On September 13th, Dr. Katayoun Kishi, Research Associate at Pew Research Center, presented her findings from the ninth in a series of reports by Pew Research Center analyzing the extent to which governments and societies around the world impinge on religious beliefs and practices. To measure global restrictions on religion in 2016 – the most recent year for which data are available – the study, released in June 2018, ranks 198 countries and territories by their levels of government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion.


Katayoun Mirfendereski Kishi is a research associate at Pew Research Center. She oversees the Center’s annual study on global restrictions on religion. Her previous work has included research on topics such as identity politics and religion, international conflict, survey research, and food security. Before joining Pew Research Center, Kishi held positions at the United States Institute of Peace and the office of the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. She earned a doctorate in government and politics, with a concentration in comparative politics and quantitative methodology, from the University of Maryland.


Kristen Looney is director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute. Kristen works closely with the President of the Freedom Forum Institute to full the mission of the center and to oversee the day-to-day operations of the following four program areas: Educating Leaders, Promoting Civil Dialogue, Engaging the Public, and Transforming Schools. From 2012 to 2016, Kristen was the head of programs and partnerships for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in the United States. Previously, Kristen served as chaplain and department chair of religious studies at St. Paul’s School for Girls in Baltimore, Maryland and St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson, Maryland. Prior, Kristen served as clergy in parishes in Florida, California, and New York. Kristen is an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Maryland. She is an awarded graduate of Yale Divinity School (M.Div.).