On July 25, Marziyeh Amirizadeh and Maryam Rostamour, both alumni from the Bachelor of Science in International Affairs and now Master of Science in International Affairs students in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, participated in day two of the three-day Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C.
The first-ever ministerial to advance religious freedom was hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to press for greater religious freedom in hopes of producing real, positive change.
Amirizadeh and Rostamour spoke on the second day, which was dedicated to convening religious leaders and survivors of religious persecution. These individuals shared their personal stories and expertise to promote change.
“It was an honor to participate in this conference where all government representatives from different nations with different religions gathered together in peace to find solutions to end religious prosecutions and human right violations in their countries,” said Maryam Rostamour.
“We, as two of the survivors of religious persecution had the chance to share our personal experiences and advocate for other religious minorities in our country in front of government representatives,” said Marziyeh Amirizadeh. They spoke about their arrest by the Islamic Republic of Iran, where they were imprisoned for 259 days and sentenced to execution by hanging for being Christian.
They detailed their account in Captive in Iran: A Remarkable True Story of Hope and Triumph amid the Horror of Tehran’s Brutal Evin Prison.
Amirizadeh and Rostamour are currently completing their master’s in International Affairs. Following graduation, they hope to work for the State Department to press for greater human rights reform and religious freedom.