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