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.

Image for Conference in Indonesia: Promoting the freedom of religion and beliefs in ASEAN

A Regional consultation on Promoting the Freedom of Religion or Belief in ASEAN was held in Jakarta from 19-20 February 2014 hosted by HRWG – Human Rights Working Group, a Coalition of Indonesian NGOs for International Human Rights Advocacy, in partnership with the Indonesian Representative for AICHR, Mr. Rafendi Djamin, and supported by the Canadian Government. Participants included members of AICHR, ACWC, representatives of relevant governmental agencies from ASEAN Member States, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI’s) from Indonesia and the Philippines, Think Tanks and academes, Human Rights NGOs, interfaith dialogue organizations, and religious organization from several ASEAN Member States and representatives from the diplomatic community in Jakarta.... more

Image for David Kirkham Delivers Keynote Address at Religion, Democracy, Law Conference

Professor David Kirkham, Senior Fellow for Comparative Law and International Policy, International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, delivered the keynote address at the conference "Religion, Democracy and Law", held 15-16 January 2014 at London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.  The title of Professor Kirkham's address was  ‘Democracy and Religion: Happily Married or Destined for Divorce?’ 

Welcoming remarks at the event were given by Professor Tina Beattie, Professor of Catholic... more

Image for The Archon 2nd International Conference on Religious Freedom, Berlin 4-5 December 2013

Professor Cole Durham attended the Second International Conference on Religious Freedom: "Tearing Down Walls: Achieving Religious Equality in Turkey", held Germany, December 4 and 5, 2013.  This "extraordinary, historic and watershed event" was organized and hosted by the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America in cooperation with the Patriarchal Liaison Office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union. The coordination of the local political and church partners was undertaken by the Greek Orthodox Metropolitanate of... more

Image for Islam in the Law: Sharia, Secularism, and Society in the Euro-Mediterranean Region, Ifrane, Morocco

The Center co-sponsored conference "Islam in the Law: Sharia, Secularism, and Society in the Euro-Mediterranean Region" was held November 7-9 at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. Welcomes by Dean Nisar Messari of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor T. Jeremy Gunn both of Al Akhawayn, were followed by keynote addresses by Professor Olivier Roy, European University Institute, and Tahir Mahmood, Professor of Eminence & Honorary Chair, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Amity International University.

Other speakers were Professors Cole Durham and James Toronto of Brigham Young University; Professor Gerhard Robbers, University of Trier; Professor Alessandro Ferrari, University of Milan; Professor Blandine Chelini-Pont, University Aix-Marseilles; Professor Javier Martínez-Torrón, Complutense University; Professor Mohammed Mouaquit, Hassan II... more

Image for Brett Scharffs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 2-4 November 2013

ICLRS Associate Director Brett Scharffs participated in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) Institute of World Religions China Social Sciences Forum – World Religions and the Dialogue of Civilizations – held in Beijing on November 2-4, 2013. Professor Scharffs addressed the question, "Can Public Reason Accommodate Conscience?" 

Scharffs noted that public reason as a framework for political dialogue has come to have a force in American and European political thought that might have come as a surprise even to its most articulate contemporary defender... more

Image for China Certificate Training Program Alumni Meet in Beijing
China Training 2012

Alumni from the first four annual Certificate Training Programs in Religion and the Rule of Law gathered in Beijing on Saturday, November 1, 2013, to discuss the future of religion and the rule of law in China and elsewhere in Asia, and to share their recent research. Thirty former participants in the Certificate Training Programs from 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 participated in the meeting, which is one of four regional "midyear" conferences being held during October and November in various cities in China. International Center for Law and Religion Studies Associate Director Brett Scharffs participated in the meeting and made a presentation about law and religion fellowships at BYU Law School. A Fifth Certificate Training Program will be held in Beijing in July 2014.

