The Center sponsors, co-sponsors, and participates in numerous conferences annually. To date (mid 2015), the Center, since its inception in 2000, has helped organize more than 300 academic conferences and workshops in approximately 50 countries. These events 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.

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.

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Video presentations are also available on YouTube.

The purpose of the event was to provide an... 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 'I Am a Child of God': The Magna Carta Connection by Elder Brcue 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.

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.

On Tuesday, participants... more

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

In June 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 on Marxist Theories of Religion, 30-31 May 2015

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 Religious Freedom and Religious Pluralism in Africa: Prospects and Limitations

The Third Conference on Law and Religion in Africa took place in Windhoek, Namibia, May 18-May 19, 2015. This memorable and very successful conference focused on the theme "Religious Freedom and Religious Pluralism in Africa: Prospects and Limitations." Some sixty participants are participatee in the conference, from 17 countries:  UK, US, Ethiopia, Egypt, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Namibia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, Uganda, Belgium.

Participants discussed such topics as:

  • African traditional law / religion
  • Human rights and dignity (including rights of children, the disabled, the elderly and women)
  • Implications of globalisation, neo-liberalism, democratisation, and fragile states for religious
... more
Image for Conference: 'Religious Freedom Development in the Sphere of Law' – Yerevan, Armenia

With thanks to Ryan Andersen

From May 13-15, scholars and attorneys from the United States, Europe, and Central Asia met in Yerevan, Armenia to participate in the conference "Challenges and Opportunities: Religious Freedom Development in the Sphere of Law".  The International Center for Law and Religious Studies and the Coordinating Counsel for CIS and Baltic Countries on Theoretical and Practical Aspects of Religious Studies (Kyiv, Ukraine—Moscow, Russia) co-hosted the event, which focused on the development of law and religion in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

See conference reports and photographs from the website Religions in Armenia.  More Conference photos are here.

Topics ranged from religion and the environment, the religious aspect of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and its effects on religious life in Ukraine, religious divides... more

Image for 'Religion and the Rule of Law Comparative Studies:  Vietnam and the United States'

Press Release from the Institute for Global Engagement

From 11-12 May 2015, the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), in partnership with Brigham Young University (BYU) and Vietnam National University’s University of Social Sciences & Humanities (USSH), conducted a "Religion and the Rule of Law Comparative Studies: Vietnam and the United States" conference in Washington, DC. The conference examined religious freedom, good governance, and policymaking in the U.S. and Vietnam.

Conference participants focused on four cross-cutting themes: 1) Registration and legal status of religious groups; 2) Rights of religious foreign entities and individuals; 3) New religions; and, 4) Religious property. Experts from both countries brought various academic, religious, legislative, and international... more

Image for International Conference: Towards Law and Religious Freedom in Africa

An International Conference "Towards Law and Religious Freedom in Africa" was held at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, February 26-28, 2015. The conference was an initiative of the Centre for Human Rights of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association (Lagos and Ikeja Branches); the African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, South Africa, and the International Centre for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University. 

The Chief Host and Host of the event were the Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Rahamon A. Bello, FAEng, and the Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Professor Akin Ibidapo-Obe... more

Image for Developing a multilateral approach to freedom of religion or belief: a European perspective

W. Cole Durham, Jr., Professor of Law and Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University, Provo delivered a paper "Protecting FoRB in situations of conflict: from the Balkans to the Middle East and the Ukrainian crises" at the Conference Developing a multilateral approach to freedom of religion or belief: a European perspective, held 9-11 February 2015 at Wiston House, Wilton Park. Wilton Park is an international forum for strategic discussion located in Sussex, United Kingdom. 

The Wilton Park conference was part of a larger project of transatlantic policy dialogue funded by the British Council/Luce Foundation Bridging Voices... more

Image for Conference in Krakow 4-6 November 2014: Religion in the Context of Globalization

The conference "Religion in the Context of Globalization: Legal Aspects of the Functioning of Religious Organizations" was held in Krakow, Poland,  4-6 November 2014. The event was sponsored by the Department of History of Religions, Institute of Religious Studies, Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland); the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah, USA); and the Coordinating Counsel for CIS and Baltic Countries on Theoretical and Practical Aspects of Religious Studies (Kyiv, Ukraine—Moscow, Russia).

The conference opened Tuesday, November... more

Image for Conference in India: Constitutional Parameters of Individual Freedom, November 2014

Amity University India Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University USA co-sponsored an International Symposium, "Constitutional Parameters of Individual Freedom: Secularity, Public Interest & Social Reform", 8-10 November 2014 at the Hotel Taj Mahal in New Delhi.

