Updated 2017-11-17 06:17:21

 (From Columbia, Missouri, 5th November, 2017 – Reported by Nguyen Tan Khoa – Translated into English by Nguyen Tuan Em)
Reverend Thuong Canh Thanh (his secular name’s Tran Quang Canh), President of Cao Dai Overseas Missionary, accompanied by a Caodai Follower Nguyen Tan Khoa from New Orleans, Louisiana, visited the University of Missouri in Columbia City in the State of Missouri to make presentation on Cao Dai Religion to students of the Department of Religious Studies from November 1st, 2017 to November 3rd, 2017.
The University of Missouri (also known as MU or Mizzou) is a public university established in 1839. This University has 20 Academic Colleges offering 300 different degree programs. The University has around 24 thousand students enrolling in its various undergraduate programs and about seven thousand students doing their postgraduate degrees. This University is well-know for its two fields : School of Journalism and Faculty of Medicine.
The main purpose of the visit, which is hosted by the Department of Religious Studies, was to broaden the students’ knowledge on new Asian religions. The event was co-organized by the 3 organizations :
  • The Vietnam Institute (Dr. Joe Hobbs, Director)
  • The Asian Affairs Center (Dr. Sang Kim, Director)
  • The Department of Religious Studies (Dr. Signe Cohen, Dean)
Dr. Joe Hobbs, Dr. Sang Kim and Dr. Signe Cohen were friends of  Reverend Canh since 2012 when Reverend Canh (who was a Deacon at the time) made a similar presentation on Cao Dai at this University (For more information about this 2012’s presentation, please visit this link:
Now after five years, Reverend Canh Tran returned, but this time invited two other religious organizations to join him at the event at Missouri University:
  1. CESNUR or Center for Studies on New Religions from Italy. Prof. Massimo Introvigne, Chairman of CESNUR and Prof. Rosita Soryte from Lithuania came along.
  2. Daesoon Jinrihoe, a new Asian religion from Korea. Daesoon Jinrihoe has a University called Daejin University, located in Pocheon City, Gyeonggi province of South Korea. The Korean delegation was composed of:
a.  Lee Tae-Yeol, member of the University Board of Directors and Dean of the Department of Religious Studies and Development.
b.  Lee Gyung Won, Professor at Daejin University and Member of the Korean Academy of Sciences.
c.  Cha Ikje, also called Jay Cha, Director of International Affairs Department, Daejin University.
c.  Kim Dong Hwan, staff at the Department of International Affairs
The activities schedule for the delegation (Cao Dai, Cesnur and Daesoon Jinrihoe) at the University was as follows :
Wednesday November 1st, 2017
9:00 am – Meeting with Dr. Joe Hobbs, Director of the Vietnam Institute and Dr. Sang Kim, Director of the Asian Affairs Center. Prof. Mike Alden, Prof. William Meyers and Prof. Jerry Nelson also joined the meeting. Dr. Joe Hobbs and Dr. Sang Kim explained about the mission and activities of the Vietnam Institute and the Asian Affairs Center.
10:30 am – Meeting with Dr. Signe Cohen, Dean of the Department of Religious Studies, and Prof. Kate Kelley, Dennis Kelley and Dan Cohen. Reverend Canh Tran presented some books in English on Cao Dai Religion to Dr. Signe Cohen. Dr. Lee Tae-Yeol from Daejin University also presented a souvenir lacquered plaque from Daesoon Jinrihoe religion.
1:00 – 2:00 pm – Presentation on Cao Dai Religion by Rev. Canh Tran, followed with a video about Tay Ninh Cao Dai Holy See and some religious activities. Approximately 130 students from the Department of Religious Studies were in attendance. Some participants were surprised to learn that there was a new and young religion in Vietnam and expressed their desire to further study it.
2:30 – 4:00 pm – Dr. Massimo Introvigne and  Rosita Soryte gave presentation on the mission and activities of CESNUR to fifteen professors and staff of the Department of Religious Studies, the Vietnam Institute and Asian Affairs Center.
7:00 pm – Dinner hosted by Dr. Signe Cohen, Dean of the Department of Religious Studies.
Thursday November 2nd, 2017
10:00 – 12:00 am – The delegation took a guided tour of the University Campus, the Library building and the Student Affairs Center.
12:00 noon – Lunch hosted by  Dr. Sang Kim, Director of Asian Affairs Center
1:30 – 5:00 pm – Guided tour around Columbia City, visiting the Winston Churchill Museum and the Amish villages of Missouri (in which local villagers live a traditional lifestyle without car or electricity.)
Friday November 3rd, 2017
1:00 – 2:00 pm – Prof. Lee Gyung Won made a presentation on Daesoon Jinrihoe Religion. About  100 students from the Department of Religious Studies were in attendance..
3:00 – 4:00 pm – A special seminar entitled “New Asian Religions in a Globalized World” was organized for professors and students from other departments besides the Department of Religious Studies. Again, Dr. Massimo Introvigne, Rev. Canh Tran  and Prof. Jay Cha made their presentations, each had twenty minutes.
6:30 pm – Thank-you and Farewell dinner hosted by Cao Dai.
The main purpose of the visit was to introduce Cao Dai and Daesoon Jinrihoe religions to professors and students at MU, and to encourage them to further research and write papers, books or theses in English on these new Asian religions. The reason was that the number of books and papers on these religions writing in English is currently very minimal.
In brief, Cao Dai Religion was established by God not only for Vietnam but also for the entire world. Therefore, the mission of a Cao Dai follower is to spread word about this new religion to as many people as possible.
Please see herewith some photos of the above event at Missouri University.