Preserving Identity in the Face of Oppression:

Religious Freedom and National Identity in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia

Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia is a region that has been shaped by religious freedom and the interplay between religious and national identities. This panel will explore the ways in which these identities have been maintained or challenged in the face of ideological oppression, particularly during the 20th century. The panel will focus on specific case studies from Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, and Armenia, highlighting the diverse paths of religious freedom and identity in the region. The role of religion in preserving cultural and national identities will be emphasized.


February 2, 2023

1 pm – 5 pm,


International Meridian Center, White-Meyer House,
1624 Crescent Pl NW, Washington, DC 20009

Join:  R E G I S T E R   H E R E



1 pm – 1:30 pm


1:30pm – 2 pm

Eric Patterson, PhD  (President, Religious Freedom Institute, Washington DC, Research Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs)

George E. Bogden, PhD (Helmut Schmidt Fellow, German Marshall Fund, Member, Freedom & Identity in Central Europe): “Comparing Approaches: Freedom of Religion and Identity in the U.S. and CEE Region”

Panel presentations

2 pm – 3:30 pm


  1. Marek Chodakiewicz, PhD (Professor, Director of the Center for Intermarium Studies, Institute of World Politics): “Religion and National Identity in Poland: 966-Now”
  2. Lilla Nóra Kiss, PhD (Visiting Scholar and Adjunct Faculty, George Mason University, Founding Member, Freedom & Identity in Central Europe): “Limiting Freedom and Persecuting Churches: The Impact of Soviet Dictatorship on Religious Practice in Hungary”
  3. Emese Latkóczy (Director, Hungarian Human Rights Foundation): “The Forgotten Religious Injustice in Romania: 33 Years of Failed Property Restitution”
  4. Peter Burns (Executive Director, International Religious Freedom Summit): “The survival of Armenian ethnoreligious identity in the face of national crisis


Mónika Palotai (Visiting Fellow, Hudson Institute, Founding Member, Freedom & Identity in Central Europe): “Role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the War against Ukraine” (moderator)


3:30 pm – 4 pm


Closing remarks

4 pm – 4:15 pm

Paul Coyer, PhD (Vice President, Common Sense Society, Professor, Institute of World Politics)


4:15 pm – 5 pm



Constitution and Religion

Separating State and Church in the 21st Century 

Some separation of the institutions of state and church is typical of many modern constitutional democracies. However, the relationship between religion, the public square, and government is not always straightforward, and it can be challenging to get the balance right. This conference aims to explore these challenges and to consider the ways in which the state and religious institutions can coexist and interact in a manner that respects the rights and freedoms of all individuals and the non-governmental institutions of civil society. The conference will bring together experts from a range of disciplines to discuss the intersection of politics and religion with a focus on Western democracies. In addition to addressing the challenges of right church-state relations, the conference will also examine competing visions of the role of religion in public life, from Europe’s highly diverse landscape to the dynamism of America’s religious landscape. Speakers will discuss the various ways in which different countries have approached the balance between religion and the state and will consider the implications of these approaches for the protection of individual rights and freedoms.


March 6, 2023

5 pm – 8 pm


300 Independence Ave SE,
Washington, DC 20003

RSVP here.  


Welcoming words:

Lilla Nóra Kiss, PhD (Visiting Scholar, George Mason University, Co-founder, FICE)

Panel on the USA

5:30 pm – 6:15 pm 

  1. Gregory S. Baylor (Senior Counsel, Director, Center for Religious Schools, Alliance Defending Freedom)
  2. John Wesley Reid (Editor-In-Chief, Standing for Freedom Center, Liberty University)
  3. Nathaniel Hurd (Director, North America Action Team, Religious Freedom Institute)

Moderator: Arielle Del Turco (Assistant Director, Center for Religious Liberty, Family Research Council)


6:15 pm – 6:20 pm

Dinner speech

6:20 pm – 6:45 pm 

    Mark David Hall, PhD (Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Politics and Faculty Fellow in the Honors Program, George Fox University)


    6:45 pm – 6:50 pm

    Panel on Europe & Eurasia

    6:50 pm – 7:35 pm

    1. Paul Marshall, PhD (Director, South and Southeast Asia Action Team, Religious Freedom Institute)
    2. Márton Sulyok, PhD (Head of Public Law Center, Mathias Corvinus Collegium)
    3. Mónika Palotai (Visiting Fellow, Hudson Institute, Member, FICE)

    Moderator: Szabolcs Nagypál, PhD (Head of Law School at Mathias Corvinus Collegium, Hungary)

    Closing remarks

    7:35 pm – 7:40 pm

    Mark Tooley (President, Institute on Religion and Democracy)



    7:40 pm – 8 pm



    Share This