International Religious Freedom under the Biden Administration

Hosted by the Department of International Relations, the Phelan United States Centre and the Religion and Glob

Online public event


Dr Judd Birdsall

Dr Judd Birdsall

Dr Courtney Freer

Dr Courtney Freer

Dr H A Hellyer

Dr H A Hellyer


Dr James Walters

Dr James Walters

This roundtable discussion will bring together experts from around the world to examine the Biden Administration’s approach to international religious freedom and the implications this has on American foreign policy.

Biden’s predecessor made Religious Freedom a cornerstone of its foreign policy, notably highlighted by the creation of the State Department’s “Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom”, which the UK is expected to host in 2022. Will he carry on a similar legacy? Or will we see a substantial shift from the Biden Administration? Finally, what does this mean for America’s foreign policy?

Featured image (used in source code): Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Meet our speaker and chair

Judd Birdsall (@JuddBirdsall) is a Senior Research Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University. He was previously based at the Centre for Geopolitics at Cambridge University and continues to serve as an affiliated lecturer in the Cambridge University Department of Politics and International Studies. He has served in the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom and on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff.

Courtney Freer (@courtneyfreer) is Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a non-resident fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings Institution. Her book Rentier Islamism: The Influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gulf Monarchies, published in 2018, traces the political and social role of Islamists in the Arabian Gulf.

H A Hellyer, (@hahellyer) a Carnegie Endowment scholar, is Fellow of Cambridge University’s Centre for Islamic Studies, and Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute. A prolific public intellectual on governance, international relations, security, and religion, in the West & the Arab world, he is the author of 7 books in these areas. A former Brookings Fellow, he currently helps steer the EU-funded project ‘GREASE’ on “Radicalisation, Secularism & the Governance of Religion”.

James Walters (@LSEChaplain) is Director of the LSE Religion and Global Society research unit and a senior lecturer in practice in the Department of International Relations.

More about this event

International Relations (@LSEIRDept) has been taught at LSE since 1924. The Department was not only the first of its kind, but has remained a leading world centre for the development of the subject ever since. The Department has always been strongly international in character and today the majority of our graduate students, a good proportion of our undergraduates, as well as many members of the faculty are drawn from Europe, North America and further afield. At the same time we have always prided ourselves as having both a national and an international role in training diplomats and future university teachers.

The LSE's United States Centre (@LSE_US) is a hub for global expertise, analysis and commentary on America. Our mission is to promote policy-relevant and internationally-oriented scholarship to meet the growing demand for fresh analysis and critical debate on the United States.

LSE Religion and Global Society (@LSE_RGS) is an interdepartmental research unit which conducts, coordinates and promotes social science research that seeks to understand the many ways in which religion influences, and is influenced by, geopolitical change.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEFoRB

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