The Center sponsors, co-sponsors, and participates in numerous conferences annually. Over the past three years, the Center has helped sponsor and has participated in more than 100 conferences in all parts of the world. These conferences involve government, academic, and religious leaders, and are aimed at making a practical difference in the implementation of religious freedom principles. The Center typically partners with local and international leaders in the field, allowing for diverse viewpoints and backgrounds to be represented in each of the conferences.
On May 14, 2013, at the annual conference of the Law and Religion Scholars Network (LARSN) at Cardiff Law School, University of Cardiff, Wales, Dr. David Kirkham, Senior Fellow for Comparative Law and International Policy and Regional Advisor for the European Union and Council of Europe of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University, made a presentation entitled "Natural Rights and Natural Wrongs: Liberty, Law and Self-Restraint in the Mostly Secular West." The conference was attended by law and religion scholars from throughout the United Kingdom and numerous foreign countries. Professor Norman Doe, Director of Cardiff Law School's Centre for Law and Religion, and Dr. Javier Oliva of the University of Manchester oversaw the proceedings, with assistance from John Duddington (Editor, Law and Justice... more
Professor David M. Kirkham, International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University, and Professor Ivan Strenski, University of California, Riverside, delivered the keynote addresses at the conference "Models of Relationship of State and Church: Contemporary Tendencies," which took place 10-11 May 2013 at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan. Sponsored by the Collaboration for Democracy Centre under the direction of Stepan Danielyan, and with the support of the US Embassy in Armenia, the conference was the first of its kind in the country in which scholars focused almost entirely on challenges posed by traditional church-state relationships... more
"Unprecedented Repression of Religious Minorities and NGOs in Russia" was the subject of a two-hour side-event organized by Human Rights Without Frontiers Int'l (HRWF Int'l), the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) and the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies (KCIS) at the United Nations in Geneva on 29 April 2013.
This event focused on recent, unprecedented human rights violations in Russia, particularly where religious liberty is concerned. The meeting was scheduled to take place on the day that the Russian Federation was being reviewed... more
The conference "Challenges for Democracy: Religion, Law and Dialogue in the CIS and Baltics", was held 25-27 April 2013 at the Baltic International Academy in Riga, Latvia. The conference brought together some 50 scholars and government leaders from the CIS and Baltics to look at law and religion issues in this region. The conference was videotaped and is being distributed through YouTube, the Baltic International Academy, and religiopolis.org [see video links below].
Conference Panels discussed the following topics:
- Current Issues of Freedom of Religion in Latvian Legal Practice
- The Problem of Establishing Expert Religious Opinions
- Democracy, Religion, and Dialogue in Russia
- Interaction of Religion, Policy and Lawmaking in the Baltic States
- Democratic Approaches
A conference on Law and Religion in Africa: Comparative Practices, Experiences, and Prospects was held 14-15 January 2013 at the University of Ghana in Legon, Ghana. Scholars, legal professionals, and religious leaders from Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierre Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States gathered in Legon for the two-day event.
The Opening Session of the conference was chaired by Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor and Professor, University of Ghana, and James R. Rasband, Dean and Hugh W. Colton Professor of Law of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. After welcome and introductions by Kofi Quashigah, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, participants were welcomed by Justice Samuel... more
Ma Guilin, Cole Durham, Zhang Daocheng
The China Social Science Forum (2012 • Religious Studies) — Religious Charities and Social Development, sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), was held by the Institute of World Religions, 11-12 December 2012, in Beijing. Professor Brett G. Scharffs and Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Associate Director and Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, were among the foreign experts making presentations at the Forum.
Photo: Ma Guilin is General Secretary and Vice President of the China Charity International Exchange Center; Zhang Daocheng is Vice Secretary-General, The National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Vice Director of the China Charity Federation.
From 26 November to 5 December 2012, the Institute for Global Engagement, Brigham Young University, and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi co-conducted the first-ever certificate training program on Religion and the Rule of Law in Vietnam.
The purpose of the ten-day program was to train an emerging generation of scholars, government officials, judges, and religious leaders on international and comparative approaches to religion and the rule of law. The training—using both comparative and interdisciplinary training methods—helped to build an emerging intellectual foundation as they develop a new legal infrastructure... more
An International Conference, "Religious Education in the World Today", was held 5 December 2012 at the Institute of St. Stanislava, Hall Matija Tomc, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Speakers of different religions from ten countries on four continents presented the situation in their countries and the problems faced.
