The Heart of Religious Freedom
Ambassador Sam Brownback
October 3, 2018
Sam Brownback was sworn in as Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom on February 1, 2018. He served as Governor of Kansas from 2011 to 2018. Previously he served as a U.S. Senator (1996-2011) and a U.S. Representative in the House of Representatives (1995-1996) from Kansas.
While a member of the Senate, he worked actively on the issue of religious freedom in multiple countries and was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. He also served as Kansas Secretary of Agriculture (1986-1993) and was a White House Fellow in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (1990-1991). Prior to his public service, Ambassador Brownback was a private attorney in Kansas and taught agricultural law at Kansas State University, co-authoring two books on the subject. He earned a B.S. from Kansas State University and a J.D. from the University of Kansas.
The Office of International Religious Freedom has the mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy. Ambassador Brownback recently stated: “The lack of religious freedom anywhere is a threat to peace, prosperity and stability everywhere.” He noted that, “The right to freedom of religion, and the ability to live according to the dictates of your own soul, is under attack in the world. This must change.”
His office monitors religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommends and implements policies in respective regions or countries, and develops programs to promote religious freedom. The U.S. is committed to religious freedom and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every human being.
The IRF seeks to promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries, assists emerging democracies in implementing freedom of religion and conscience, assists religious and human rights NGOs in promoting religious freedom, and identifies and denounce regimes that are severe persecutors on the basis of religious belief.