Nina Shea

Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Religious Freedom

Nina Shea

At A Glance:

Nina Shea is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Hudson Institute.

Biography

Nina Shea is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Hudson Institute. Ms. Shea has been a human rights lawyer for over 30 years. She works extensively for the advancement of individual religious freedom and other human rights in US foreign policy as it confronts an ascendant Islamic extremism, and other authoritarian regimes. She advocates in defense of those persecuted for their religious beliefs and identities and on behalf of diplomatic measures to end religious repression and violence abroad, whether from state actors or extremist groups.

Ms. Shea was appointed by the US House of Representatives to serve as a commissioner on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom seven times from 1999 to 2012. During the Soviet era, Ms. Shea’s first client before the United Nations was Soviet Nobel Peace Laureate Andrei Sakharov. Since then, she has been appointed as a US delegate to the United Nation's main human rights body by both Republican and Democratic administrations. She also served as a member of the Clinton administration's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. In 2009, she was appointed to serve as a member of the US National Commission to UNESCO.

Ms. Shea played a leading role in building grassroot support for the adoption of the International Religious Freedom Act (1998). For seven years ending in 2005, she helped organize and lead a coalition of churches and religious groups that worked to end a religious war against non-Muslims and dissident Muslims in southern Sudan. In 2014, she initiated and helped lead a coalition of hundreds of prominent American religious leaders to issue The Pledge of Solidarity for Persecuted Iraqi, Syrian and Egyptian Christians and Other Minorities, which was released by a bipartisan congressional panel on May 7, 2014. In summer 2014, she met with Pope Francis to discuss the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

At Hudson, she has organized conferences for Nigerian schoolgirls and others who survived Boko Haram attacks, Christian converts formerly imprisoned in Iran, Coptic bishops from Egypt, Catholic bishops from China and the Gulf, Muslim scholars, and many others. Ms. Shea advocates on behalf of a broad range of persecuted religious minorities around the world. For such work, she was honored by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA with the Community's inaugural "Ahmadiyya Muslim Humanitarian Award."

She has authored or edited four widely-acclaimed reports on Saudi state educational materials that promote extremist views and in 2011 had an opportunity to travel to Saudi Arabia and speak directly about her findings with the ministers of Education, Justice and Islamic Affairs. Her reports include: Ten Years On: Saudi Arabia's Textbooks Still Promote Religious Violence (2011), Update: Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance (2008), Saudi Arabia's Curriculum of Intolerance (2006), and Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Invade American Mosques (2005), all of which translated and analyzed Saudi governmental publications that teach hatred and violence against the religious "other."

She is the co-author of Silenced: How Apostasy & Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide, with a foreword by Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid, the former President of Indonesia and head of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world's largest Muslim organization (Oxford University Press, 2011). Her most recent book, which she also co-authored, is Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2013). She regularly presents testimony before Congress, delivers public lectures, organizes briefings and conferences, and writes frequently on religious freedom issues in leading publications. 

For the ten years prior to joining Hudson, Ms. Shea worked at Freedom House, where she directed the Center for Religious Freedom, an entity which she had helped found in 1986 as the Puebla Institute.

Ms. Shea is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia. She is a graduate of Smith College, and American University's Washington College of Law.

Events
17
August 2023
Past Event
The Chinese Communist Party’s Cognitive Warfare Campaign on American College Campuses
Featured Speakers:
Ian Oxnevad
Cynthia Sun
Nina Shea
.
17
August 2023
Past Event
The Chinese Communist Party’s Cognitive Warfare Campaign on American College Campuses
.
Featured Speakers:
Ian Oxnevad
Cynthia Sun
Nina Shea
20
July 2023
Past Event
China’s “Transnational Repression” against Americans’ First Amendment Freedoms
Featured Speakers:
Levi Browde
Ying Chen
Olivia Enos
Ian Oxnevad
Moderator:
Nina Shea
A Chinese flag hangs over a pedestrian in Hong Kong. (Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
20
July 2023
Past Event
China’s “Transnational Repression” against Americans’ First Amendment Freedoms

Join Hudson Center for Religious Freedom Director Nina Shea for a discussion on China’s transnational repression.

A Chinese flag hangs over a pedestrian in Hong Kong. (Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Featured Speakers:
Levi Browde
Ying Chen
Olivia Enos
Ian Oxnevad
Moderator:
Nina Shea
08
March 2023
Past Event
The Continued Fight for Religious Freedom in China
Featured Speakers:
Nina Shea
Jeremy Hunt
Uyghur rights activists stage a demonstration outside the Chinese embassy in London, England, on January 5, 2020. (David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
08
March 2023
Past Event
The Continued Fight for Religious Freedom in China

Please join Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Nina Shea and Media Fellow Jeremy Hunt as they discuss the implications of the CCP's atrocities against religious minorities.

Uyghur rights activists stage a demonstration outside the Chinese embassy in London, England, on January 5, 2020. (David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Featured Speakers:
Nina Shea
Jeremy Hunt
30
June 2022
Past Event
Virtual Event | China’s Forced Organ Harvesting Continues
Featured Speakers:
Dr. Jessica Russo
Nury Turkel
Nina Shea
Falun Gong protestor holding a placard that says 'stop organ harvesting in China,' during a demonstration in London, United Kingdom on August 28, 2021. (Getty Images)
30
June 2022
Past Event
Virtual Event | China’s Forced Organ Harvesting Continues

This event will premiere on this page at 10:00 a.m. EDT, Thursday, June 30. Register for the event here.

Falun Gong protestor holding a placard that says 'stop organ harvesting in China,' during a demonstration in London, United Kingdom on August 28, 2021. (Getty Images)
Featured Speakers:
Dr. Jessica Russo
Nury Turkel
Nina Shea