FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is pleased to announce the first recipients of the Joseph R. Crapa Fellowship program. Each of the recipients is researching an aspect of international religious freedom and its impact on U.S. policy.
“USCIRF is proud to announce this extremely accomplished group of scholars who in the next year will conduct important research in advancing the cause of religious freedom while also honoring the memory of Joseph R. Crapa,” said Leonard Leo, USCIRF chair.
Before joining USCIRF, Joseph Crapa spent a year as chief of staff to Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). Earlier, he held legislative and public affairs positions with the Agency for International Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. He was chief of staff for Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.) from 1987 to 1997, the last three years as Democratic counsel to the House Appropriations Committee. He served as USCIRF’s Executive Director from 2002 until his untimely death in 2007.
A committed public servant, Mr. Crapa guided USCIRF with consummate skill, combining a keen sense of public service with an abiding commitment to advancing the cause of religious freedom. He helped USCIRF amplify its voice and broaden its reach.
An event will be held in the upcoming weeks to formally introduce the fellows. More information on the event will be forthcoming.
The biographies of the Crapa Fellows are as follow:
Dr. Timothy Samuel Shah is Senior Research Scholar with Boston University’s Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs and formerly Adjunct Senior Fellow for Religion and Foreign Policy with the Council on Foreign Relations. With the support of the Crapa Fellowship, he will produce several publications that explore the significance of international religious freedom for American strategic objectives, such as democracy promotion and defeating extremism and terrorism.
Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love is a tenured Associate Professor of international relations and a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. With the support of the Crapa Fellowship, her project will better educate U.S. government foreign affairs personnel on the importance of religious freedom in international affairs and U.S. foreign policy by creating education, training, curriculum, and case study materials for U.S. government officials who attend senior foreign affairs training at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), schools of Professional Military Education (PME), and universities.
Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour is the President of the International Quranic Center in Virginia and a renowned Muslim scholar and reformer from Egypt. He worked for several decades advocating religious freedom and international human rights from within Islam. With the support of the Crapa Fellowship, his research will focus on highlighting progressive Islamic thinking, based on Islamic holy texts, culture, and history as well as informing U.S. foreign policy on how to counter religious extremism.
Ms. Liora Danan is the Director of Special Projects for the Middle East Program at the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California and an adjunct fellow with the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. She was the lead author of a Center for Strategic & International Studies report on U.S. government engagement with religion in conflict-prone settings. With the support of the Crapa Fellowship, she will look at practical ways to better utilize U.S. public diplomacy initiatives to promote religious freedom, developing a list of recommendations for incorporating discussion of religion and religious freedom principles into public diplomacy work.
USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. USCIRF’s principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.
To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, contact Tom Carter, Communications Director
, or (202) 523-3257.