Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia
The Fijian ambassador to the United States met with Adventist church officials at the General Conference’s (GC) headquarters in Silver Springs, Maryland on May 15 to discuss the South Pacific island nation’s draft constitution.
The ambassador thanked us for the opportunity [to meet] and indicated he would forward our concerns and recommendations on to his government.
Ambassador Winston Thompson accepted an invitation from representatives of the Church’s Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) department to discuss the proposed Fijian constitution and its potential impact on religious freedom. During the meeting, Mr Thompson was presented with a copy of the Fijian Adventist Church’s submission to the draft constitution.
PARL associate director Dr Ganoune Diop (left) with Fijian ambassador Winston Thompson (right). [Photo courtesy: Mark Kellner]
“The meeting was very cordial,” said Karnik Doukmetzian, legal counsel to the GC. “The ambassador thanked us for the opportunity [to meet] and indicated he would forward our concerns and recommendations on to his government.”
Also in attendance was Professor Cole Durham, director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) at Brigham Young University. Durham, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared some observations from his experience in assisting other nations with their constitutional deliberations.
ICLRS director Cole Durham.
It was the ambassador’s first visit to the Adventist Church’s world headquarters. “We took the opportunity to give him a tour and talk about the Church, its presence and work around the world,” said Mr Doukmetzian. “He was quite impressed with our breadth and representation.”