Vietnam Academy Of Social Sciences
Name: Institute for Religious Studies
Phone: 84-4.3.9784870
Fax: 84-4.3.9763813
Address: No.27 Tran Xuan Soan Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi

Giới thiệu Viện Nghiên cứu Tôn giáo

The Institute for Religious Studies (IRS) is a scientific researching organization within Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. IRS, formerly Department of Scientific Research on Religion within Center for Religion, is founded in pursuant to the Resolution No. 23/CP on 22th May 1993 by the Prime Minister.

In the Decision No. 249/QĐ-KHXH on 27 Feb 2013 by President of Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Institute of Religious Studies is responsible for studying theoretical issue of religions, beliefs, domestic religions and beliefs in order to build up strong foundation for religious policies of the Party and the State; consulting and post-graduate training on religious studies; contributing to the development of national research capability on religion.


  1. Scientific research

Research on religious theoretical issue

Religious theoretical study is a major function of Institute of Religious Studies since the first day of foundation. Achievement made by the Institute in this field is to contribute to clarifying origin, nature, characteristics, roles, functions of religion, factors forming religion, religious psychology, religious anthropology, comparative religion…, and based on that, religious studies is established in Vietnam.

Thesis Religion is a social strength brought up by the Institute has been highly appreciated by the public. Researches of the Institute on belief worshiping Hung King and other heroes in national history of construction and defense have encourage the Party and the State to choose Hung Kinh Anniversary (on 10th of March) to be national holiday annually.

Research and contribution to improve the Party’s policy and opinion, guideline and legislation of the State toward religion and beliefs

From results of research projects on basic issues of religious lifestyles, national religion, the Institute has helped to provide scientific opinions to orient and simultaneously strengthen policies, guidelines of the Party and the State on religion and beliefs.

Scientific achievements of the Institute have helped to clarify theoretical and practical issues on condition, characteristics, and development of religion and beliefs in Vietnam and the world; opinions and arguments based on those have accumulated to construct, reinforce, and develop the viewpoint of the Party and the State in terms of religion and beliefs as a component of reasoning system of socialism and humane socialism in Vietnam. Basically, scientific explanations and recommendations of Institute have been recognized and acknowledged in many documents of the Party and the State, for example Ordinance on religion and belief promulgated by the National Assembly Standing Committee in 2004.

It is worthy to notice the contribution in many aspects to the government’s practical management of religion in different levels in the Institute of Religious Studies’ scientific research activities. By different methods, directly and indirectly, the Institute has helped to interpret the laws, draft legal documents of the State, orders and resolutions related to religion and beliefs of the Central Party and Central Party Secretariat, especially in strategic areas of national security such as North-western, Highland, and South-western regions.

Besides, the Institute of Religious Studies has also involved in researching on “taking advantage of religion” issue in “peaceful evolution strategy” of hostile forces; rights to freedom of religion, beliefs in Vietnam legislation; experience in dealing religion and belief issues selected countries in the world.

Research on conditions and characteristics of Vietnam religion and beliefs; main religions in Vietnam

Conditions and characteristics of Vietnam religion, beliefs is also an important research aspect of Institute of Religious Studies during recent years. The Institute has carried out researching, examining generally and partially the conditions and characteristics of Vietnam religion, beliefs. Thereby, Vietnam is considered as a multi-religion, beliefs nation. Exogenous religions such as Taoism, Confucianism, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Catholic, Evangelical Catholic… and endogenous religion and beliefs such as Cao Đài, Hòa Hảo Buddhism, Ancestral belief, Tutelary belief, Four Elements belief, Mother belief… have been researched on both theoretical and practical aspects by the Institute. Almost all of these researches have been socialized. 

Research achievements of the IRS also contribute to clarify cultural identity and thinking history in Vietnam. Research projects have shown the role of religion, especially Buddhism and Confucianism, in culture and development of Vietnam; and the role of traditional beliefs to morality and lifestyle in Vietnam in the past and present.

Research on impact of international religion on Vietnam religious lifestyle in the context of international integration and globalization

This is one of research directions that the Institute of Religious Studies has focused on for the last 10 years.

Researches have shown clearly that under the effect of globalization, religious lifestyle in the world has seen substantial fluctuation. New movements in religious lifestyle have had a great impact on all aspects of religious lifestyle in Vietnam nowadays, positively and negatively.

In the positive side, religions in Vietnam have increasingly integrated with social-economic life and with community, coupled with the whole society in diminishing difficulties causing by the market failure as well as natural disasters. Religious culture has increasingly integrated strongly with national culture, contributing to constructing Vietnam advanced culture imbued with national identity; devote for the purpose of prosperity, strong, civilized, fair, and democratic society. However, in the negative side, religion, nation and human rights issues could be used by hostile forces to contest against Vietnam’s government; other issues include the increasingly appearance of negative, anti-culture religious phenomenon that could destabilize the society.

  1. Religious Studied Magazines and publishing works

Journal of Religious Studied is the body of Institute of Religious Studies and the well-known forum for religious studies academia and readers who care about this field. The journal not only publishes research results of religion and beliefs, disseminates policies and guidelines of The Party and the State on religion and beliefs but also prevents against taking advantages of religion, beliefs to contest the State by hostile forces and against distorted arguments on religious conditions in Vietnam.