Image for Second Certificate Training Program on Religion and the Rule of Law in Vietnam

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS, Brigham Young University), in partnership with the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) and the University of Social Science and Humanities (USSH at Vietnam National University Hanoi) hosted the second ten-day certificate training program on "Religion and the Rule of Law" in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, from 16-25 September 2013. This program is designed to systematically build an intellectual infrastructure to help guide the current and emerging generation of Vietnamese scholars, government officials, policy advisors, and religious leaders, as they work to improve policy on religious freedom in their own contexts. The process is intended... more

Image for Brett Scharffs Presents on Moving Beyond Balancing at International Symposium on Freedom and Security, Istanbul, 30-31 October 2013

J. Reuben Clark Law School Associate Dean Brett Scharffs presented a paper, Freedom and Security: Beyond the Balancing Metaphor at an International Symposium in Istanbul, Turkey on October 30-31, 2013. The symposium focused on the balance between freedom and security in fighting against terrorism and was sponsored by the Justice Academy of Turkey, and included scholars, journalists, judges, and government officials from around the world. In his paper, Dean Scharffs noted that when freedom and security come into conflict we instinctively turn to metaphors involving balancing to guide our discussions of the tradeoffs that certain situations seem to demand. Thinking in terms of balancing is natural... more

Image for Freedom to Flourish: Is Religious Freedom Necessary for Peace, Prosperity, and Democracy? Berkley Center at Georgetown University, 10 October 2013

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies co-sponsored Day Two of the conference "Freedom to Flourish: Is Religious Freedom Necessary for Peace, Prosperity, and Democracy?" held 10 October 2013 at the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

A Keynote Conversation: Whither the First Freedom? Debating the Current State and Possible Future of Religious Liberty in America, moderated by journalist Jane Little, feature prominent panelists E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, Ross Douthat of the New York... more

Image for Summer Certificate Training Program in China: Religion and the Rule of Law

The fourth Summer Certificate Training Program in China, Religion and the Rule of Law, took palce at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing, PRC, July 15-26, 2013. The event was sponsored by The Center for Constitutional and Administrative Law, Peking University Law School; the Pu Shi Institute for Social Science; and the Beijing Foreign Studies University. Cole Durham, Brett Scharffs, and Law Student Carl Hollan attended from Brigham Young University.

Chinese speakers particpating
... more
Image for Conference in Moscow: The Religious Factor in the Socio-Political Life of Modern Russia

The conference "The Religious Factor in the Socio-Political Life of Modern Russia: Religion, and Law in Public Policy" was held in Moscow on 28 May 2013 in the Great Hall of the Academic Council of the Institute of Europe. Organizers of the conference included the Academy of Labor and Social Relations, Department of Sociology and Management of Social Relations and the Center of Religious Study "ReligoPolis" (Moscow, Russia); the Family Center and the International Center of Law and Religious Studies, both of Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah, USA); the Russian Orthodox... more

Image for Brett Scharffs at 'Human Rights and the Islamic World: The Case of Iraq', Istanbul

Professor Brett G. Scharffs, Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Britham Young University, presented the paper "The Right of Fair Trial and Independence of Judiciary in Iraq" at the International Symposium "Human Rights and Justice in Iraq," held in Istanbul, Turkey 23-24 May 2013.

Among the other international experts particiapting in the Symposium were Av. Necati Ceylan, Secretary-General of the International Union of Lawyers; Prof. Dr. Zekeriya Kurşun, Chairman of ORDAF; Av. Cavit Tatlı, Chairman of Lawyers Association; Prof.... more

Image for Third ICLARS Conference: Religion, Democracy, and Equality, 21-23 August 2013

The International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS) held its third bi-annual conference—Religion, Democracy, and Equality—August 21-23, 2013 in Virginia, United States. The conference, organized under the direction of the ICLARS Steering Committee, featured presentations by more than 90 international experts. The keynote address was given by Heiner Bielefeldt, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. 

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, was pleased to play a supportive role in the organization and sponsoring of the conference, under the direction of ICLARS President and ICLRS Director, W. Cole Durham, Jr. 

The organizers of the conference are particularly grateful for the invaluable assistance of attorney Megan Healey Taylor and Southern Virginia University student Nicholas Gaughan, as well as Olga Medina, assistant to Scott Isaacson at Kirton | McConkie Law in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Co-sponsors of the conference included the University of Virginia School of Law, the Institute of Bill of Rights Law of William & Mary Law School, and the First Freedom Center. The organizers extend special thanks to Southern Virginia University and Glade M. and Kathleen Knight.

For more information see the the links below.

Image for XIII Coloquio del Consorcio Latinoamericano de Libertad Religiosa

The Consorcio Latinoamericano de Libertad Religiosa held its 13th Annual Colloquium – "Libertad Religiosa, Igualdad y Autonomía de las Entidades Religiosas" – August 19-21, 2013 at Randolph-Macon University near Richmond, Virginia. The conference was sponsored by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University. Center Director W. Cole Durham, Jr., who is also President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS, Milan, Italy), was the keynote speaker.

