The rules and procedures pertaining to membership in the IARF are laid out in its Constitution and the Policy on Membership. Other important documents for prospective members are the Statement of Purpose and the Policy on Religious Freedom. The most important information about membership is summarized below.
Organisations can submit the membership application form here.
Individuals can submit the membership application form here.
Chapters can submit the membership application form here.
Table of Contents
Types of Membership
The International Association for Religious Freedom provides several ways for entities and individuals to become involved, each offering unique benefits and responsibilities. Organizations can join as Member Organizations, making contributions to the Association’s mission while enjoying voting rights and opportunities to influence the Association’s strategy. For individuals, membership can be achieved by joining regional chapters or applying as individual members. Chapters are regional groups within the Association, serving as an important platform for individuals to participate in and influence Association policies at a local level. Individual membership is for those unable to or preferring not to join a Chapter, but who still want to contribute to the Association’s work. Each of these types of membership offers a meaningful way to engage in promoting religious freedom and interfaith dialogue around the world.
Membership for Organisations
Membership in the International Association for Religious Freedom offers organizations the opportunity to join a global community dedicated to promoting religious freedom, human rights, and interfaith dialogue. As a voting member, organizations have the power to shape the Association’s work and contribute to its mission. By becoming a member of the International Association for Religious Freedom, organizations can actively contribute to the promotion of religious freedom and interfaith understanding on a global scale. Together, we can work towards a world where everyone can freely practice and explore their religious beliefs.
Member Organizations are non-governmental organizations, including faith communities, associations, foundations, and educational institutions, whose goals align with those of the Association. To be eligible for membership, organizations must operate based on a publicly available document that they consider binding, such as a statute, constitution, or mission statement. They must also uphold human rights, including freedom of religion and belief, and support interfaith and intercultural dialogue.
The Application Process
The application process for membership involves submitting an application form, which is available on our website. Once received, the application is reviewed and we may request additional information if necessary. The International Council deliberates on the application and may seek further clarification or schedule an interview with a representative of the organization. A resolution is then passed to either accept or deny the application, with reasons provided for denial.
The Rights of Members
As voting members, organizations have certain rights within the Association. These rights include the ability to vote at General Meetings, propose candidates for offices, call extraordinary General Meetings, and request information from and communicate with Association officers and employees. They also have the right to be informed about the Association’s work, strategy, and financial situation. International Council Meetings are open to all Members, although the number of observers may be limited due to practical considerations.
The Obligations of Members
While exercising their rights, Members also have certain obligations. Members are expected to refrain from actions that violate the principles and values of the Association, actively support the Association’s mission, and contribute financially. The Association does not set a fixed membership fee, but rather establishes a minimum fee determined by the Trustees. Members are encouraged to consider increasing their annual contributions beyond the minimums. In exceptional cases, the International Council may waive or accept lower contributions than the established minimums.
Termination of Membership
Membership may be terminated if a Member Organization ceases to exist or upon a resolution passed by the International Council. Severe violations, such as intentional disregard for Association values or failure to contribute financially for two consecutive years without a waiver, may result in termination.
Chapters within the International Association for Religious Freedom serve as the primary framework for individual membership and engagement. Formed by a group of at least 25 adult individuals who share a common goal of advancing the Association’s work in a specific region, Chapters offer individuals the opportunity to actively participate and influence the Association’s policies. By joining a Chapter, individuals can actively engage with like-minded individuals in their region, contribute to the Association’s work, and promote religious freedom and interfaith dialogue at a local level.
While incorporation is not required for a Chapter, it is encouraged. Each Chapter must operate under a publicly available constitution, produce annual financial reports, and adhere to democratic governance principles. The area of operation for a Chapter is typically a state, with the general rule being that only one Chapter may be established in a given state. However, in exceptional circumstances, the International Council may allow multiple Chapters within a state after careful examination of the presented case and consultation with existing Chapters. Special care is taken to resolve any conflicts that may arise in such situations.
Establishing a Chapter
To establish a Chapter, a representative of the founding members must submit the Chapter application form, which is available on our website. The application should include the required number of signatures from individuals and a draft of the Chapter’s constitution. The Administrator is available to assist prospective Chapters in meeting these requirements.
Once the application is received, it goes through a similar review process as Member Organization applications. The Administrator reviews the application, may request additional information if necessary, and presents the application to the International Council. The Council, through digital means of communication, deliberates on the application and may seek further clarification, schedule an interview with a representative group, or appoint a committee to examine the case and provide a recommendation. A resolution is then passed to either accept or deny the application, with reasons provided for denial.
Rights and Obligations of Chapters
As Chapters, individuals within these groups have certain rights within the Association. These rights include the ability to vote at General Meetings, propose candidates for offices, call extraordinary General Meetings, and request information from and communicate with Association officers and employees. Chapters serve as a vital voice within the Association’s decision-making processes.
While exercising their rights, Chapters also have certain obligations. They are expected to align their actions and statements with the principles and values upheld by the Association. Additionally, they are encouraged to actively support the Association’s mission and contribute financially, with the minimum annual contribution determined by the Trustees and reviewed regularly.
Membership of a Chapter may be terminated if the Chapter ceases to exist or upon a resolution passed by the International Council. Severe violations, such as intentional disregard for Association values, may also result in termination.
Individual membership within the Association offers individuals the opportunity to support and actively engage with the organization, its mission, and values. While the primary framework for individual membership lies within the Chapters, there are provisions for those who may not be able or willing to join a Chapter but still desire to support the Association and demonstrate their connection to its mission and values.
To become an individual member, one must submit the individual membership application form. The completed form is then received and reviewed and approved by the International Council.
Individual members are expected to contribute financially to the organization. The minimal annual contribution is determined by the resolution on membership fees adopted by the International Council. However, the Council has the authority to relieve an individual from this financial obligation for a given year.
Individual membership allows individuals to remain engaged with the work of the Association and participate in its various programs and initiatives. While individual members do not have voting rights like those within Chapters, they can still make an impact by supporting the Association’s mission and values.
By becoming an individual member of the International Association for Religious Freedom, individuals can actively contribute to the promotion of religious freedom, human rights, and interfaith dialogue.