In May, IGE’s Laos program in partnership with the Lao Front for National Construction, conducted two seminars in the Muen district, Vientiane province (3-4 May) and in the Paek district, Xieng Khouang province (23-25 May). Together, these seminars trained a total of 115 government officials and religious leaders.

The religious freedom seminar in the in the Muen district, Vientiane province (3-4 May) trained 60 people on the religious law and decrees in Laos. This seminar emphasized religious legislation, interpretation of the Lao Central government’s religious freedom policies, and Decree 92/ PM (the official Prime Ministerial Decree No 92 (5 July 2002) on the “Administration and Protection of Religious Activities in Lao PDR.”). 13 local Buddhist, Protestant, and Seventh Day Adventist religious leaders attended this seminar. Notably, 89 percent of the participants said that this was the first time they attended a seminar to learn about the religious policies and law of the Lao government.

The seminar in the Paek district, Xieng Khouang province trained 55 people on peace-building and conflict resolution skills. During the seminar, participants engaged in peace-building workshops and learned about the meaning of conflict, peacemaking, and justice. Participants also learned how to improve their skills in communication, negotiation, and mediation. 8 local Protestant and Buddhist religious leaders also received training during this seminar.

In addition, Dr. Stephen Bailey is preparing for his next trip to Laos from 27 June – 15 July. Dr. Bailey will be traveling to Laos to meet with government and religious leaders in Laos and evaluate the religious situation in Laos and the impact of IGE’s religious freedom seminars.