Kristina Arriaga is the vice chairwoman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
For more than 20 years, Ms. Arriaga has worked on the defense of religious freedom internationally and domestically as Advisor to the United States delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, an appointee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and as the Executive Director of Becket Law, a U.S.-based public interest law firm that defends the free expression of all religious traditions. She was appointed to the commission on May 13, 2016 by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for a two-year term expiring.
While at Becket, she launched the only religious liberty clinic in the United States, at Stanford Law School. She also led the firm while it secured the rights of Native Americans to use eagle feathers in their powwows, persuaded the U.S. Army to let a Sikh Bronze Star Medalist serve with his articles of faith, as well as protected the rights of a small order of Catholic nuns who take care of the dying elderly poor.
Since her appointment to commission, she has met with the Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar in Cairo, the Vice Minister of Islam in Riyadh, the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, among many other foreign government officials, religious leaders and human rights advocates. She also has testified before the U.S. Congress.
Ms. Arriaga is a sought-after speaker on religious freedom, on the intersection of religious freedom and women’s rights, and on human rights in Cuba. In addition to speaking at numerous academic conferences, the National Constitutional Center, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, among many others, she has appeared on several TV and radio programs on MSNBC, C-Span, FOX, CNN Español, EWTN, and National Public Radio. Her op-eds have been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. She is the recipient of the 2017 Newseum’s Free Speech award.
She has a master’s degree from Georgetown University where she graduated magna cum laude.