Kristina Arriaga

Distinguished Fellow
Mediterranean Basin, Middle East, and Gulf Initiative

Kristina Arriaga is a respected scholar and internationally recognized advocate for expressive rights. She has published dozens of editorials, op-eds, and book chapters on a wide range of topics related to this field. Her distinguished career includes heading a public interest law firm in the U.S. and being a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the U.S. delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Vice-Chair of the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom. Before joining USCIRF, Kristina was the executive director of Becket, a law firm that focuses on religious liberty cases. During her tenure, Becket won several landmark religious freedom cases, securing the rights of Native Americans to use eagle feathers in their powwows, persuading the US Army to let a decorated Sikh soldier serve with his articles of faith, and defending the rights of a small order of Catholic nuns who take care of the dying elderly poor. Prior to her time at Becket, Arriaga served on the US delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. She is a recognized expert on religious freedom and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN Espanol, C-Span, FOX, and NPR, among others. She is the 2017 recipient of the Newseum’s Freedom of Expression Award for her work in religious liberty. She earned an MA from Georgetown University.