Join us in DC on Jan. 12 – Celebrate Religious Freedom and Business

Dear Friends,

On January 16, 2016, the United States will celebrate religious freedom. Each year, the President declares this date as Religious Freedom Day and calls upon Americans to observe this day through appropriate events and activities.
In advance of Religious Freedom Day, on Tuesday, Jan. 12th at 10:00am, we invite you to a high level event on business and religious freedom at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Gordon H. Smith, President & CEO, National Assoc. of Broadcasters, will give the keynote.
Please join Tanenbaum, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation and the Religious Freedom Center to discuss how businesses can successfully negotiate religious freedom and workplace issues. In an era when millennials are especially concerned for fairness and equality for all, respecting the religion and beliefs of employees is not only fair and good policy, but is also good for business.
Click here to RSVP. We look forward to seeing you there!
In friendship,
Mark Fowler,
Managing Director of Programs

Peacemakers on Religious Groups Bombed, Peace Talks with Kony, & More: PIA Media Update

Check out the latest new coverage of Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action:

Benny Giay, West Papua, Indonesia
Benny joined a coalition of Papuan churches in declaring the province an emergency zone after a series of shootings and violence that Indonesian authorities have failed to resolve. Benny calls upon the United Nations, and other international bodies, to intervene in the violence.
Benny delivers a diplomatic briefing about the current surge of violence in Papua, outlining the colonial roots of the conflict and Jakarta’s attempt to maintain territorial integrity while violating human rights. In order to fulfill the Papuan’s “land of peace” dream, Benny says Papua needs humanitarian intervention and the support of a third party.
Betty Bigombe, Uganda
Betty, the first person to initiate peace talks with LRA leader Joseph Kony in 1994, comments on the U.N.’s international appeal to help end the threat of the LRA. Although the U.N. appeal is coming very late, Betty states it is still important to protect people from the group’s resurgent attacks in the region.
Canon Andrew White, Iraq
Andrew reports on the devastating wave of car-bombings at a major Shia festival in Baghdad in June. This is the most violence Iraq has seen in one month since U.S. troops withdrew last December.
Andrew seeks to preserve 365 ancient sefer Torah scrolls from rotting in the basement of a church museum by transferring them to Baghdad’s one remaining synagogue. The effort is emblematic of Andrew’s ongoing protection of and service to the seven remaining Jews in Baghdad.
Andrew delivers the 2012 Commencement Address at Wheaton College, Illinois, urging students not to take care, but to take risks.
Andrew wins the 2012 Ultimate Christian Library Book Award for Faith Under Fire.
Ephraim Isaac, Ethiopia
Ephraim was unanimously voted the 2012 winner of the Morton Deutsch Conflict Resolution Award by the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence. The award recognizes Ephraim’s impressive peace-building work over the past forty years, in addition to his most recent involvement in Ethiopia.
Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, South Africa
Right to Care, South Africa’s largest HIV/Aids NGO, just appointed Nozizwe a member of the board. Nozizwe’s action-oriented approach and history of speaking truth to power make her a strong leader in fighting the pandemic.
Bill Lowrey, South Sudan
Bill presents a holistic model of reconciliation in a video for Duke Divinity’s Faith and Leadership forum.
Sakena Yacoobi, Afghanistan
Sakena has recently been honored with two major awards: The World’s Children’s Prize Honorary Award and The Asia Foundation’s Lotus Leadership Award, for her critical contributions to the education and health of Afghan women and children.


Peacemaker Betty Bigombe on Kony & Other Peacemaker Media Updates


As you have certainly heard by now, the “Kony2012” video went viral over social media networks recently. The video, produced by the advocacy organization Invisible Children, has publicized the crimes of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army at an unprecedented rate. While the video has certainly raised awareness about one of the world’s most brutal war criminals, it has also drawn a loud chorus of criticism. For a taste of the conversation, check out responses from The Atlantic and the Tumblr “Visible Children,” as well Invisible Children’s response to their critics.
Many reacted strongly against the Kony2012 video because it does not mention any of the work that Ugandans, Congolese and other Africans have done to try to stop Kony and the LRA. In trying to remedy this, numerous commentators have held up Peacemaker in Action Betty Bigombe as a prime example of the individuals on the ground who have been working to bring Kony to justice for decades. Betty’s supporters include the Ugandan journalist, Rosebell Kagumire, and the Christian Science Monitor. For a round-up of African responses to Kony2012, check out this post at BoingBoing.
Betty herself told AFP that while the video has increased awareness, “we would like to see [Invisible Children] do something tangible, on the ground, in Uganda.” Read more of her comments at
Hind Kabawat, Syria
Hind pondered how the liberal progressive forces, including herself, could have misread the desire of the Assad regime to reform the Syrian state peacefully “from within.”

Pastor James Wuye & Imam Ashafa, Nigeria
In light of the growing insecurity in Kaduna State, Pastor James and Imam Ashafa released a press statement to remind the public that it is wrong for any religion to be manipulated during a crisis.
Betty Bigombe, Uganda
The Enough Project interviewed Betty as part of their week of honoring women for International Women’s Day, which was March 8. Betty spoke about how being a woman has affected her work for peace and her interactions with Kony and the LRA.
Betty gave a talk, “Challenges of peace talks and mediation – Does it address the question of justice?” to University of Oxford’s Transitional Justice Research network. Listen to the podcast with the link below.
Rev. Canon Andrew White, Iraq
According to Canon White, conditions have grown worse for the Christian community following the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.
The Majalla published an in-depth article chronicling Canon Andrew White’s work devoted to multi-faith dialogue and healing sectarian rifts in Iraq.

Sakena Yacoobi, Afghanistan
Sakena gave some comments in honor of International Women’s Day. She spoke about Afghanistan’s history as a great cultural and educational center, and how education is the key to improving the lives of Afghans today.
Sakena was nominated for 2012 World’s Children’s Prize. The candidates for the prize are chosen by a child jury who are experts on the rights of the child as a result of their own experiences. Congratulations Sakena!
The Better World Kids Club also created a wonderful coloring page of Sakena, part of a series to inspire kids though figures of cultural and historical importance.
Watch this moving 18-minute documentary on Sakena’s spiritual motivations to start the Afghan Institute of Learning.
Father Sava Janjic, Kosovo (and Ivo Markovic!)
Friar Ivo Markovic had the opportunity recently to visit Father Sava at his monastery in Decani, Kosovo. Ivo spoke about the complicated situation in Kosovo at the moment and Sava’s work to help balance relations between the various ethnic and religious groups of Kosovo. In his words, Sava’s “attitudes and role in reconciliation are prophetical; we world Peacemakers may be proud that we have Sava in our group.” Check out Ivo’s photos from Kosovo at the link below:
Father Sava spoke to Ambassador Braathu from Norway on range of topics affecting Kosovo, from the need to protect religious sites to the situation of the Serbian community.
Yehezkel Landau, Israel/Palestine
Yehezkel recently published an essay about Jewish-Muslim relations in the 21st century on the forum, State of Formation. Read the complete essay at the link below.