan in the United States Senate. Before her election to the U.S. Senate, she was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Michigan’s 8th congressional district from 1997 to 2001. She previously served as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate. Stabenow currently serves as Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Congressman Lee Terry represents the Second District of Nebraska. He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1998. Lee serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee of Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. Prior to serving as a Representative, he served eight years on the Omaha City Council. He also was a managing partner in a local law firm. Lee received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Nebraska Lincoln and his Juris Doctorate from Creighton University Law School. Lee lives in Omaha with his wife Robyn and their three sons.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl is the Archbishop of Washington, DC. He serves on numerous national and international bodies with an emphasis on education, social justice and religious freedom. He is chancellor of The Catholic University of America and chairman of the board of The Papal Foundation. He serves on the Vatican Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Bishops, for Clergy, the Pontifical Councils for Promoting Christian Unity and for Culture.
Ignatius Youssef III Younan is the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians for the Syriac Catholic Church. He was ordained a priest on September 12, 1971. He served as director of the Seminary of Charfet for two years, as Director of Catechesis of the diocese of Hassaké for seven years and as pastor of the Church of the Annunciation in Beirut up to 1986. In 1986 he was sent to the United States to establish missions for the Syrian Catholic faithful. On November 6, 1995, Pope John Paul II erected the Syrian Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance in Newark for all the Syrian Catholics of the United States and Canada, and appointed Youssef Younan as first eparch (bishop). Along with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Patriarch Ignatius Youssef III Younan served as a co-president of the October 2010 Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East in the Vatican.
Dr. James J. Zogby is the president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), which he founded in 1985 and is the Director of Zogby Research Services, a firm engaged in ground-breaking public opinion research across the Arab World. In 2013, he was appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom by President Obama. He writes a weekly column that, since 1992, has appeared in newspapers in 14 Arab and South Asian countries. He is also the author of a number of books on Arab public opinion. Dr. Zogby received his doctorate in Islamic Studies from Temple University’s Department of Religion and later was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University.