01: The fledgling Institute for Global Engagement represents an attempt to bring the growing concern over religious persecution and conflict into the world of scholarship.
The institute is the brainchild of Robert Seiple, a former U.S. State Department official who was in charge of implementing the International Religious Freedom Act, a bill to protect religious minorities against discrimination. Seiple, an evangelical Christian, resigned from the State Department last September to start the institute, which will be based at Eastern College near Philadelphia. The center will conduct research as well as train leaders of religious and other nongovernmental groups the skills necessary to mediate differences between different religious groups and believers.
Although most of the staff members are Christian, Seiple says the institute will focus on countries marginalizing the different faiths and will begin work by examining the situations in Vietnam, Laos, China and Uzbekistan.
(Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 20)