IGE’s Vice President of Global Operations James Chen and Myanmar Program Officer Seng Mai Aung gave presentations at the Taiwan International Religious Freedom Forum from May 30-June 1 in Hsinchu, Taiwan. James Chen spoke on a panel on “Persecution against Christian Communities”, focusing on the Middle East region. Seng Mai Aung led a workshop on “Religious Freedom in Southeast Asia” and spoke about the situation in Myanmar. Participants came from 23 different countries with many from persecuted communities including Uyghurs, Rohynga, and Tibetans. The forum was organized by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, China Aid Association, Heritage Foundation, and the Taiwan Association for Human Rights in China. Both Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President Chen Chien-jen delivered keynote addresses.

The Taiwan International Religious Freedom Forum follows on the heels of the “Regional Religious Freedom Forum” held in March in Taipei. The earlier forum was co-convened by the Taiwanese and American governments while the latter was organized and sponsored entirely by civil society organizations in Taiwan and the U.S. The two events represent new momentum from both the Taiwan and U.S. governments for partnering with innovative and influential organizations working to promote religious freedom such as IGE.

Myanmar Program Officer Seng Mai Aunt leads a workshop, “Religious Freedom in Southeast Asia” and that Taiwan International Religious Freedom Forum. She facilitated a vigorous discussion and led the group in developing policy recommendations for the region. Workshop participants consisted of civil society leaders and advocates working in countries all throughout SE Asia including Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malyasia.