Bethlehem Development Foundation and the American Friends of the Bethlehem Development Foundation participate in the International Religious Freedom Summit 2021

Media, Press Release

(Wash­ing­ton, D.C. July 20, 2021) The Beth­le­hem Devel­op­ment Foun­da­tion (BDF) and the Amer­i­can Friends of the Beth­le­hem Devel­op­ment Foun­da­tion (AFBDF), a U.S. 501© (3) non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion, both ded­i­cat­ed to the restora­tion of the Holy Region of Beth­le­hem, par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Inter­na­tion­al Reli­gious Free­dom Sum­mit 2021 in Wash­ing­ton, DC in the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. The Sum­mit was attend­ed by over 1,000 per­sons from over 40 orga­ni­za­tions of dif­fer­ent faiths and coun­tries com­mit­ted to uphold­ing reli­gious free­dom across the world. BDF was rep­re­sent­ed by Mazen Karam, CEO and Man­ag­ing Direc­tor and AFBDF was rep­re­sent­ed by Ran­da Fah­my, Esq., Wash­ing­ton Representative.

Mr. Karam pre­sent­ed the great works of the restora­tion of the Church of the Nativ­i­ty at a ses­sion spon­sored by the Hud­son Institute’s Cen­ter for Reli­gious Freedom’s Work­ing Group on Chris­tians & Reli­gious Plu­ral­ism in the Mid­dle East, chaired by Nina Shea, Esq., and Dr. Eliz­a­beth Pro­dro­mou. Karam not­ed “We are hope­ful that this unprece­dent­ed meet­ing of Inter­na­tion­al reli­gious free­dom lead­ers will help to bring about free­dom of access to all our reli­gious sites to enable us to pre­serve them and show­case them to all the peo­ples of the world. I call upon the lead­er­ship of the IRF to estab­lish a fund for the pur­pose of pre­serv­ing those sites.”

The Inter­na­tion­al Reli­gious Free­dom (IRF) Sum­mit 2021 is the pre­mier annu­al reli­gious free­dom sum­mit in the Unit­ed States. Co-chaired by for­mer Ambas­sador at Large for Inter­na­tion­al Reli­gious Free­dom, Sam Brown­back, and Pres­i­dent of the Lan­tos Foun­da­tion for Human Rights, Kat­ri­na Lan­tos Swett, the IRF Sum­mit con­venes a broad coali­tion of inter­na­tion­al sup­port­ers of reli­gious free­dom in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The IRF Sum­mit has two main objec­tives: Cre­at­ing a pow­er­ful coali­tion of orga­ni­za­tions that oper­ate togeth­er for the cause of reli­gious free­dom around the world and increas­ing the pub­lic aware­ness and polit­i­cal strength for the inter­na­tion­al reli­gious free­dom movement.

The Hud­son Institute’s Cen­ter for Reli­gious Free­dom pro­motes reli­gious free­dom as a com­po­nent of U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy by work­ing with a world­wide net­work of reli­gious free­dom experts to pro­vide defens­es against reli­gious per­se­cu­tion and oppres­sion. Since its incep­tion in 1986, the Cen­ter has spon­sored inves­tiga­tive field mis­sions, report­ed on the reli­gious per­se­cu­tion of indi­vid­u­als and groups abroad, and under­tak­en advo­ca­cy on their behalf in the media, Con­gress, State Depart­ment and White House.

The Amer­i­can Friends of the Beth­le­hem Devel­op­ment Foun­da­tion (AFBDF) was found­ed in Novem­ber 2017 to estab­lish finan­cial assis­tance, grass­roots sup­port, and recog­ni­tion for the devel­op­ment of the Holy City of Beth­le­hem. AFBDF pri­mar­i­ly sup­ports the efforts of the Beth­le­hem Devel­op­ment Foun­da­tion (BDF), a non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion head­quar­tered in Beth­le­hem and found­ed by the late Said Khoury, with a Board of Trustees now chaired by his son Samer Khoury. BDF’s mis­sion is to imple­ment Khoury’s vision to cre­ate a sus­tain­able econ­o­my and infra­struc­ture for Beth­le­hem, and to enable the Holy City to sparkle as a peace­ful bea­con and unique spir­i­tu­al cen­ter of the world for pil­grims of all faiths. BDF desires to expand its pres­ence in the Unit­ed States through AFBDF to seek sup­port for the birth­place of Jesus Christ.