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2023 Benac Human Dignity for All Lecture
Featuring Ambassador Sam Brownback, Ambassador Rabbi David Saperstein, and President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice Katrina Lantos Swett

Tuesday, September 26, 2023 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

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In 1787, while drafting the U.S. Constitution, the founding fathers deliberately positioned the right to freedom of religion at the outset of the document, a decision driven by a distinct purpose: to build a society of choice. Directly cited, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” The idea of religious freedom has spread globally; however, in countries such as Pakistan and Nigeria, religious minorities including Christians and Muslims have faced targeted attacks from extremist groups. Most notably, the Chinese government‘s human rights abuses against the Muslim Uyghur community have drawn widespread condemnation. In July of this year, the UN Security Council adopted UN Resolution 2686, which recognizes the significance of religious freedom as a fundamental human right and acknowledges the indispensable role that it plays in fostering inclusive and peaceful societies. Although this resolution may lack potency, it parallels the UNSCR 1325 resolution, which had a lasting impact over time for women in conflict. The 2023 Benac Human Dignity and Fairness Lecture this year will feature former Ambassadors-at-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and Rabbi David Saperstein, and President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice Katrina Lantos Swett at the Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum.

About the Panelists:

Sam Brownback HeadshotSam Brownback currently serves as co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Summit, is a senior fellow at Global Christian Relief, and is chairman of the National Committee for Religious Freedom. While serving as ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom under the Trump Administration from 2018 until 2021, Brownback focused on highlighting cases of religious discrimination in various countries such as China and Iran and worked with organizations and coalitions promoting international competence. He began his career in Kansas in 1986 and became the youngest Secretary of Agriculture in that state’s history. Brownback won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1995 and was elected to the U.S. Senate a year later, where he continued to work on international relations concerning religion while involved in the Senate Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Brownback was elected governor of Kansas in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. 

Rabbi David Saperstein HeadshotRabbi David Saperstein was the Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom, having been appointed in December 2014 until 2017 by President Obama. Acting as a key advisor to President Obama and Secretary Kerry, he played a pivotal role in shaping policies on international religious freedom. His dedication to promoting the importance of religious freedom worldwide is evidenced by his role as president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Ambassador Saperstein served for 40 years as director of the Religious Action Center segment of American Jewry. He also worked as a rabbi and an attorney for 35 years, teaching seminars in First Amendment church-state law and Jewish law at Georgetown University Law Center. Saperstein has also served on many boards including the NAACP and Common Cause and he was named the most influential rabbi by Newsweek in 2009. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Cornell University, a master of Hebrew letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and a juris doctor from American University.

Dr-Katrina Lantos SwettDr. Katrina Lantos Swett serves as president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice which she upholds in honor of her father, the late Congressmen Tom Lantos. Lantos Swett is the former chair and vice-chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and now teaches human rights and American foreign policy at Tufts University. She was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit from the Republic of Hungary for continuing her father’s efforts on behalf of the ethnic minorities in Hungary. She earned a political science degree from Yale University, a juris doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Southern Denmark.

About the Moderator:

Bob Roberts HeadshotDr. Bob Roberts is the founder of GlocalNet, co-founder of the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network, and president of the Institute of Global Engagement. Roberts has garnered admiration and acknowledgment from the United Nations, the United States Department of State, and the World Economic Forum. In addition to his extensive background in peacemaking concerning religious freedom, Roberts was awarded the prestigious United Award in 2022 for his efforts to build bridges among diverse faith communities across the U.S. He has led Northwood Church for over 30 years, where he currently presides as the founding global pastor. Roberts has published six books and is the host of the Bold Love Podcast. He earned a bachelor's degree from Baylor University, a master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and holds a doctorate of ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Thank You To Our Promo Partners:

DFW Alliance for Religious Freedom

Thanksgiving Square

Location: Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum
300 N Houston St
Dallas, TX 75202
Fees: $38 Members;
$53 Non-Members;
$115 admission + membership;
$20 Meridian YP;
$5 CWA
Calendar: Council Events
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