Featured at the conference was the recently published Routledge International Handbook of Religious Education, edited by Derek Davis and Elena Miroshnikova, who were in attendance, along with W. Cole Durham, Jr., who wrote the Foreword to the book.
In a globalized world where people of all nations are closely connected... more
RELIGARE ('Religious Diversity and Secular Models in Europe: Innovative Approaches to Law and Policy') is a European framework project focusing on the ways in which European states govern the diversity of religions and beliefs within their territories. Its ultimate aim is to advance 'promising practices' through an in-depth comparative study of case law and sociological data on the freedom of religion and the right to nondiscrimination. A two-day conference held 4-5 December offered a unique opportunity to discuss and reflect upon the projects key findings.
The first day (4 December - University of Leuven) was dedicated to a detailed presentation and an in-depth discussion of the research results among... more
Professor Brett G. Scharffs, Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University, delivered the paper "Regulating Religion: Formal and Informal Mechanisms of State and Social Oversight in an Easy-entry Registration System — The U.S. Experience" at the Beijing Forum 2012, "The Harmony of Civilizations and Properity of All," held 2-4 November 2012 in Beijing. Professor Scharffs was a participant in the second of the Forum's 10... more
L-R: Cole Durham, Kyle Duncan, Leslie Griffin, Carolyn Evans, Gerhard Robbers
Religious freedom is in the headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. Although some have written of a "Western model" of religious liberty, is that label a myth? Sixteen law and religion experts—from Australia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United States—met at Georgetown University in Washington, DC on 11 October 2012 to examine the historic and emerging differences in how religious freedom was conceived and has been implemented on both sides of the Atlantic.
Which Model, Whose Liberty?: Differences between the U.S. and European Approaches to Religious Freedom was cosponsored by the Religious Freedom Project of the Berkley Center for Religion... more
Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett and Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook [Cole Durham, center rear](USOSCE/Collin Peters)
The 2012 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), Europe's largest annual human rights and democracy conference, took place in Warsaw from 24 September through 5 October 2012. HDIM is organized every year by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a platform for OSCE participating States, Partners for Co-operation, civil society, international organizations and OSCE structures to take stock of the implementation of the human dimension commitments, discuss associated challenges, share good practices and make recommendations for further improvements. On 2 October a group of participants met to discuss the needs of religious belief communities... more
The Twelfth Annual Assembly of the Latin American Consortium for Religious Liberty was held in Bogota, Colombia September 6-8, 2012. Scott E. Isaacson, Executive Director for Latin America of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, attended the Assembly on behalf of the Center. Center Director Cole Durham is one of the founding supporters of the Latin American Consortium, and the Center has supported the Consortium in various ways over the years, including lending logistical and financial... more
The International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA) 14th Meeting of Experts convened at the Multi-Faith Centre of the University of Toronto on 20 August 2012. The IRLA, an international think tank on religious freedom chartered in 1893, is the oldest association dedicated to freedom of conscience for all people. Originally organized by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, IRLA is served by a panel of experts from many nations and religious denominations.
This year's two-day meeting of experts focused on Models of Secularity and Religious Freedom: Canada, the United States of America, and Europe. Participants included members of the panel of experts... more
From July 9 to 20, 2012, the International League of Higher Education in Media and Communication of the Communication University of China, School of Political Science and Law of the Communication University of China, Center for People’s Congress and Foreign Legislations Study of Peking University Law School, and the Pushi Institute for Social Science jointly held the Religion and Rule of Law Summer Training Program in Beijing. Seventeen experts and scholars from six countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, Netherlands, and China taught at the program, and the fifty... more
Speaking: Elena Miroshnikova
"Year of Russian History: State—Individual—Faith," a conference sponsored by the Expert Council of the Federal Human Rights Ombudsman, the Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Nor-West Region, St. Petersburg Christian University, the Russian Association of Researchers of Religion, and the State Museum of the History of Religion, with organizational help from the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, was held 18-19 June 2012 in St. Petersburg, Russia. [Передачи на русском языке] ICLRS Director Cole Durham, along with Associate Director Elizabeth Clark, the Center's Regional Advisor for Eastern Europe, attended and spoke at the Conference.
A Roundtable on Law and Religion in Australia was held at Australian National University College of Law, Sydney, with a Public Lecture by Professor Brett G. Scharffs, Accommodating Conscience: The Problems Arising from General and Neutral Laws, at ANU College of Law, 21 June 2012. [Event Flyer]
The European Centre for Law and Justice organized a seminar on the recent case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and of the USA Supreme Court on Church autonomy, in cooperation with the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Européennes: Religion et Société (Bruxelles - CERERS), the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) and the Strasbourg Consortium on Freedom of Conscience and Religion at the European Court of Human Rights.
