IGE HELPS FAITH COMMUNITIES LIVE OUT THE GOSPEL IN THEIR EVERY DAY LIVES
In December 2019, IGE held a religious freedom training program for Kachin church leaders in Myanmar. For decades, the Kachin people have been brutalized by the Burmese military, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes. Kachin churches have also been the target of harassment, interference, and attacks by both the military and government. IGE’s training provided a rare opportunity for Kachin church leaders to learn from international legal experts and religious freedom practitioners and receive equipping in knowledge and tools for effectively engaging governing authorities and building alliances. Some training participants traveled for up to three days from remote areas of the country just to attend. IGE’s partner, the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), has shared that the training has equipped their pastors to lead their congregations and communities to stand up for their rights in the face of oppression and injustice. The KBC has asked IGE to hold more trainings because of how important they see it to the future of their people.
Religion & Rule of Law Training for Kachin Church Leaders
“I hope we can educate more leaders in our organization with the same kind of training we received here. Thank you, the faculty, for traveling all the way and give us time for this training at this busy time of the year. We are also very happy to have our fellow pastors living in very remote and far away places such as Chi Hpwi, Nog Mung, Putao, Sumpra Bum, and Tachileik with us for the training. Some of them have to travel about three days to get to Mandalay from their areas. It is wonderful to see their interest and commitment for this training. They all are very much interested in this topic.”
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Following our Religion & Rule of Law program, local partners expressed their happiness with the feedback from the participants and shared how impressed they were by the international professors. Some people who had doubts leading up to our conference–for fear of an international organization taking advantages of them–began to open their hearts as they experienced how our program was designed based off of their advice and detailed requests, not telling them what to do. The local partners were impressed with IGE’s approach and international experts’ expertise and dedication.
At the invitation of religious groups in Myanmar, IGE started its work there in 2012, just as the country’s political transition was taking place. Since then, IGE has held a series of groundbreaking conferences and training programs that have highlighted challenges and opportunities in Myanmar’s governance, rule of law, and relations between the country’s diverse religious and ethnic communities.
In 2015 and 2017 respectively, IGE held two “Religion & Rule of Law” training programs. The programs were carefully designed with input from both international and Myanmar experts to explore the building blocks of good governance and sustainable peace in a multifaith and multiethnic context. The programs also equipped participants with critical knowledge of global comparative approaches to religious freedom and rule of law. In 2019, IGE held the third "Religion & Rule of Law" training program in Myammar. The 2019 program provided a rare opportunity for Kachin church leaders to learn from international legal experts and religious freedom practitioners and receive equipping in knowledge and tools for effectively engaging governing authorities and building multi-faith alliances.