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Ambassador Seiple to Resign His Post
Robert Seiple, the American government's first ambassador for religious freedom, will leave his post in September.Seiple, former president of World Vision, was appointed by President Clinton in 1998 to promote religious freedom and reconciliation between parties in conflict along religious lines. Seiple will leave to set up a global think tank on religious freedom to be located at Eastern College near Philadelphia.Seiple's new Institute for Global Engagement will look at "the horrific identity conflicts" and how Christians may assist in reconciliation.Starting in the late 1990s, Congress and the Clinton administration moved to establish religious human rights as an official U.S. foreign policy concern, including creating the post of ambassador for religious freedom. Seiple's presence, and the annual State Department reports mandated by Congress, have brought new legitimacy to concerns about religious human rights."I don't think we could have found a better man for the post," says Rich Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals.Seiple tells Christianity Today that his reconciliation projects in Kosovo, Lebanon, Indonesia, and the United States are still in the beginning stages and "will take a lot of time.""Reconciliation ain't for sissies. When we first went into Bosnia in 1996, you could not even use the word reconciliation. But we found points of commonality."