The purpose of the seminar was to discuss the protection afforded in Europe and in the USA... more
Government officials, religious leaders and public policy experts from across the nation met to discuss a host of topics including the new Health and Human Services mandate requiring religious organizations to provide health care coverage for contraceptives. The day-long event featured discussions on issues ranging from contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act to state laws requiring health care providers to perform procedures or provide services that are... more
Professor Elizabeth A. Clark, Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, was among the academic experts participating in the 2012 Conference of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools, hosted by the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, Central Islip, New York, 2-4 May 2012. The conference addressed the topic "The Place of Religion in the Law School, the University and the Practice of Law." Professor Clark was part of the panel "The Place of Law and Religion Institutes in the Law School and the University," along with Marie A. Failinger... more
30 April & 1 May 2012 - Law & Religion Conference: Apia, Samoa
Theme: How best to manage religious diversity so as to create an environment that fosters harmonious relationships between different religious and cultural groups, lessens religious and cultural tensions, and recognizes the human right to religion, and religious freedom, within national, local and traditional contexts.
Held at the National University of Samoa. Sponsored by National University of Samoa, Victoria University (New Zealand), International Center for Law and Religion Studies (Utah, USA), UNESCO. ... more
The Seventh World Congress of the International Religious Liberty Association was held 24-26 April 2012 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, with more than 800 international guests in attendance. Chartered in 1893, the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA) is the oldest association dedicated to freedom of conscience for all people. It has national associations in 80 countries. Thirteen regional chapters cover the whole surface of the globe with correspondents in 200 countries. In 2003, the IRLA was recognized by the United Nations Economic and Social Council and given the status of United Nations Non-Governmental Organization Category II. It is represented in New York and Geneva and takes part in the Human Rights Council meetings every year.
A primary aspect of the IRLA's work is to ensure that religious freedom has the highest possible visibility on the world scene. To that end, its hold congresses, regional conferences, national symposiums, and local meetings—all... more
Brett Scharffs with JRCLS London Chapter Members & Guests
On 21 April 2012 the London Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society sponsored an event hosted by the law firm Latham & Watkins, Bishopsgate, London. The event featured a discussion of the topic "A secular state preserves religious freedom" by Dr. Ronan McCrea, a barrister lecturing at University College London, and Professor Brett G. Scharffs, Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, USA, and Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.
Dr. McCrea is author of Religion and the Public Order of the European Union (OUP 2011), which was Shortlisted for The Peter Birks Prizes for Outstanding... more
The first of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Seminars was held 20 April 2012 in the Old Common Room of Balliol College, Oxford, UK. The event was co-sponsored by the Oxford Society for Law and Religion; FORBFocus; the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS, Milan); Brunel Law and Religion Research Group; Centre for the Study of Religion in Public Life, Kellogg College, Oxford; Religion, Law and International Relations Program, Regents Park College, Oxford; the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS), Brigham Young University, United States; and the Strasbourg Consortium. ... more
L-R: Julian Rivers, Malcolm Evans, Cole Durham, Silvio Ferrari, Gerhard Robbers, Peter Petkoff
The Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Colloquium, held on the occasion of the publication of the first issue of the Journal, convened on Thursday, 19 April 2012, at Regent's Park College, Oxford, UK, hosted by the Religion Law and International Relations Programme of the Centre for Christianity and Culture.
Session I of the Colloquium featured a Welcome and Introduction, "Harmony in Dissonance — Directions of the Law and Religion Studies," by Peter Petkoff, Director of Religion, Law and International Relations Programme, Regent's Park College, and Managing Editor of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion.... more
Professor Brett G. Scharffs, Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS), traveled to Vietnam in March 2012 to meet with University leaders at Vietnam National University – Hanoi. While there he to delivered a lecture on "Religion and the Rule of Law: Comparative and International Law Perspectives for Contemporary Vietnam" and discuss with the Vietnamese academics possibilities for significant joint academic programs in the future.
Professor Scharffs, ICLRS Regional Advisor for Asia, is co-author, with his colleague W. Cole Durham, Jr. of the casebook, Law and Religion: National, International, and Comparative Perspectives (Wolters Kluwer 2010), second edition now in preparation.