ARLINGTON, VA │ September 12, 2016 –

The Board of Directors of the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) today announced that John Gallagher has stepped down as President and CEO of IGE to pursue other professional opportunities. Under his leadership during the past 12 months, IGE deepened its partnerships around the world from China and Southeast Asia to Kurdistan and beyond, building on its 15 years of advancing religious freedom and the rule of law in complex contexts globally. IGE achieved notable milestones including co-convening the first-ever Coexistence, Stability, and Reconciliation conference with the Kurdistan Regional Government and leading high-level delegations to participate in multiple Sino-U.S. Counterterrorism Symposium events in China. John’s extensive expertise in the areas of national security and the role of religion in international affairs meant that he was a much sought-after spokesperson for IGE in policy, academia, and faith-based venues in the U.S. and abroad. The board has established a search committee to find John’s replacement, and will have further updates on the search process in the coming months.

In addition, the board announced that IGE’s Vice President for Programs, James Chen, will take on the role of Executive Director until a new president is named. James joined IGE in 2011, and has served as Vice President for Programs since 2013, overseeing all of IGE’s country programs, regional initiatives, as well as its Center for Women, Faith & Leadership. His work for IGE has taken him to critical places such as northern Iraq, Myanmar, China, Vietnam, and Kazakhstan. He holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and Security from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and has extensive experience and expertise in Asian security, politics, religion, and society. Click here for his detailed biography. Commenting on the changes, IGE Board Chair John Creswell remarked, “The Board is very grateful for John Gallagher’s contributions to IGE and we wish him well in the next stage of his career. We are thankful that he will continue to be a friend and partner to IGE in the future. And we are excited to have James Chen as IGE’s new Executive Director while we search for a new President. James brings a wealth of understanding and many years of experience interfacing with IGE’s partners around the world and successfully managing complex portfolios. IGE is in great hands with James.”

About IGE
The Institute for Global Engagement is a nonprofit “think-and-do tank” dedicated to building sustainable environments for religious freedom worldwide. Through local partnerships, IGE works to convene, connect, and build consensus among government officials and grassroots communities to ensure that all people — of any faith or no faith — have full freedom of conscience and can participate as equal citizens in public life. Since its founding in 2000 by Robert and Margaret Ann Seiple, IGE has been an innovative and expeditionary organization helping governments and civil societies around the world find pathways to constructive dialogue, rule of law, and equal citizenship anchored on religious freedom. IGE pursues its mission with a holistic and balanced approach, encouraging governments to protect religious freedom (top-down engagement) and equipping citizens to exercise that freedom responsibly (bottom-up engagement).