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On Friday, October 2nd, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) began a nationwide tour at Regent University School of Law. A representative, Mark Lloyd, visited campus in person. Five high-ranking USAID members joined virtually. Center for Global Justice Student Staff were able to attend the event in person. USAID supports religious freedom for all types of religions. They also assist nations and support country stabilization all around the world.

USAID Religious Freedom For All

Richard Parker

Richard Parker is the assistant administrator of legislative affairs at USAID. He is an alumnus of the Regent University School of Government. During the event Richard discussed the mission of USAID. He further explained that the mission for USAID is to “work ourselves out of a job.”

USAID Religious Freedom For All

John Barsa

John Barsa works as the Active Administrator and used to work for the Bureau of Latin America and the Caribbean. He explained that the Trump administration’s initiative to protect religious freedom and religious minorities has helped their efforts. For example “stable and prosperous” nations are the ones that promote religious freedom.

USAID Religious Freedom For All

Alana Marsili

Alana Marsili works in the Middle East bureau. She explained that USAID is cultivating the first direct partnerships with local faith-based locations in norther Iraq. In addition, the United States is currently trying to increase relationships in Iraq.

USAID Religious Freedom For All

Ramsey Day

Ramsey works in the African division and spoke about USAID’s work in Nigeria. He said that Africa is a continent of strategic importance. Ramsey explained that in Nigeria, diversity is under attack. Through maps of Nigeria, Ramsey explained that ethnic conflict has been growing. Ramsey explained three ways USAID is working in Nigeria. First, he explained that USAID is trying to mitigate issues before they graduate to armed conflicts. Second, he explained they are also strengthening the resilience of communities against extremism. Finally, he explained they are creating an action plan to increase conversations between Nigerian Christians and Muslims.

USAID Religious Freedom For All

Javier Piedra

Javier Piedra works in the Asian bureau. His personal mission is to “ignite hearts for greatness.” Javier discussed the internment and murder of the Uighurs in the Xinjiang Province of China. He explained that in these cases the communist Chinese government is depriving the Uighurs of “food, sleep, and medical care.” The government is also performing forced sterilizations and working people to death. Javier explained they are doing this “solely because of the “religion and ethnicity” of the people. Although this is the case, Javier said that USAID is applying pressure on the Chinese government to make a change.

USAID Religious Freedom For All

Gloria Steele

Gloria Steele works in southern Asia and discussed the ethnic unrest in Burma. During her talk she discussed how Burma treats the Rohingya people as illegal immigrants. She extrapolated on this thought by explaining that the Burmese government discriminates like this despite the fact that they have lived there for generations. The Rohingya people are not given basic rights, are limited in movement, and are not able to work or plant food for themselves. Gloria explained that USAID is assisting Burma in their democratic transition. The United States is currently the largest humanitarian donor to Burma.

Question and Answer

After the individual presentations, students and Regent Law alumni were able to ask the full panel questions. These speakers encouraged current Regent Law students to apply for internships with USAID. Since this presentation, internships with USAID’s general counsel are now an option for the Center for Global Justice Internship Program.

USAID Religious Freedom For All

Mark Lloyd

Mark Lloyd was present at the on-campus event. After the Zoom event’s conclusion he lead a frank discussion with Center for Global Justice Student Staff members. He then discussed how USAID works with both governmental and non-governmental organizations to support work around the world. Finally, he discussed the atrocities in China that Javier mentioned. At the conclusion of the discussion he made a final plug for Center for Global Justice Student Staff to apply for USAID internships. The event was very informative and showed that USAID is working for religious freedom for all.