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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 3, 2007

Appeal of Conscience Seminar

Today, the Foreign Service Institute hosted the 27th annual Appeal of Conscience Seminar. The Seminar, co-sponsored by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation led by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, provided background on and an understanding of international religious freedom issues to students in FSI’s Area Studies program. The Seminar consisted of panels of religious experts and foreign affairs practitioners, including former Ambassadors, and a keynote address.

The keynote speaker for this year’s seminar was the Honorable B. Lynn Pascoe, Under Secretary General of the United Nations for Political Affairs, and the panelists were Thomas Graham, Ambassador Marc Grossman and Dennis Wilder.

In 1980, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation initiated the Seminar on Religious Life for the Foreign Service Institute. This program provided Foreign Service Officers with in-depth background on the religious life in the countries of their assignment. The original focus of the Seminar was religious life in Communist countries. The Seminar offered an unparalleled opportunity to bring together religious leaders, specialists on religious freedom issues and Foreign Service Officers. Although the first years were held “off campus”, the Appeal of Conscience Seminars have been held on site since 1994 following the construction of the National Foreign Affairs Training Center.

The scope of the Seminar has also changed over time. With the passage of The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the right to religious freedom gained official recognition as an important part of United States human rights policy. The Seminar accordingly expanded to include additional countries and cooperation with the Bureau of Democracy and Human Rights to present official United States policy and guidance on the job relevant aspects of this issue.

* * *

Established in 1947, the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) is celebrating 60 years of excellence as the U.S. Government’s premier Foreign Policy training center. With an annual enrollment of over 50,000, FSI prepares foreign affairs professionals from the Department of State and 46 other federal agencies to effectively articulate American values and implement the foreign policy of the United States while serving in over 160 countries around the world. FSI prepares first-time Foreign Service Officers, civil servants, Ambassadors and everyone in-between for the challenges of today’s world by giving them the skills to promote the interests of the United States.

For additional information on FSI, please contact Wayne Oshima at 703-302-6730.


Released on December 3, 2007

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