In 2015-2016 an international essay contest on "Religious Freedom in Southeast Asia and the West" was jointly organized by the Institute for Global Engagement and the Leimena Institute, and supported by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The contest was open to any citizen of a Southeast Asian country, and the deadline for receiving submissions was July 1, 2016. Twenty-nine entries were received, and each was carefully evaluated by a panel of five judges: Jakob Tobing (Leimena Institute), Eugene Tan (Singapore Management University), Paul Marshall (Leimena Institute and Hudson Institute), Robert Joustra (Redeemer University College), and Dennis Hoover (Institute for Global Engagement). First-place essays will be published in a future issue of IGE's The Review of Faith & International Affairs.
The judges have now completed their work and we are pleased to announce the winners:
- First Place ($2,500): “The Role of Religious Education in Promoting Religious Freedom,” by Jeniffer Pelupessy-Wowor (Duta Wacana Christian University)
- Runner-up ($1,500): “Freedom of Religion in the Midst of Indonesia’s Plural Society,” by Hamid Chalid (Universitas Indonesia)
- First Place ($1,000): “Many Identities, Many Communities: Religious Freedom amidst Religious Diversity in Southeast Asia,” Veronica Louise B. Jereza (University of the Philippines College of Law)
- Runner-up ($500): “Cuius Regio, Euis Religio: Church-State Dynamics and Implications on Religiosity, Representation, and Religious Freedom in Spain and the Philippines,” by Ma. Ana Isabel Udal Perucho (Yale-NUS College)
The panel of judges was particularly encouraged by the level of student interest in the contest, and gave four additional student essays an “Honorable Mention” designation:
- “The Relative Impermeability of the Wall of Separation,” by Raphael Lorenzo A. Pangalangan (University of the Philippines College of Law)
- “When Liberal Democracies Threaten Religious Freedom,” by Brian Doce (Jilin University)
- “All Religions are Equal, but Some are More Equal Than Others: A Study of Religious Freedom in Southeast Asia and the USA,” by Kara Quek (Singapore Management University)
- “The Impact of Religious Freedom in American and Philippine Society,” by Mar Louie Vincent C. Reyes (University of San Carlos)
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