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|The signing ceremony of MOU between IGU and VUS|
Since the start of cooperation, IGE and VUS have organized many exchange programs for groups of scholars and religious dignitaries to discuss the situation of religious freedom in Vietnam and the United States, as well as experience on religious cooperation. Thereby, information on the situation of religious freedom in Vietnam and the US has been more widely disseminated. IGE has also repeatedly participated in the US congressional hearing, helping American politics better understand religious policy in Vietnam.
In 2006, IGE and VUS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). In 2012, the two sides signed a new MOU for the period of 2012-2017. And most recently, in December 2017, in Washington, DC, IGE and VUS signed an MOU for the period of 2017-2022.
On June 28, 2010, IGE President Chris Seiple had a visit to Gia Lai to study religious situation there. In Gia Lai, there are four active religions: Christianity, Protestantism, Buddhism and Caodaism with a total of 236,000 followers, accounting for 22% of the provincial population.
During the trip, Mr. Chris Seiple visited the 1961-built Phu Tho church (An Phu commune, Pleiku city) – the home of some 4,000 parishioners, most of whom are ethnic minorities. At this time, Mr. Chris Seiple said that this was new information about the religious situation in the Central Highlands in general and Gia Lai in particular, but international organizations and the international community had not known yet.
IGE in collaboration with the Vietnam-US Society, the Institute for Religious Study under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hanoi National University organize and sponsor many international seminars on religion, rule of law, and organize short-term training courses on religion and rule of law.
IGE's activities aim to encourage a stable environment of religious freedom worldwide. IGE has built relationships with Vietnam for nearly 20 years, along with VUS to conduct different dialogues and cooperation activities to help the world public opinion and the American public better understand the religious situation in Vietnam. Currently, VUFO still maintains a good dialogue channel on human rights to enhance the understanding of sensitive issues such as democracy and religious freedom, thereby affecting the world public and the American politicians.
Translated by Ha Thuong