Given that we are battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and social distancing and shelter in place guidelines are in effect, face-to-face events have been cancelled or shifted from in-person to virtual gatherings. 21Wilberforce offered to collaborate with the International Religious Freedom Roundtable to convene their regular weekly meetings as Virtual Roundtables within the 21Wilberforce Freedom Center.
Several months ago the team at 21Wilberforce cast a vision to create and launch a “go to” place online – a hub, with practical tutorials, tools and resources to advance international religious freedom and to combat persecution of religion or belief. The vision was translated into a plan and Phase One became reality with the launch of The Freedom Center in October 2019.
Passionate individuals, grassroots activists, faith groups, NGOs, and networks could now get training, connect with other coalitions and spark campaigns of activism that can affect millions globally. When The Freedom Center was unveiled, 21Wilberforce founder and President, Dr. Randel Everett, said “We will continue to add new resources and capabilities in the coming months.” Just six months later, The Freedom Center has been expanded with Phase Two: an in-depth, easy to navigate Resource section and the capability to host online forums.
The first Virtual IRF Roundtable with Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, took place on Tuesday, April 7th with 140 participants representing NGOs and government agencies from around the world. The IRF Roundtable follows Chatham House Rule so while we cannot disclose any of the participants nor the information that was discussed for 1.5 hours, we can report that The Freedom Center virtual meeting was productive and successful.
Photo caption: Stock image of a virtual meeting