On 19 June 2015 CIRIS hosted Amb. David Saperstein for a roundtable discussion with Cambridge academics on religious freedom in international affairs. Saperstein is the fourth U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom. He leads the State Department’s Office on International Religious Freedom and serves as the principal advisor to President Obama and Secretary Kerry on religious freedom issues. Prior to his current appointment, Saperstein serves for 40 years as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC).
Here CIRIS research associate Chris Moses gets Saperstein’s views on the mission of his office and how it can advance religious freedom in challenging places—including in the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
CIRIS: Why was your office established?
On 28 April 2015 CIRIS hosted a lecture at the University of Cambridge with Shaun Casey, U.S. Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs. Prior his current appointment, which began in 2013, Casey was a professor of ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary. He holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government and has written widely on religion and politics.
Here CIRIS research associates Chris Moses and Margot Dazey get Casey’s thoughts on a range of topics, including Islam, interfaith engagement, the mission of his office, and how he responds to critics.
CIRIS: Could you explain the reasons why the Office of Religion and Global Affairs was established and how it is structured?