Religious freedom and the rule of law are emerging as forefront issues in Chinese society, but there is a significant lack of expertise within China on the issue. To remedy this shortfall, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) and the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), working over the past two years with respected Chinese partners, have organized unprecedented advanced training seminars and conferences on religion and the rule of law at Peking University. These pilot initiatives reached professors, graduate students, judges, and officials from many parts of China. This in turn helped establish the beginnings of an infrastructure of Chinese expertise and specialized knowledge that is vital for sustaining the current budding of religious freedom in China. Building on this proven track record, we propose a three-year project that will continue the certificate training program and expand it to include mentoring of the most promising trainees through in-country and exchange programs, translation of key law and religion texts, and other activities to bring experts and policy makers together on these issues. Conferences with a comparative law emphasis will be organized to connect the training program’s world-class religious freedom faculty with senior experts in China dealing with religion policy. The activities of this project will help cultivate the intellectual infrastructure needed as a precursor to religious freedom reform. The network of law and religion experts fostered through this project will help assure enduring impacts on religious freedom in China. This proposal will function as a continuation of IGE’s pending fast-track proposal for a “2012 Religion and Rule of Law Certificate Program” (Templeton ID 36504). As co-investigators on these projects, ICLRS and IGE have agreed that IGE will manage the 2012 program, and ICLRS will manage the enhanced full three-year program beginning in 2013 that is the subject of this proposal.
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