Image for Brett Scharffs Speaks at St. John's Law School Colloquium in Law and Religion
Photo courtesy of the Center for Law and Religion at St. John's Law School

On February 1st, Professor Brett Scharffs spoke at the Center for Law and Religion at St. John's Law School as part of its third biennial Colloquium in Law and Religion. This seminar invites leading law and religion scholars to make presentations to an audience of students and faculty. Professor Scharffs was the first speaker of the ongoing series.

The following was taken from an article on the Center for Law and Religion's website:

This week, the Center hosted BYU Law School Professor Brett Scharffs in our biannual Colloquium on Law and Religion. Brett, who is BYU’s... more

Image for The Government Committee for Religious Affairs in Vietnam receives delegation of US lawyers

GCRA Press Release — GCRA receives US lawyers delegation

Prof. Cole Durham, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies under Brigham Young University led a delegation to visit the Government Committee for Religious Committee (GCRA) on January 20.

Joining the US delegation included First Secretary of the United States Embassy in Hanoi David V. Muehlke, Political Officer of US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh city Garret Harkin.

Welcoming the delegation were Vice Chairman of the GCRA Bùi Thanh Hà, representatives from the National Assembly Committee for Culture, Education, Youth, Adolescents and Children, the Government Office, the Ministry of Justice and the GCRA Departments for International... more

Image for David Kirkham Speaks at NATO Workshop 'Security and Religion' – January 2016

David Kirkham, ICLRS Senior Fellow for Comparative Law and International Policy, spoke in late January 2016 at a high-level workshop on 'Security and Religion' at NATO Headquarters, in Brussels. The meeting brought together leading experts and practitioners--scholars, diplomats, religious leaders, NGO representatives and others—from both sides of the Atlantic, the Western Balkans, and the Black Sea.

The workshop examined current challenges to security, with a specific focus on 'soft security' issues, and the cultural and religious contributions to the peaceful development... more

Image for Fourth Annual ACLARS Conference: Religious Pluralism, Heritage, and Social Development in Africa, 22-24 May 2016

The organizing committee of the African Consortium of Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS) is pleased to announce the fourth conference on Law and Religion in Africa to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference will be hosted by the University of Addis Ababa and held at the African Union from Sunday, 22 May to Tuesday, 24 May, 2016.  

The Conference theme is "Religious Pluralism, Heritage, and Social Development in Africa". We invite all scholars interested in the study of law and religion in Africa to submit proposals. Paper and panel proposals addressing the theme, or any other aspect of law and religion in Africa, should be submitted electronically in English or French to by 20 February, 2016. For more detail, please click on this link:  Call for Papers

Please note for those wishing to attend the Conference: All visa applications for Ethiopia must be completed by 1 March 2016 as it takes two months to receive a visa to Ethiopia. Please keep this in mind.

The... more

Image for Fourth ICLARS Conference, 'Freedom of/for/from/within Religion: Differing Dimensions of a Common Right?' St. Hugh's College, Oxford, 8-10 September 2016

The members of the Steering Committee of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies are pleased to announce the Fourth ICLARS Conference, which will be held at St. Hugh’s College in Oxford September 9-10, 2016, and to issue a call for papers associated with Conference themes, due March 31, 2016.

The Conference topic — “Freedom of/for/from/within Religion: Differing Dimensions of a Common Right?” — aims at considering the fundamental right of freedom of religion from differing perspectives, shedding light on its various... more

Image for Cole Durham Participates in 'Religion, Security and Human Rights' Conference at European Parliament

The European Platform against Religious Intolerance and Discrimination (EPRID) organized a conference on Human Rights Day, 10 December, 2015, titled "Religion, Security and Human Rights". The conference, held in Brussels Belgium at the European Parliament, included speakers such as Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt, U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Dr. Kishan Manocha, Senior Advisor at OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Dr. Liviu Olteanu, Secretary General & Director of Conscience and Liberty from the Association Internationale pour la Défense de la Liberté Religieuse, Ms. Kalpna Devi, Human Rights Defender from Pakistan, and the Center's director, Professor Cole Durham.... more

Image for Sudanese Delegation Visits the Center

On December 8, 2015, a delegation of Sudanese visitors, invited to the United States under the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, visited the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. The objective of their visit was to promote religious tolerance and peaceful settlement of conflicts. Center Managing Director, Robert Smith, met with the delegation. 

