There is a rising tide of religious persecution and conflict around the world. The troubling headlines that greet us every day can seem overwhelming. But at the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) we believe there is reason for hope. The innovative programs that IGE has developed are a proven way forward. We reach out to victimized communities and their governments, sowing seeds of healing, reconciliation, and religious freedom where they are desperately needed.
IGE was founded in 2000 by Bob and Margaret Ann Seiple. As America’s first-ever Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Bob was increasingly concerned that religious freedom was something everyone talked about but no one knew how to achieve. They founded IGE to bring hope to vulnerable people of faith through initiatives that pave the way to a freer and safer world.
IGE’s comprehensive approach involves ministering to immediate needs while working behind the scenes – in the halls of power as well as among the people – to advance conflict resolution and religious liberty over the long term. This comprehensive approach sets IGE apart from the competition. More specifically, this involves:
- Tending to those in critical need, including trauma-healing therapy, food, hygiene products, heating, and more;
- Reaching out to key governments, showing them that religious suppression fuels radicalism while religious freedom promotes stability and harmony;
- Encouraging individual and local communities to exercise their liberty constructively, in accordance with the law and for the rights and well-being of others; Influencing law and policy worldwide through meetings with and resources for policymakers in the U.S. and beyond.
IGE creates partnerships and agreements between government entities and religious communities that promote conflict resolution and religious freedom. We call this relational diplomacy.
IGE is a Christian organization and views its work as a faithful response to the biblical mandate to love our global neighbors as ourselves – and to serve as ambassadors of hope worldwide. In our relational diplomacy, IGE staff are guided by these 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.