George Washington University Opens Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. Institute for Religious Freedom
CAA Vice Chairman and Endowment Fund Founding Member Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr. was honored at an April 14 luncheon hosted by the George Washington University President Steven Knapp and the GWU campus community.
President Knapp recalled Ambassador Loeb’s many achievements, including service as the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark and founder of the Loeb Visitors Center at the Touro Synagogue National Historic Site in Newport, RI as well as the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom.
The John L. Loeb Jr. Foundation has donated $2.5 million to establish and endow the Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr. Institute for Religious Freedom at George Washington University. According to GWU, the Institute will “foster dialogue on religious understanding and the separation of church and state and will serve as a center for academic collaboration in religion, peace studies, history, political science and other programs for scholars, students, educators and the public.”
Before the First Amendment guaranteed freedom of religion in the United States, President George Washington was “an early advocate for religious minorities. His 1790 Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, penned after he and then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson visited Newport, promised that the new nation would ‘give bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance’ and defined freedom of belief as the ‘inherent natural right’ of every American.”
The Loeb Institute will focus on “creating greater awareness of the nation’s historic roots of religious freedom, the separation of church and state and the continuing relevance of the American tradition of religious diversity.”
The Council of American Ambassadors joins the George Washington University community in honoring Ambassador Loeb and celebrating the establishment of this important new Institute for Religious Freedom.