Since the first edition on 26th Aug 1999 till the end of 2012, Journal of Religious Studied has published 114 Vietnamese issues and 24 English issues. Once quarterly, nowadays, the Vietnamese edition has been published monthly and once for three months with the English edition. Furthermore, an electronic edition at, which is assisted by INASP (United Kingdom), has officially available online with both Vietnamese and English edition. With achieved results, the Journal of Religious Studied has received certificate of the Prime Minister (2010).

Regarding publishing, until 2012, the Institute of Religious Studies and researchers in the Institute have published over 100 scientific works that mentioned different aspects of theoretical and practical issues on religion, beliefs in Vietnam and over the world, typically: Institute of Religious Studies, On religion, volume 1, Social Sciences Publisher, Hanoi, 1994; Nguyen Duy Hinh, Vietnam Tuletary belief, Social Sciences Publisher, 1996; Nguyễn Đức Sự (Ed.), Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels on religious issues, Social Sciences Publisher, Hanoi, 1999; Dang Nghiem Van (Ed.), About religion, beliefs in Vietnam nowadays, Social Sciences Publisher, Hanoi, 1998; Nguyen Hong Duong, Viewpoints and policies of the Party on religion and religious issues in Vietnam nowadays, National Politics Publisher, Hanoi, 2012, etc.

  1. Post-graduate training

The Institute of Religious Studies is not only a scientific research agency but also a famous training institution for post-graduate majoring in religion in the country. Since 2001 when IRS was assigned by Ministry of Education and Training to train PhD in Religious Studies, the Institute has had 13 courses, training over 20 doctors majoring in religion.

Research students of the institution, which is formerly under the IRS and currently Religion Department within Academy of Social Sciences, are quite diversified, including not only religious researchers, lecturers, and government officers on religion but also many priests, especially Buddhism. After achieved PhD degree, they are a significant additional resource to the development, expansion of research and training on religion in Vietnam.

  1. Domestic cooperation

In order to be able to complete all tasks assigned and to increase impact on society, the IRS always pays attention to cooperate with many divisions directly or indirectly research and train on religion, such as Religion and Beliefs Research Center within Institute of Scientific Socialism, Hồ Chí Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration; Religious Studies Unit within Department of Philosophy and Research Center of Contemporary Religion, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, etc.

  Some topics cooperated between the Institute and other domestic research divisions can be named such as Role of religion in constructing advanced culture, imbued with national identity during the industrialization and modernization in 2000 (assigned by Hanoi city’s Department of Culture – Information); Urgent problems of religion in Hochiminh city in 2001 (cooperated with Hochiminh City’s Department of Technology, Sciences, and Environment), Research on Vietnam Buddhism in Tran dynasty at Quang Ninh and recommended solutions for management regarding religious issues nowadays in 2006 (cooperated with Quang Ninh’s Ethic and Religious Committee)…

Furthermore, the IRS has relationship with selected individual and religious organizations in Vietnam such as: Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam, Vietnam Catholic Church, Protestant Church of Vietnam… This cooperation results in co-organized scientific conferences, for example: Ancestor veneration in Catholics (coordinated with Hue Archbishop and Laity Commission, Vienam bishops’ council, October 1999); Buddhism in Ly dynasty and 1000 years of Thang Long – Hanoi (coordinated with Institute of Buddhist Studies, Hanoi, July 2010); Nghe region’s Buddhist culture: the past, the present and the future (coordinated with Vietnam Buddhist Sangha Culture Central Committee, Buddhist Executive Board of Nghe An province, August 2012)…

  1. International cooperation

The Institute of Religious Studies has always paid attention to international cooperation in order to raise research capacity and promote studies on religion in the world, at the same time training young staffs and develop religion studies in Vietnam. From the first day, the Institute has built relationship with many religious training centers in the world, for instance: Department of Religious Studies, Ecole pratique des hautes étude (EPHE), Sorbonne University, France; Institute of International Religious Studies within China Academy of Social Sciences; Institute for Global Engagement, United States; Gyeongsang National University, Korea… These international agencies have exchanged scientific documentaries and scientific meeting with the Institute on the issues of religious theories and history, sociology of religion, comparative religion, methods and approaches to modern religion, religious law, etc.

One of the results from international cooperation of the IRS is a series of scientific conferences, for example: Studies on Vietnamese and French religion (coordinated with EPHE, Sorbonne University, France, July 1999); Religion diversification: comparing France – Vietnam (coordinated with EPHE, Sorbonne University, France, October 2007); Development of Protestantism in Vietnam (coordinated with Institute for Global Engagement, United States, December 2010, June 2011, and November 2012), etc.

With successes achieved, the Institute of Religious Studies has received many noble prizes, such as: Labor Medal - Third Class (2001), Certificate of Prime Minister (2010), Labor Medal Second Class (2011), Excellence Flag by Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (2011, 2012); Excellence Flag of the Prime Minister (2011, 2012). Individuals of Institute are also grateful with honorable titles such as State Award; Independence Medal Third Class; Labor Medal Second Class (2011), etc.