By M.A. Student Ihab Hassan
On September 13, 2023, a group of Master of Human Rights students from the Catholic University of America had the privilege of visiting the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) in Washington, D.C. During this insightful meeting, the students had the opportunity to engage with Nathaniel Hurd, Director of the North America Action Team and Senior Fellow in Public Policy at the Religious Freedom Institute. The gathering was an invaluable experience that allowed both the students and Mr. Hurd to exchange ideas and insights related to religious freedom and human rights advocacy.
The meeting commenced with Nathaniel Hurd introducing himself to the students, providing a brief overview of his background, expertise, and the work he conducts at RFI. Following this introduction, the students introduced themselves, creating a welcoming atmosphere for open dialogue and collaboration.
Dr. William Saunders, Director of the Human Rights Program at The Catholic University of America, accompanied the students and contributed significantly to the discussion. His presence enhanced the meeting as he shared his deep knowledge and experience in the field of human rights.
Nathaniel Hurd then proceeded to give the students a comprehensive overview of the Religious Freedom Institute’s mission, areas of focus, and the regions and communities they are actively engaged with. This presentation shed light on the critical work being carried out by RFI in the field of religious freedom and human rights on a global scale.
One of the key aspects discussed was the various regions and communities where the Religious Freedom Institute is actively working. Mr. Hurd highlighted the importance of understanding and addressing religious freedom issues in diverse contexts, including countries with differing political, cultural, and religious landscapes. This discussion served as a valuable learning experience for the students, emphasizing the significance of cultural sensitivity and context-specific approaches in promoting religious freedom.
The meeting concluded with an engaging question and answer session, during which students had the opportunity to pose queries to Nathaniel Hurd. The students’ questions spanned a wide range of topics, including the practical challenges faced by RFI in their advocacy efforts, the strategies employed to promote religious freedom, and the impact of their work on local communities.
Nathaniel Hurd graciously answered the students’ questions, providing them with valuable insights and perspectives based on his extensive experience in the field. The interactive nature of the Q&A session fostered a deeper understanding of the complex issues surrounding religious freedom and human rights.
In summary, the meeting with Nathaniel Hurd at the Religious Freedom Institute was an enlightening and enriching experience for the Master of Human Rights students. It provided them with a firsthand look into the critical work being carried out by RFI in the field of religious freedom and human rights advocacy. The exchange of ideas and perspectives between the students and Mr. Hurd served to inspire and educate, reinforcing the importance of their pursuit of human rights in today’s world.