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Restoring Faith in Freedom

In July 2018, The Carter Center brought together nearly 70 activists, peacemakers, and religious and community leaders from around the world for the annual Human Rights Defenders Forum.

This year's theme – "Restoring Faith in Freedom" – was chosen because of the sense that many people across the globe are losing faith in the institutions and principles that have long guided us.

"We’ve reached the lowest level – certainly in my lifetime – in feeling that the future can be better than the past," former U.S. President Jimmy Carter told attendees. "We’ve lost faith in some things that we always took for granted: Faith in each other, faith in the truth, faith not only in religions but in societal relationships . . . we need to go back to those principles."

The group spent four days discussing pressing issues – income inequality, the rise of authoritarianism, the backlash against human rights defenders –while also looking for ways to restore the social contract and rebuild faith.

Because human rights defenders are a naturally optimistic bunch, we asked some of them to tell us what they have faith in...

Graça Fonseca
Valerie Bridgeman
Father Sohail Bhatti
Frances R. Deigh Greaves
Sheikh Armiyau Shuaib
Daoud and Jihan Nassar
Reverend Dr. Cassandra Gould
Usama Malik
Izatta Nagbe
Radhika Balakrishnan
Sadiat Onike-Azeez and Onike Morufu Abdul-Azeez
Sheryl Mendez
Senator Hafida Benchehida
Jennifer Freeman
Jorge Alberto Santos
Julia Mello Neiva
Leah Daughtry
Alfred Brownwell
Reverend Liz Theoharis
Lulu Berrera
Manuel Quibod
Marillia Ramos
Mariyam Shakeela
Masana Ndinga-Kanga
Patricia Melva Gualinga
Dabney Evans
Ahmed Mohamed
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