21Wilberforce to Honor Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback
21Wilberforce Founder and President, Randel Everett, announced that the 2020 Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Award honoree is Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback. Ambassador Brownback has an extensive track record of working in a bipartisan manner to promote religious freedom and other human rights for people around the globe. During his sixteen years in Congress, Brownback was a champion for international religious freedom, advocating for landmark policy reforms as well as prisoners of conscience wrongly incarcerated for their faith. He was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA) that established a legal mandate for the promotion of religious freedom as an element of U.S. foreign policy. Ambassador Brownback was the first senator visit Darfur during the genocide and advocate for the people of Sudan. He was also highly active working on issues in Egypt, China, North Korea, and other countries.
Since his confirmation as Ambassador in 2018, Brownback has worked to build a global movement among civil society groups and governments to advance international religious freedom. Under his leadership, the U.S. initiated and held two Ministerial to Advance International Religious Freedom meetings in Washington, DC, forged a working relationship with the International Religious Freedom Roundtable, and is working to launch 100 similar roundtables around the world.
The inspiration for the award comes from Congressman Frank Wolf who has worked tirelessly to promote international religious freedom in Congress and later served as Distinguished Senior Fellow at 21Wilberforce. Known as a “champion of human rights” and “conscience of Congress,” Congressman Wolf has traveled the globe to call attention to human rights abuses and religious persecution. He championed and co-authored the International Religious Freedom Act.
“It means a lot to me that 21Wilberforce has chosen to present this award to Ambassador Brownback. Sam and I have been friends for many years and we worked together on several issues,” said Congressman Frank Wolf. “When Sam was in Congress, he stood out for his interest in human rights and religious freedom. He and I were the first two members to go to Darfur during the genocide and he led the effort to declare what was happening there. Sam has continued to admirably champion human rights and international religious freedom during his tenure as Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.”
Past recipients of this award (www.21Wilberforce.org/award/) include Archbishop Ben and Dr. Gloria Kwashi of Jos, Nigeria, and the city of Midland, Texas. The 2020 Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Award virtual ceremony will be held late September.
Lou Ann Sabatier