The Conorcio Latinoamericano de Libertad Religiosa is the foremost academic association for scholars... more

Image for Oxford Conference: International Protection of Religious Freedom, Emerging Issues

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies of the J. Reuben Clark Law School and the Brigham Young University London Centre sponsored the conference "International Protection of Religious Freedom: Emerging Issues", held at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, 18-19 June 2013.

This conference was a central event of the inaugural Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Summer Academy. Among those attending were ICLRS Director W. Cole Durham, Jr., President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS, Milan) and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion; ICLRS Associate Director and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of the J. Reuben Clark Law School Brett G. Scharffs, who is a member of the Advisory Board of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion; and Donlu Thayer, ICLRS Managing Editor and... more

Image for Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Summer Academy 2013

The first Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Summer Academy was held 17-21 June 2013 at Regent's Park College and Harris Manchester College, Oxford, UK. Featured themes of the Academy included religious rights, religious minorities, iinternational law and international relations; law, religion and politics in the Middle East; legal protection of holy places; political theology; and international law and the Christian tradition. Speaking and chairing panels at the Academy were Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Editors-in-Chief Cole Durham and Julian Rivers, as well as Peter Petkoff, the Journal's Managing Director, and Donlu Thayer, Journal Case Note Editor. Other Journal editors attending were Jessica GilesCase Note Editor, Rhodri Jackson, Senior Publisher and Open Editor, and Maxine Daniels, Senior Production Editor.... more

Image for Freedom of Religion Panel and Conference at Central European University, 7-8 June 2103

A panel discussion of issues surrounding church-state relations in Hungary, followed by a conference devoted to discussion freedom of religion and non-discrimination, was held at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 7-8 June 2013. The events were organized by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, United States and Central European University, Legal Studies Department, Hungary. Both events took place in the Popper Room, Nador u. 9, Monument Building, CEU.

The morning of Day One featured two panel discussions on Freedom of Religion and Church State Relations in Hungary: The State of Play After the Fourth Amendment of the Fundamental Law. The first panel (9:00 am), "Freedom of Religion and Church State Relations: The Old and the New Legislative Framework", was chaired by Renáta Uitz (CEU Legal Studies), with panelists Balázs Schanda (Péter Pázmány Catholic University... more

Image for Professor David Kirkham at LARSN Annual Conference

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... more

Image for David Kirkham Keynote Speaker at Armenia State and Church Conference

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... more

Image for Side Event about Human Rights in Russia at the UN in Geneva – 29 April 2013

"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

Image for Challenges for Democracy: Religion, Law and Dialogue in the CIS and Baltics

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 scholars and government leaders from the CIS and Baltics to look at law and religion issues in this region.

The conference organizing committee consisted of Ringolds Balodis, University of Latvia; Elizabeth Clark and Cole Durham, Brigham Young University; Ekaterina Elbakyan, Academy of Labor and Social Relations (Moscow); Merilin Kiviorg, Oxford University; Andrei Tatarchuk, Baltic International Academy; and Renata Uitz, Central European University. 

The conference was sponsored by the Baltic International Academy; the... more

Image for Conference on Law and Religion in Africa — University of Ghana, 14-15 January 2013

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

Image for China Social Science Forum: Religious Charities and Social Development 2012
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.  

Image for Certificate Training Program on Religion and the Rule of Law in Vietnam – December 2012
Far right: Brett Scharffs, Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University

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 that contributes to religious freedom and the well-being of society.

The program trained over 80 Vietnamese government officials, researchers... more

Image for International Conference Religious Education in the World Today 2012

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

Image for RELIGARE Final Conference: Religious Diversity and Secular Models in Europe

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

Image for Scharffs at Beijing Forum【2012 Panel II】on Faith and Society in a Global Age

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

Image for Which Model, Whose Liberty? Conference at Georgetown University, 11 October 2012
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

Image for US Representatives at Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw
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

Image for Assembly of the Latin American Consortium for Religious Liberty Held in Bogota

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

Image for International Religious Liberty Association 14th Meeting of Experts

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 EuropeParticipants included members of the panel of experts... more

Image for China Certificate Training Program 2012

By Liu Peng
Pushi Institute for Social Science

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... more

Image for Year of Russian History: State – Individual – Faith, 18-19 June 2012
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.

Image for Scharffs at Roundtable on Law and Religion in Australia, 21-22 June 2012

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]

Image for Seminar on the Autonomy of the Church in the Recent Case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and of the USA Supreme Court - 13 June 2012

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