The IRLA Board meets in October each year at the association headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Ambassador John R. Nay was invited to become President of the IRLA in October 2016 due both to his international experience and his interest in advancing the cause of religious liberty.
Formerly a career member of the United States Senior Foreign Service, Ambassador Nay was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July 2009 to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Suriname. During his service in Suriname (September 2009-September 2012), Ambassador Nay particularly emphasized the importance of human rights, freedom of the press, and the value of protecting our environmental heritage. Ambassador Nay particularly enjoyed interacting with Suriname’s diverse religious communities, which shared impressively good mutual relations. Another of his best memories of Suriname was when he and a press and Embassy team made four lengthy bicycle trips that traversed the entire width of Suriname and also went into the interior as far as the roads went. During their bicycle trips, Ambassador Nay and his fellow bikers enjoyed meeting with Surinamers and Peace Corps Volunteers across the country, while highlighting the beauty of nature, the importance of conservation and environmental preservation, and underlining the importance of fitness.
Prior to his service in Suriname, Ambassador Nay was the U.S. Consul General in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from 2006-2009, and served as Consul General in New Delhi, India from 1999-2002. He had earlier tours of duty in Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, and South Africa as well as in Washington working on issues relating to Africa, Southeast Asia, North Asia, and Oceania. In all he had assignments on four continents and served temporary assignments on two others.
During the course of his career he frequently wrote and edited religious freedom reports, human rights reports, and trafficking in persons reports, with the goal of helping people everywhere to enjoy freedom, human rights, and religious liberty.
Ambassador Nay retired from Foreign Service in 2013. He holds Masters Degrees from Andrews University and from the National Defense University, and is language qualified in Chinese (Mandarin). During his career he received three Superior Honor Awards and four Senior Performance Awards. A native of Michigan, he and his wife Judith Ashdon Nay, have three adult children and two grandchildren.
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Deputy Secretaries General
W. Cole Durham
Blasious M. Ruguri
Ted N C Wilson