“Especially in light of recent world events, we must seek to interact with religion as a partner,
examining the positive and practical role it can play when various faith groups have the
opportunity to exercise their freedom responsibly,” says Chris Seiple, President of the Institute
for Global Engagement, a nonpartisan U.S.-based religious freedom NGO.

“Beginning the Conversation: Religion and the Rule of Law in Southeast Asia” is a
groundbreaking conference to be held from 8-9 September in Hanoi, Vietnam. The conference
will convene experts from within Southeast Asia and abroad, addressing comparative Southeast
Asian approaches to regulating religion through the rule of law. The event will be hosted by the
Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences and cosponsored by the Vietnam-USA Society (VUS),
the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), the International Center for Law and Religion Studies
at Brigham Young University, and the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory

This conference is the culmination of a July 2005 signed agreement between IGE and VUS to
deepen people-to-people diplomacy between the U.S. and Vietnam and promote sustainable
religious freedom in Vietnam. (More information about the results of this successful agreement
is available on IGE’s website.)

Top religion and legal scholars from twelve countries will be represented at the conference,
including Australia, China, Belgium, India, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Thailand,
the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.

This event will lay the groundwork for an annual conference series on religion and rule of law in
Southeast Asia that will deepen research and dialogue on the topic.