17-27 July 2011, Beijing, P.R.C.

IGE partnered with the Institute for Ethnic Minority Groups (IEMG), a think tank under China’s State Council, to co-sponsor a 20-21 July 2011 “Religion & Security” forum that focused on education and social development in Central, South, and Southeast Asia. The conference examined two key questions: 1) What is the impact of education in helping or hindering social development? and, 2) What is the impact of religion and civic education in helping or hindering the development of religious extremism? This conference was based on IGE’s previous partnership with IEMG in western China, and in accordance with its September 2010 Memorandum of Understanding with IEMG. Please click here for a brief report of this signing.

An international and interdisciplinary collection of scholars and practitioners, among whom were government and non-government leaders, presented thought-provoking perspectives. Besides presentations from the Chinese government and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, there were also representatives from Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Singapore, the Philippines, and the United States (including Vanderbilt University’s Stephen Heyneman, Boston University’s Robert Hefner, and Pomona College’s Tahir Andrabi). Next steps include regional workshops that will examine the above two questions according to the local context.

IGE also attended an off-the-record IEMG seminar on inclusive development on the Tibetan Plateau, 25-26 July 2011. Participants included a range of Tibetan and Chinese thought leaders. The fourth such meeting that IGE has participated in, this seminar will continue next year.

Finally, IGE’s president, Dr. Chris Seiple, gave a 19 July 2011 lecture at Peking University, whose Center for Constitutional and Administrative Law partnered with Beijing’s Pu Shi Institute for Social Science to deliver their second “Religion & Rule of Law” Certificate Program. Dr. Seiple spoke on “Civility & Stability: God, Globalization, and Greatness,” arguing that the key to a society’s greatness—and its stability—is how it engages and enables its ethno-religious minorities as equal citizens in a manner consistent with the civility required of faith and culture. Also presenting at this program, among several Chinese luminaries, was Brigham Young University’s W. Cole Durham and Brett G. Scharffs, Columbia University’s Kent Greenawalt, Emory University’s Johan van der Vyver, Belgian Senator Rik Torfs, the Pew Forum’s Brian Grim, Valpariso University’s Zachary R. Calo, and former Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit, Clifford Wallace.

Dr. Seiple was accompanied by IGE’s long-serving East Asia Program Officer, Jared Daugherty, who will begin his Ph.D. candidacy at Duke University in August. Also joining the IGE delegation were his successors, Mr. James Chen and Dr. Elisa Jiexia Zhai, both of whom are fluent in Mandarin.