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Image for 'Religion, Law, and Social Stability': Theme of the 2015 Symposium

The theme chosen for the 22nd Annual International Religion Symposium, to be held at Brigham Young University 47-October 2015, is "Religion, Law, and Social Stability." Religion continues to be a major factor in conflict, peacemaking, and the establishment of or disruption to the rule of law throughout the world. This year's Symposium delegates—leading scholars, jurists, and political and civil society leaders from around the globe—have been invited to explore the relationships and tensions among religion, law, and social stability as they consider questions such as these:

  • To what extent can religion and religious freedom play a helpful role in resolving social and political conflict?
  • How is religion and religious extremism related to violence? 
  • What role can or should religious organizations play in society?  
  • Can they contribute to building more just, peaceful, and stable communities?  
  • How should the law address religious freedom claims? 

Because of space limitations, Symposium sessions are open to invited guests only, but the opening session on Sunday evening, October 4 will be streamed live to listeners worldwide, and recordings of all Symposium sessions will be available on the Center's website and YouTube channel.

See developing news and reports in this space, and on the Symposium Facebook page.

Image for Keynote Speakers for the 22nd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to announce keynote speakers for the 22nd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, to be held October 4-7, 2015, at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah: 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 Divinity School and an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

The addresses will be delivered to invited guests on Sunday evening, October 4, in the Moot Court Room of the J. Reuben Clark Law School. This opening session on will also be streamed live to listeners worldwide, and, as with all Symposium sessions, will be available as a video recording on the Center's website and YouTube channel. Please watch this space for further information about accessing the live stream and the recordings.

Image for Professor David Little to Receive 2015 ICLRS Distinguished Service Award

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to announce that Professor David Little will receive the Center's Distinguished Service Award for 2015. The 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 has played in shaping the fields of religious ethics, peace, justice, and human rights studies."*

Before his retirement in 2009, David Little was Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict at Harvard Divinity School, and was an Associate at Harvard's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He is at... 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, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, 16-18 November, will bring together opinion leaders such as 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... more

Image for The Center Thanks the Student Research Fellows for 2015

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... more

Image for Religious Freedom Annual Review 2015: 'Fairness for All'

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert, Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson of the University of Illinois College of Law, and Director W. Cole Durham Jr. of BYU Law School's International Center for Law and Religion Studies were among the experts participating in the 2015 Religious Freedom Annual Review," Fairness for All," sponsored by the Center and hosted July 6-8 by BYU Continuing Education.

Click to view conference

Video presentations are also available on YouTube.

The purpose of the event was to provide an update for lawyers... more

Image for The 2015 Oxford Conference: Magna Carta and Freedom of Religion or Belief

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies, in cooperation with the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, hosted its 2015 Oxford Conference June 21-24  at St Hugh's College, Oxford. The event began with a devotional Sunday evening at the Oxford LDS Meetinghouse, featuring an address Religious Freedom and the Habits of the Heart by Elder Bruce C. Hafen, Emeritus General Authority and Member of the First Quorum of Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a violin performance of Ave Maria (Bach / Gounod) by Mark Oshia of Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, accompanied by Elder Hafen.

PHOTOS FROM THE CONFERENCE ARE HERE.

Monday featured presentations at St Hugh's College addressing the conference theme, Magna Carta and Freedom of Religion or Belief and concluding with a keynote address by Professor Nicholas Vincent, University of East Anglia, Historical Researcher of The Magna Carta Project.... more

Image for Professor Scharffs Participates in Two Indonesian Programs on Sharia and Human Rights

In June 2015 Professor Brett Scharffs participated in two teaching programs designed to create bridges between Islamic Law and Human Rights. One program was held at a leading secular university in Yogyakarta, Gadja Mada University, and the other was at an Islamic University in Malang, Muhammadiyah University. The programs bring together experts on Human Rights and on Islamic Law with students of law, Islamic Law, sociology and history, as well as practitioners from a range of NGOs. Professor Scharffs made presentations on the history and drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and freedom of religion from a human rights perspective. The papers from the courses are being compiled into a textbook that will be published in both English and Bahasa in Indonesia next year. John Lowe, who just completed his first year at BYU Law School, also participated in the program, providing informal translation support and helping with logistics.

Image for Brett Scharffs at Symposium in Beijing on Marxist Theories of Religion

Dean Brett G. Scharffs, Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum, Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law, and Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, participated in a Symposium on Marxist Theories of Religion sponsored by the Institute of World Religions, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on May 30-31, 2015, in Beijing. Professor Scharffs' presentation was titled, "The Relationship of Religion and the State: The Surprising Similarities and Important Differences in the Political Philosophy of Marx and Locke." The paper, which will be... more

Image for Advances and Setbacks in the Legal Protection of Religious Freedom, Mexico City, May 2015

The 15th Annual Colloquium of the Latin American Consortium for Religious Liberty was held May 21-23, 2015 at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, Mexico. Sponsored by the Latin American Consortium for Religious Liberty, the Universidad Iberoamericana, and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU, the conference focused on the theme "Advances and Setbacks in the Legal Protection of Religious Freedom". The inaugural session was chaired by the principal host and organizer of the colloquium, Prof. Dr. Alberto Patiño Reyes of Universidad Iberoamericana.  Other participants included Prof. Dra. Maria Concepción Medina González, acting as the "Relatora General" of the colloquium. Prof. Dr. Raul Gonzalez Schmal, who delivered the inaugural address, and Prof. Dra. Carmen Asiaín Pereira, President of the Latin American Consortium... more