IGE believes firmly in universal human dignity and is committed to the protection of all faiths through the rule of law. IGE pursues this mission with a balanced approach, encouraging governments to protect religious freedom (top-down engagement) and equipping citizens to exercise that freedom responsibly (bottom-up engagement).
IGE's religious freedom programs are rooted in long-term relationships and practical agreements with government officials, policymakers, and faith communities in the United States and in each of the countries where we work. For example, we currently have signed agreements with local partners in Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. These agreements create mechanisms for respectful and open dialogue about the proper role of religion in each of these societies, as well as practical projects that promote respect and reconciliation.
Our engagement strategy is both innovative and singular. First and foremost, we promote religious freedom as a core value, and not simply as a subset of a country's many human rights obligations. This is a product of our conviction that freedom of belief is truly a foundational right. Second, operationally, we work closely with governments and influential scholars to advance the view that religious freedom—properly implemented—can be a critical component of social and political stability. Effective and sensitive management of religious activity by states can serve as an antidote against some forms of religious extremism, and can help governments to build bridges with disaffected minority communities.
Respect. Reconciliation. Religious Freedom. This is our work and our calling.