Current sanctions imposed upon Sudan were the primary topic of concern. The delegates were particularly interested in discussing Professor Smith's congressional testimony on 18 September, 2014 in which... more

Image for First Certificate Training in Myanmar:  Religion and the Rule of Law

From 30 November to 9 December, Professors W. Cole Durham and Brett G. Scharffs, Director and Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, participated in a Religion and Rule of Law Certificate Training Program in Myanmar. The 10-day event was sponsored by the Institute for Global Engagement, Brigham Young University, the Venerable Sitagu Sayadaw, The Catholic Bishops Conference of Myanmar, and the Myanmar Council of Churches. This was believed to be the first event of its kind to be held in Myanmar. Participants included leaders from each of the country’s major religious communities.

The theme of the conference was Religion, Rule of Law, and Security. Participants examined the connection between religion and the rule of law, and international human rights... more

Image for G20 Interfaith Summit in Istanbul: Religion, Harmony, and Sustainable Development

A Message from the Conference Conveners 

Religion plays a major role in global events, touching issues from medical ethics to cross-border conflicts to macroeconomic trends. However, religion can be misunderstood or even overlooked as a factor in world events and, thus, the contributions faith and religion make to social well-being and policies, which impact national and international communities, are often not recognized.

The 2015 G20 Interfaith Summit held in Istanbul 16-18 November brought together scholars, lawyers and political leaders, with faith and interfaith leaders from around the world for three days of discussion and dialogue as a substantial contribution to the G20 Economic Forum. The gathering was designed to showcase the scholarly and societal contributions of various faith traditions and philosophies from around the world, and to create opportunities for communication and relationship building and raise the profile of participating communities, groups, and organizations.

... more
Image for In Remembrance:  Olene Walker

By Gary Doxey

The Center lost a dear friend with the passing of Olene S. Walker, former governor of the State of Utah, on November 28, 2015 at the age of 85.

As governor, Olene Walker was a trailblazer. She left a significant legacy that lives on today in the much-praised fiscal discipline of Utah state government, foundational reading programs for school children, healthcare for children, and opportunities for those most in need to obtain housing. Until her passing, she continued to serve on numerous boards both nationally and internationally, where she left her mark as an energetic, common-sense, results-oriented leader focused on bequeathing a better world to the... more

Image for The Center Announces the Student Research Fellows for 2016

Each year the International Center for Law and Religion Studies welcomes a group of outstanding scholars who have completed their first year of study at the J. Reuben Clark Law School into the Research Fellows Program. The program brings the students into the worldwide work of the Center, as they complete internships with the offices of the legal counsels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City and in many other parts of the world, participate in Center research, writing, and publishing projects, and help to maintain the Center's international... more

Image for Protecting Religious Freedom: An Interfaith Invitation

Protecting Religious Freedom: An Interfaith Invitation: Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right that protects the consciences of all people. It allows us to think, express, and act upon what we deeply believe. But in many parts of the world, as in the United States, this freedom is eroding. Religious organizations and individuals face increasing restrictions as they participate in the public square, express their beliefs, or serve in society. A panel of local faith leaders and international experts met on 10 November 2015, at the First Baptist Orlando Faith Hall in Orlando, Florida, to... more

Image for UN Side Event: Annual Report of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

A series of events under the theme Comparative and International Perspectives against the Background of the Annual Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief was held in New York City on October 22 and 23 in connection with the delivery the Annual Report at the United Nations by Special Rapporteur Heiner Bielefeldt.

Following the delivery on Thursday of the Report entitled "The Rights of the Child and His or Her Parents in the Area of Freedom of Religion or Belief", a reception was held honoring Heiner Bielefeldt and discussing the report.... more

Image for ICLRS at the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies participated in three sessions of the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions in Salt Lake City. W. Cole Durham, Jr., Center Director, and Brett Scharffs, Associate Director, organized these sessions to discuss religious freedom issues highlighted by Parliament organizers.

Durham moderated the panel Religion, Religious Freedom and Development, featuring the following global experts... more

Image for Archbishop William E. Lori Receives 2015 International Religious Liberty Award

The J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies are honored to announce that the Most Reverend William Edward Lori, in presented with the International Religious Liberty Award for 2015. 

