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AGENDA FOR 2001
- Expand the network to 125 nations: Convocation alumni represent 75 nations. Our goal in 2001 is to expand Advocates' network to over 125 nations. The search will be done through our 195 alumni and major international ministries such as Campus Crusade, World Vision, Prison Fellowship, World Evangelical Fellowship and Navigators, as well as denominations and mission agencies.
- Help link 7,000 Christian law professionals: Advocates will seek to link Christian law fellowships representing 7,000 lawyers, judges, parliamentarians and national leaders, including the 3,500-member Christian Legal Society (USA) and similar groups in the UK (1,500), Bulgaria (100), Canada (300), Kenya (300), Pakistan (75), South Africa (300) and South Korea (300). This network's purposes will include helping ministries locate competent professionals and facilitating advocacy on behalf of persecuted believers by appealing personally to local ambassadors representing the offending nations.
- Bridge to law-related groups:Advocates International will strengthen its role as a bridge for law professionals worldwide to access organizations engaged in law-related issues such as Peacemaker Ministries, International Justice Mission, Prison Fellowship International, Helsinki Commission, UN Commission on Human Rights, Jubilee Campaign, US Commission on International Religious Freedom and the World Evangelical Fellowship Religious Liberty Commission.
- Conduct regional conferences on biblical conflict resolution on six continents: At the 2000 International Convocation, delegates from six continents met to begin plans for 2001 regional conferences which will draw together Advocates' alumni and their national and regional colleagues who are not yet part of the network. Advocates co-sponsored several training conferences with Peacemaker Ministries including those in South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Israel. Peacemaker also provided training for 250 participants at the Convocations in 1999 and 2000. In 2001, as part of the regional conferences, Advocates and Peacemaker Ministries will provide training seminars for over 500 lawyers, judges, pastors and national leaders from 125 nations.
- Open the Rule of Law Forum at the United Nations: We believe that Advocates International is the only human rights or faith-based organization with a former UN ambassador serving as its full-time UN liaison. Active at the UN since 1992, Ambassador Slavi Pachovski has developed relationships and gained experience that are invaluable resources to Advocates' mission. In 2001, we will launch the Rule of Law Forum as a means for diplomats to meet informally to discuss issues of mutual concern impacting religious freedom, human rights, reconciliation, personal faith and ethics. Moderators for the sessions will have expertise in the topics discussed, including former Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Robert Seiple, Advocates' Board member Kenneth W. Starr, author Os Guinness, and International Justice Mission President Gary Haugen.
- Monthly internet articles to 2,300 Parliamentarians:In 2000, Advocates International and the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship launched Global Voice as a means of sharing practical articles on religious freedom, human rights, reconciliation and ethics. Global Voice reaches over 2,300 Parliamentarians. In 2001, the European Advocates' conference will include a special track on conflict resolution for European parliamentarians. The contributors in 2000 included the current president of Albania, the current and former presidents of Finland, a UN Ambassador and the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Bulgarian Parliament.
- Weekly religious liberty reports and articles to 1,000 leaders: In cooperation with the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship, Advocates sends out several reports each week on current religious liberty issues to about 1,000 evangelical leaders, scholars and agencies.
- Publish a practical cross-cultural monograph and curriculum on religious liberty entitled "Striking the Balance": During the past decade in conferences around the globe, Advocates has effectively used a series of diagrams as tools to explain the dynamics of transitioning from closed societies to open societies where religious liberty is protected. Recently, in a meeting with Supreme Court justices from three Balkan nations, the President of Albania used concepts from "Striking the Balance"that he had heard presented in 1996. In 2001 Advocates will publish a 50-page monograph along with training materials with plans to have it translated into French, Russian, Bulgarian, Albanian, and Arabic.
- Draft a new law on religion for Albania: Advocates' President Sam Ericsson has been invited to be one of two Americans on the 2001 drafting committee for a new law on religion for Albania. The invitation came from the Chief of the State Committee of Cults who is from a Moslem tradition. They will be working with Advocates for Albania, our national arm in this project.
- Draft a new law on religion for Bulgaria: During 2000, Advocates and its Bulgarian Rule of Law Institute were invited by the National Assembly of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Council of Ministers to help in drafting a new law for religious organizations. The work will be concluded in 2001.
- Draft a new law on religion in Romania: Advocates has been invited by Romania's Director of Religious Affairs to give input in 2001 to a proposed new law on religion for Romania. We will be working with the 45-member Romanian Christian Evangelical Lawyers Association that was launched in 2000 following an Advocates' sponsored conference in 1999.
- Strengthen our Russian base: Our "innkeeper" in Russia is Katya Smyslova, a 1999 and 2000 Convocation alumna. Katya directs a small, dynamic religious freedom ministry, Esther Legal Information Center in Moscow that provides competent and affordable legal services to churches, denominations and missionaries. In 2000, she published a Legal Handbook for Church Ministries, which was also put in CD format. Advocates funded 3,000 copies of the handbook that are sold for a nominal cost or given free of charge. In 2001, Katya is building a wide network of law professionals in Russia that will enable the Center to have an even greater impact.
- Encourage and enable the Balkan Hub: At the 2000 Convocation, delegates from six Balkan nations --- Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosova, Macedonia and Romania --- decided that our 110-lawyer member Bulgarian Rule of Law Institute should serve as the hub for the Balkans in promoting religious freedom, reconciliation, ethics, and the integration of faith and vocation. Advocates will serve as an encourager and enabler to create a regional model that can be replicated elsewhere.
- Encourage and enable a Central Asian Hub: One of the 2000 Convocation alumni is a retired U.S. Department of Justice official who lives in Kyrgyzstan. Advocates will encourage and enable him in developing national groups in the Central Asian republics focusing on Advocates' mission.
- Encourage and enable a Siberian Hub: Advocates has been engaged in Mongolia since 1996 working with its Supreme Court, Parliament and Council of Ministers. Several Mongolian Convocation alumni are focusing on reaching out to Mongolia's neighbors, including North Korea, Siberia, and Inner Mongolia. In 2001, Advocates will conduct its fourth Supreme Court conference in Ulanbaataar and focus on developing the hub for Advocates' efforts in the region.