The event opened on Saturday, November 8, with high-tea and the launch of a new book by Professor Tahir Mahmood, Reminiscing on Law Brains: Bench Bar and Academia. 

Speaking at the conference were international experts... more

Image for Center Sponsors UN Side Event on Religious Freedom: New York City October 2014

A Untied Nations Side Event held on October 24, 2014, and set to coincide with the Report by Heiner Bielefeldt, UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religious or Belief, was co-hosted by the United Kingdom Mission to the UN and BYU’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS). Noted authorities featured at the event included Ambassador Peter Wilson, CMG, Deputy Permanent Representative of the UK Mission, Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Director of ICLRS and Susa Young Gates Professor of Law at Brigham Young University, along with Lucy Vickers (Oxford Brookes University), Peter Petkoff (Oxford University), Katayoun Alidade (Catholic University of Leuven / RELIGARE), Todd R. McFarland (Associate General Counsel, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists), Richard T. Foltin (Director, National and Legislative Affairs at American Jewish Committee), Bobbi Nassar, UN NGO Committee on Human Rights Co-Chair, and Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Among those attending were diplomats from missions to the United Nationas and representatives from non-governmental agencies interested in fostering religious freedom globally.

Image for Religious Liberty Awards Dinner, Washington DC, October 2014

For his tireless advocacy and record of legislative accomplishment, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University were pleased to present the Religious Liberty Award to retiring Congressman Frank Wolf. Throughout his 33-year career in Congress, Representative Wolf has championed efforts to alert the United States and the world to the plight of men, women, and children who are persecuted for living their religious convictions. Representative Wolf authored the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, which established the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and the International Religious Freedom Office at the... more

Image for Fifth China Certificate Training Program, Beijing, July-August 2014

Report by Jarvis Yau

The 2014 Summer Certificate Training Program on Religion and Rule of Law was held in Beijing, China from July 28 to August 8 this year. The event was co-organized by Pu Shi Institute for Social Science, Peking University School of Law, and the Beijing Foreign Studies University School of Law. The International Center for Law and Religion Studies and the Institute for Global Engagement have also sent representatives to provide assistance at the training program. Many prominent scholars around the world were invited to speak at the program and share the results of their research.  

The training covers a wide range of... more

Image for Third Certificate Training Program on Religion and the Rule of Law in Vietnam
Judge Thomas Griffith, Television Interview,
Da Nang, Vietnam, July 2014

Report Bryant Hinckley

In July 2014 the International Center for Law and Religion Studies was pleased to co-sponsor the third annual Certificate Training Program on Religion and the Rule of Law in Vietnam. This year’s program was held in the city of Da Nang, Vietnam. Da Nang is the center of commerce and education in central Vietnam. The program featured the top Vietnamese academics dealing with law and religion in their country along with many of the world’s leading academics on the topic. Judge Clifford Wallace of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Thomas Griffith D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals also taught at the event. The Institute for Global Engagement, University... more

Image for Religious Annual Review Inaugural Year: Religious Freedom in a Secular World

Experts on the law and religious freedom spoke at the conference "Religious Freedom in a Secular World," at the Brigham Young University Conference Center 7-9 July 2014. This was the inaugural conference of what will become the Religious Freedom Annual Review, providining up-to-date information on the status of laws impacting religious freedom in the United States and around the world. CLE credit is available for lawyers in attendance at these events.

The faculty of the BYU International Center for Law and Religion Studies and selected experts including William F. Atkin, Thomas C. Berg, Michael W. Durham, Alexander Dushku, J. Clifton Fleming, Frederick Mark Gedicks, Luke Goodrich, Brian Grim, David Hacker, Alan Hurst, Scott Isaacson, Michael A. Jensen, Richard Moon, David Moore, Steven M. Sandberg... more

Image for Intensive Master Level Course in Yogyakarta : Sharia and Human Rights: Scholarly Background and Cases of Controversy in Contemporary Indonesia

Professor 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 at BYU Law School, participated in an Intensive Master Level Course on Sharia and Human Rights: Scholarly Background and Cases of Controversy in Contemporary Indonesia, held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2-6 June 2014. The event was co-sponsored by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and the  Faculty of Law, Universitas Gadjah Mada, which hosted the event. Among Professor Scharffs' contributions to the Course was a presentation was entitled "The Human Rights Framework for Freedom of Religion and Belief."