June 2008 – Geneva
As a result of the generous support by the Noot family, the Gerard Noodt Foundation for Religious Freedom has been established in the Netherlands. It will assist with a number of important initiatives, including continuing sponsorship of the Strasbourg Consortium, an important initiative of the Center. The representatives of the Noot family made a presentation to the participants in the Strasbourg Conference Consortium in Geneva, Switzerland held in June 2008. This initiative was conceived by the desire of David Christensen, the Executive Secretary to the International Advisory Council of the Center and long-time support. David is related to the Noot family and has joined together with Sir Ari Noot, Hans Noot and Ari Noot, Jr., to create a foundation to honor the important contributions to religious freedom by their ancestor, Gerard Noodt (1647-1725). Gerard Noodt was a distinguished professor at the university of Leiden in the Netherlands during the late 17th, early 18th century. During his tenure, Professor Noodt gave an important address on the subject of religious freedom and tolerance that was widely published throughout Europe in many languages, and was considered influential to the progressive thinkers of his era, including John Locke. This progressive spirit towards religious freedom in turn had an important impact in the founding of the United States and the first amendment to the Constitution. It is interesting to note that Leiden was the city that gave refuge to the Pilgrims after their persecution in England prior to their departure to the New World. The Center is deeply grateful for the Noot family in establishing this foundation and looks forward to continuing to work together to promote religious freedom in Europe and throughout the world.