WASHINGTON, D.C. – In Defense of Christians, the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, is hosting its National Leadership Conference on September 10th and 11th in Washington, D.C. The Sixth Annual Solidarity Dinner will be held on September 10th at the Hamilton Live at 6:00 PM, followed by Capitol Hill day on September 11th.
At the Solidarity Dinner, the keynote address will be delivered by Ambassador Samuel Dale Brownback, who is the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom at the Office of International Religious Freedom in the U.S. Department of State. Ambassador Brownback was appointed by President Donald J. Trump and was confirmed by the Senate in February of 2018. Brownback previously served as governor of Kansas from 2011 to 2018 and as a United States Senator from Kansas from 1996 to 2011.
At the dinner, Ambassador Brownback will be receiving the Charles Malik Human Rights Award. Charles Habib Malik (1906–1987) was a Lebanese philosopher and diplomat who impacted the world with his writing and leadership in the area of human rights. Malik served as Lebanon’s ambassador to the United Nations and the United States; was president of the UN Economic and Social Council; was rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights; chaired the third session of the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee in Paris, which drafted the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and became president of the Human Rights Commission in 1951; was Lebanon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; and, finally, was President of the UN General Assembly’s thirteenth session.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier will also receive the IDC Congressional Champion award for her leadership in advocating for Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide and support for Christians and Yazidis in Iraq.
Other speakers at the dinner include: Dr. Brian J. Grim, President of the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation, Mr. Charles Hage, President of the Maronite Foundation and IDC Trustee, His Excellency Neemat Frem, Member of the Parliament of Lebanon and IDC Trustee, Mr. Samuel Tadros, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, and a personal testimony by Professor Mona Rizk Rowan of Stone Hill College.
The National Leadership Conference will also include Capitol Hill Day on September 11, 2019, where IDC supporters will lead groups in canvassing their senators and representatives to advocate for Christians of the Middle East. This will be preceded by a panel of experts, including: Ms.Tonia Khouri, IDC Vice President, Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel, President & CEO of American Task Force for Lebanon, Ms. Sara Salama, Legal Advisor for Coptic Orphans, Mr. Jeremy P. Barker, Senior Program Officer and Director of the Middle East Action Team for the Religious Freedom Institute and Mr. Aram S. Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America. Congressman Dan Lipinski of Illinois will be giving introductory remarks.
The National Leadership Conference will also host a variety of government officials, including senior White House and State Department officials, Members of Congress, dignitaries, academics and supporters.
IDC is looking forward to further strengthening the preservation of human rights of minorities in the Middle East. This can, and will be achieved alongside Congressional allies and partner organizations across the nation.
“IDC has been working tirelessly over the past several years in representing the interests of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East to the American government. 2019 has been a historic year in terms of accomplishing our goals and we appreciate all the support from the community in helping us achieve them. More specifically, I want to thank President Trump and Vice President Pence for their good faith and commitment to preserving Christianity in the region,” said Toufic Baaklini, IDC President.