Washington, DC – (January 14, 2014) – The Bishkek conference, held in partnership with the Carnegie Endowment’s Al-Farabi Central Asia Program, will feature participants from across the Central Asian region and build upon the results and outputs from IGE’s previous conferences held in Astana, Kazakhstan (May 2013) and Almaty, Kazakhstan (December 2013). Participants from the Astana conference identified three themes related to “Religion, Security, and Citizenship” that require further study and research: 1. Religion and Identity; 2. Religion and Education; and, 3. Religion and Gender. Working groups formed around these three themes will develop a research plan and begin work during this Bishkek conference that will result in white papers.

The Kathmandu conference is held in partnership with the Institute for Ethnic Minority Groups (IEMG), a Beijing-based government think tank, and the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, a think tank based in Islamabad. This conference will focus on two broad themes: 1. The effects and influence of the Arab Spring on the Middle East region and the world, and 2. Education and extremism: The role of religious and secular education in countering violent extremism. For the Chinese, this conference provides a neutral venue to freely discuss sensitive issues related to religion, education, security, and citizenship, particularly in the context of Muslim communities. This conference will feature IGE’s network of “alumni” who have participated in previous conferences in China (July 2011), Myanmar (October 2013), and Kazakhstan (December 2013). This network is made up of scholars and experts from Central, South, and Southeast Asia who are able to provide comparative perspectives on key issues related to religion, security, and citizenship.

A concluding conference will be held in Singapore in December 2014 which will tie all of the work and themes of the previous conferences together and seek to produce a model syllabi and framework for training on the issues explored by the conferences.

About the Institute for Global Engagement – The Institute for Global Engagement works at the critical intersection of religion and global affairs, building sustainable environments for religious freedom worldwide. Through local partnerships, IGE works transparently to convene, connect, and build consensus among government, religious leaders, and scholars to ensure that all people, of any religion or no religion, have full freedom of conscience and can participate as equal citizens in public life. To learn more about IGE or our various overseas programs, please contact James Chen at jchen@globalengage.org.