In 2000, Bob and Margaret Ann Seiple—known as the "godparents" at IGE—felt called as Christians to steward a lifetime of experiences and relationships from all over the world. This feeling took particular form through their experience with the State Department, where Bob served as the first-ever U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom from 1998 to 2000. The Seiples were concerned that religious freedom was something everyone talked about but no one really knew how to operationalize, and that Christians were too often part of the problem. They founded IGE to address these issues, making Christ visible and Christians relevant as a result.
IGE’s three centers catalyze thought and action, promoting a practical and sustainable religious freedom that serves state and society worldwide.
The Center for Relational Diplomacy
Under the direction of IGE President, Dr. Chris Seiple, the Center for Relational Diplomacy (CRD) works in Central, South, and East Asia, as well as Africa and the Middle East. IGE's relational diplomacy is grounded in a commitment to first study, listen to, and understand the local context and then engage it. It seeks to create partnerships and practical agreements between governmental and religious communities that promote a culturally owned and legally protected religious freedom which contributes to social and political stability.
The Center on Faith & International Affairs
Under the direction of IGE Vice President for Research and Publications, Dr. Dennis R. Hoover, the Center on Faith & International Affairs (CFIA) equips scholars and practitioners of international affairs with the tools necessary to understand religion's impact on the world today. The Center publishes a groundbreaking quarterly journal, The Review of Faith & International Affairs, plus books, monographs, policy papers, and online resources. CFIA also sponsors scholarly and policy-focused conferences, lectures, research projects, and fellowships.
The Center for Global Education
Under the direction of IGE President, Dr. Chris Seiple, The Center for Global Education (CGE) prepares current and emerging leaders to engage global affairs in ways that promote sustainable environments for religious freedom. Currently CGE's signature program is its ongoing series of Global Leadership Forums. CGE also provides unique resources such as its online collection of syllabi.
Principles of Engagement
1. Know your maker—seek to understand God's heart and make God's passions yours. Know your faith at its deepest and richest best, and enough about your neighbor's faith in order to respect it.
2. Sense God's timing. Practice patience. Be brave enough to engage without excuse, strong enough to refuse recklessness.
3. Understand your strengths—and weaknesses—and how they impact your relationships. Do no harm.
4. Cultivate the characteristics of the Biblical metaphors for Global Engagement: the street-wise common sense of the snake, the gentle humility of the dove, the wise statesmanship of the ambassador.
5. Pray for the full armor of God. Be transparent, predictable, accountable, and responsible. Make hope tangible in the present. Take no credit. Give away learnings. Act incarnationally and establish the worth of the Gospel so that the truth might be revealed.
Know His World
6. This is God's world. God is deeply in love with it. We "plant and water," God brings the increase. We "prepare the horse for battle; but victory rests with the Lord." Let God keep score.
7. Know history—political and cultural, yours and theirs. Know all of the questions, not just some of the answers. Understand geo-political complexity and local nuance. But realize that God is already there ... recognize that the adjective "intractable" is an insult to a sovereign Lord.
8. Pray over the land. Pray for discernment to take place, for wisdom to reveal itself. Pray with intentionality. Pray specifically for key individuals involved.
9. Find partners. Who has been trustworthy, credible, persevering, and relevant? Build relationships that endure. "Whoever is not against us is for us." Remember, the Commandment to love was given before the Commission to go.
10. Act comprehensively. What is the art of the possible? Put yourself in everybody else's shoes . Develop a policy and a supporting strategy around objectives formed in faith. Continuously reassess both policy and concomitant strategy.
11. And remember: global engagement has a face. A difference is made, a plan is enacted, a transformation takes place one life at a time ... a life already made in the image of God.