Ambassador David Saperstein talks TPP, ISIL, and the Next Administration

| Nov. 28, 2016

David Saperstein, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom, discussed US efforts to promote religious freedom across the globe in a  November 14 event, focusing particularly on  the importance of integrating questions of religious belief into the human rights portfolio in foreign policy.

Citing a recent example, Ambassador Saperstein noted that while the Trans-Pacific Partnership is primarily viewed as a trade treaty, the State Department had also used these talks as an opportunity to push for legal protection against human rights abuses in nations with a history of discrimination against religious minorities.

He also warned against conflating Islam with radical Islamist groups, or failing to see it as a world religion.  Ambassador Saperstein noted that Muslim anti-extremist movements in Indonesia and elsewhere lead some of the most effective efforts to counter ISIL’s global influence.

Ambassador Saperstein praised Secretary Kerry’s integrated approach to policymaking, noting that under his leadership, human rights and religious concerns were routinely included  at the highest level of the State Department’s strategic planning processes. In an increasingly globalized world, Saperstein said, a holistic approach to foreign policy that looked beyond narrowly-defined security interests was not only preferable, but absolutely necessary. While Saperstein said that he could offer little insight into the future policies of the next administration, he expressed his hope that the next Secretary of State would take an equally expansive view of American interests abroad.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Liliana Harrington. “Ambassador David Saperstein talks TPP, ISIL, and the Next Administration.” News, , November 28, 2016.