Over the past 12 years, IGE has worked to build bridges between Vietnamese government officials and religious leaders at the national, provincial, and local levels. IGE’s unique training programs and conferences have created a safe space for candid political discussion. Over 4,200 government officials, faith leaders, and scholars have participated in these efforts to reform policy and legislation in order to improve religious freedom. IGE has facilitated 60 reciprocal visits between the U.S. and Vietnam to conduct trainings and exchanges over religious freedom. Due in part to such programming, there is now a better understanding of the relationship between religion and good governance in Vietnam.
While programs run throughout the year, IGE always looks forward to the fall trip where partnerships are deepened and relationships renewed. IGE’s upcoming trip will take place from October 19-25 and include the following activities:
- Sign a Memorandum of Understanding with our Vietnamese government partner that will lay out a road map for joint religious freedom programs at the local, national and international levels for the next five years;
- Continue conversations and trainings pursuant positive implementation of Vietnam’s new Law on Religion and Belief that will go into effect January 2018;
- Visit various faith-based organizations and religious communities; and,
- Speak about the role of the church in poverty alleviation and economic development at the “Religion, Economy, Law and ASEAN Community” conference.
For real-time updates from Vietnam, be sure to connect with IGE’s Facebook page where Executive Director James Chen will provide on-the-ground reports during his trip.