From December 7-9, 2021, the Institute for Global Engagement conducted a “training of trainers” program on “Religion in Contemporary Society” for lecturers at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (NAP). The first-of-its-kind online training addressed building religious literacy and international standards of religious freedom protection. IGE partnered with the Vietnam-USA Society (VUS) at the Vietnam Union for Friendship Organizations, the NAP’s Institute of Religion and Belief, and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University Law School.

In addition to NAP lecturers, participants also included government officials overseeing religious affairs. Overall, there were over 200 participants, and they were able to hear from prominent experts on religion, religious freedom, and rule of law from Europe, the United States, and Vietnam. 

During the opening ceremony, VUS General Secretary Bui Van Nghi stated, “I believe and expect this training course to be a great opportunity for speakers and participants to discuss and analyze new issues, in theory and practice, of different countries' experiences in ensuring the right to freedom of religion and belief, handling religious conflicts and thereby, making appropriate assessments and policy recommendations to create a harmonious relationship between religion and social life; to promote goodwill & beauty; to strive for the goal of building a world of peace, friendship, prosperity, progress and further development.”

The training program was featured on NAP’s website as well as in Vietnam-USA magazine and Vietnam Times, the official publications of VUS and VUFO.

Since 2018, IGE, VUS, NAP, and ICLRS have conducted annual training courses on religion and the rule of law for government officials and faith leaders in Can Tho and Quy Nhon provinces. In spite of the pandemic, IGE and its partners were able to continue collaborating on notable projects including a Religion and Rule of Law conference at Vietnam National University Law School and the publication of several training materials on religion: a Vietnamese translation of Religion and Security: The New Nexus in International Relations; a unique graduate-level textbook on religious freedom and law; and, a bilingual four-volume compendium of articles from IGE’s journal, The Review of Faith & International Affairs, covering: 1) Religion and Human Security; 2) Religion and Security; 3) Religion and State Policy; and, 4) Religion and Sustainable Development.

Testimonial Video #1 – Tran Thi Thuy Van

“We hope that the Institute of Religion and Belief will organize more such trainings.” 

Testimonial Video #2 – Bui Van Nhi

“…through discussions and exchanges between scholars and professors from different localities throughout the country, I have been able to get a better understanding of both theoretical and practical issues related to religion in our country today.”

Testimonial Video #3 – Chi Tran