Archbishop Lori is Archbishop of the Baltimore Archdiocese and head of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He has played a leading role in gathering an interfaith coalition to promote the freedom to exercise one’s faith in both private and public life. 

Religious liberty "is not merely a privilege that the government grants us and so may take away at will, Archbishop Lori observed in an address before Congress in 2011. Religions liberty, rather, "is inherent in our very humanity, hard-wired into each and every one... more

Image for Winners of the 6th Annual Founding Fathers Religious Liberty Writing Contest October 2015

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies of Brigham Young University are pleased to announce the winners of the Sixth Annual Founding Fathers Religious Liberty Writing Contest

The following students were honored at an Awards Dinner held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC on 8 October 2015.

First Place:Cash Award of $4000 

  • Nicholas Reaves (University of Virginia School of Law) – "Uniquely Qualified: The Constitutionality of Police and Clergy Alliances"
... more
Image for 22nd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium:  'Religion, Law, and Social Stability'

The Twenty-second Annual International Law and Religion Symposium was held 4-6 October 2015 on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. This year's delegates — approximately 90 leading scholars, jurists, and political and civil society leaders from 38 countries — joined in exploring issues surrounding the theme Religion, Law, and Social Stability

The Center expresses its gratitude to the distinguished keynote speakers, who also received this year's Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Gunnar Stålsett and Professor David Little opened the conference with excellent and thought-provoking addresses.

The Center is also immensely grateful to all of the distinguished delegates, many of whom made considerable sacrifices to travel long distances to be with us in Provo and Salt Lake City. The depth and breadth of the presentations... more

Image for Symposium 2015: Keynote Speakers Gunnar Stålsett and David Little
L-R: Center Director Cole Durham, BYU President Kevin J Worthen, David Little, Gunnar Stålsett, BYU Law School Dean James R. Rasband

Keynote addresses at the 22nd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, held Sunday evening October 4, 2015, were delivered by Dr. Gunnar Stålsett, Moderator of the European Council of Religious Leaders and International President, World Council of Religions for Peace, and Professor David Little, currently a research fellow at Georgetown University's Berkley Center, who was at the time of his retirement in 2009 T.J. Dermot Dunphy Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict at Harvard... more

Image for Symposium 2015: Distinguished Service Awards to David Little and Gunnar Stålsett

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies was honored to present Professor David Little, Emeritus Professor, Harvard Divinity School, and currently Fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and Dr. Gunnar Stålsett, Moderator, European Council of Religious Leaders; International President, World Council of Religions for Peace with the Center's Distinguished Service Awards for 2015, at the Opening Session of the 22nd Annual International Law and Religion SymposiumThe award is given to outstanding proponents of the cause of freedom of religion or belief worldwide, and the Center is honored to be able to "celebrate the important role David Little... more

Image for Center Welcomes Blythe Shupe and Sandy Stephenson
Sandy Stephenson, Blythe Shupe

The Center is pleased to welcome Sandy Stephenson and Blythe Shupe. As the new International Advisory Council and Conference Liaison, Sandy will be working closely with the Center’s International Advisory Council and assisting with the Center’s many sponsored and co-sponsored conferences. Blythe will be taking on the Center’s website content, social media, and other communications in her role as Communications Specialist. Both are graduates of Brigham Young University’s Humanities Department, Sandy in Art, Art History, and French, and Blythe in Comparative Literature. Sandy comes to us with experience as a business owner as well as working at the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and for the U.S. Senate. Blythe has spent the last several years in account management within the background screening industry and the technology industry. Both are excited to embark on this new adventure with the Center and to use their talents and experience to further the Center’s mission. 

Image for ICLRS Student Management Board 2015-2016

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to welcome its Student Management Board for 2015-2016. The members of the board are second- and third-year law students chosen for their interest in law and religion and their expertise in writing, research, editing, languages, and website management. Languages spoken by this year's Management Board students include French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, Turkish, and Hindi. Third-year students selected this year are Ryan AndersenAlex BiggsEva BradyBennett BriggsTara Fitzgerald, Travis HyerJedediah KnightMonique Mullenaux LaingAline Longstaff, Annalee MoserLauren Robins, and Jarvis Yau. Second-year students are Tanner Bean, Lauren FloresRaquel Flores-Vera, Ryan JolleyMichael GoodrichLeilani MaldonadoAbby McKeon, and McKenna Mills