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The 21st Annual International Law and Religion Symposium opened on Sunday evening, October 5, 2014, in the Moot Court Room of the J. Reuben Clark Law School on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Those in attendance and listening in via live webinar were welcomed by Law School Dean James R. Rasband and Brigham Young University President Kevin J Worthen. Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the Symposium's sponsoring organization, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, presented the Center's Distinguished Service Award to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who... more
The 21st annual International Law and Religion Symposium has concluded at Brigham Young University Law School in Provo, Utah. This year 80 invited delegates, from 40 countries, addressed the theme "Varieties of Secularism, Religion, and the Law."
The Symposium opened Sunday evening, 5 October, with welcoming remarks by Dean of the BYU Law School, James R. Rasband and President of Brigham Young University, Kevin J Worthen, himself a former Dean of the Law School. The Keynote Address was given by United States Senator for Utah Orrin Hatch, who also was presented with the Center's Distinguished Service Award, by Professor W Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.
This year's delegates included scholars, government officials, journalists, and religious and civic leaders from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, France, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia... more
Professor Robert T. Smith, Managing Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, testified on 18 September 2014 before the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, on the topic "Protecting International Freedom." Other experts testifying at the hearing were:
- The Honorable Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, U.S. Department of State
- Katrina Lantos Swett, Ph.D., Chair, U.S. Commission on International
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies was pleased to present awards to ten outstanding students from the J. Reuben Clark Law School on March 26, 2014, at the Law School's annual Barrister's Ball.
Receiving Meritorius Service Awards for a variety of contributions to the work of the Center were Michelle Jeffs, Carl Hollan, and Eimi Priddis. Outstanding Service Awards, recognizing three years of service to the annual International Law and Religion Symposium were presented to Cherise Bacalski, Jorge Gavilanes, Erica Berrett, Natalia Peterson, Joshua Bishop, Daniel Scow, Kia Hohaia, Michelle Jeffs, and Eimi Priddis.
On 5 March 2014, Dean Brett G. Scharffs presented the fifth and final lecture in the BYU Law School's 2014 World of Law brown bag series, designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to hear top legal scholars from BYU Law School address critical issues in the world. Dean Scharffs, who is Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law as well as Associate Dean of the Law School and Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, spoke on Religious Freedom, outlining three ways that law students help with this important work:
- Learning: Classes and seminars on US and international freedom of religion.
- Advocacy: Opportunities to work on Supreme Court briefs in pending
Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr., Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, was the keynote speaker at a Regional consultation on Promoting the Freedom of Religion or Belief in ASEAN in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 19-20 February 2014. The event was 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
Renata Uitz (Hungary), Cole Durham, Janet Ep Buckingham (Canada), Judge Françoise Tulkens (European Court of Human Rights)
Photo by Page Johnson
In a crowded, wood-paneled mock courtroom at a recent conference on religious liberty in Provo, delegates from 40 countries listened intently through their headphones as translators scrambled to integrate 15 languages, ranging from Macedonian to Vietnamese.
At the podium, a South African judge told how he twice overruled parental religious objections, forcing them to allow their child a blood transfusion. "I think in both cases the parents were eventually happy that their children survived," he said.
A Malaysian lawyer later stood to condemn any religious influence in public life. "Human rights is the enemy of all religions," he said, his perspective bent under the weight of a heavy-handed Muslim majority at home. “Human rights stem from... more