Andee Devore was recently spotlighted by the BYU Law School. A member of the 2017 BYU Law Graduating Class, Andee served the Center as Co-Chair of the Documents Committee for the 2016 Annual Symposium. She was also a recipient of the Center's 2017 Outstanding Service Award.
From BYU Law School Website:
Helping others heal has been an important aspiration of BYU Law student Andee DeVore ‘17. She originally intended to fulfill this desire by attending medical school. She had completed her medical pre-requisite courses and graduated in public health when she... more
From the website of Cardus Law: This critical paper on religious freedom and its relationship to the State by Professor Brett Scharffs of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University poses an important question: why should anyone care about religious freedom? The question here, though, is specifically directed towards those who are indifferent or hostile to, or uninformed about religious freedom.
Prof. Scharffs proceeds to examine a number of the crucial debates around freedom of religion and conscience through both an historical prism and by reviewing recent American jurisprudence... more
From The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - EU Office Report
On Monday 10 April, the European Union Office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) held another event in its “Food for Thought” Breakfast Series entitled “Why Religious Freedom? Why the Religiously Committed and the Religiously Indifferent Should Care”. The aim of the event was to examine the modern articulation of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), and address questions and issues including the relationship between religious freedom and human rights, the economic aspect of FoRB, and more. Guest speaker was Professor Brett Scharffs, the new director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU, Utah. ... more
Tanner Bean, McKenna Mills Collins,
Jessica Farnsworth, Joshua Prince
Four members of the Center Management Board competed in the Touro Law Center's Fourth Annual National Law and Religion Moot Court. The two teams, 3Ls Tanner Bean and McKenna Mills Collins, and 2Ls Jessica Farnsworth and Joshua Prince, each wrote an appellate brief as if briefing for the U.S. Supreme Court, on both sides of a religious freedom issue. Specifically, the students argued whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding from Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. E.E.O.C., concerning the ministerial exception’s application to employment discrimination claims, should extend to cover wrongful termination claims about breach of contract and retaliatory discharge. Then, on April 2-3, 2017, the students traveled to Touro Law Center in Central Islip, New York, to compete in the oral portion of the competition, arguing both sides of the case. Jessica Farnsworth and Joshua Prince’s oral advocacy earned them a finish in the octo-finals of the competition. Tanner Bean and McKenna Mills advanced to the quarter-finals of the competition.
The BYU Law School held its annual Barrister's Ball and Awards Banquet at the Provo City Marriott on Wednesday 29 March 2017. The banquet and ball are an opportunity to recognize students and faculty for outstanding achievement over the past year.
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies recognized nine law students for their dedicated service to the Center and to the cause of international religious freedom. Founding Director Cole Durham presented the award to Laura Shrum, Cami Schiel, Scott Ludlow, Bradley Rebeiro, Cara Duchene, McKenna Mills Collins, Andee Gempeler DeVore, Michael Goodrich, and John Sellers (not pictured). These students have served many hours as Student Research Fellows, on the Student Management Board, or the Symposium Student Executive Committee. Some have attended regional conferences and contributed to Center projects. We thank them for their service and wish them well as they move on from law school.
Under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program, representatives of the Kurdistan Regional Government's Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs visited the Center. The delegation included the Spokesperson and Director General of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs (MERA), who was responsible for creating Directorates for all of the religious minorities within the Ministry to assure that underrepresented groups had a voice within the government. Other ministry delegates represented Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian communities.
Objectives of the visit included helping MERA strengthen interfaith cooperation... more
Associate Director Elizabeth Clark presented a paper at Pepperdine Law School's Nootbaar Institute Conference, "Religious Critiques of Law", on March 9-10, 2017.
This year's conference theme, Religious Critiques of Law, was centered around Tom Shaffer's premise in his book American Lawyers and Their Communities that lawyers need to see the problems of a religious congregation from the viewpoint of the house of worship, not just the courthouse. Speakers were encouraged to support or challenge Shaffer’s notion that religious critiques of law are of value. Professor Clark was one of several speakers from a wide variety of religious traditions addressing the law from their traditions. Her paper "Mormon Postmodern Critiques of the Nature of Law" looked at understanding freedom in LDS doctrines and how that contributes to Mormon willingness to engage in dialogue on social issues.
Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies Brett Scharffs joined colleagues from the Institute for Global Engagement in Vietnam from 7-10 March 2017 to conduct a "Religion and Rule of Law" (RROL) certificate training, in partnership with the University of Social Sciences and Humanities of Vietnam National University. For more on the Center's work in collaboration with Vietnam, please see this link. For a report on the Vietnam Central Highlands event, we are grateful for the report from IGE, below.
Press Release March 17, 2017: From 7 to 10 March 2017 the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), in partnership with the Vietnam National University’s University of Social Sciences and Humanities and Brigham Young University’s International Center for Law and Religion... more
Professor Brett Scharffs, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, spent two weeks in Myanmar in late February and early March as part of the second Religion and the Rule of Law Training program, held in Mandalay, and a subsequent discussion in Yangon, hosted by Sitagu International Buddhist Academy. Please see below the press release from one of the Center's partners in the endeavor, the Washington DC based Institute for Global Engagement.
Press Release: The Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), in partnership with the Mandalay Community Center in Myanmar and Brigham Young University’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies (BYU), co-convened a 10-day certificate program on Religion and Rule of Law from 20 February to 1 March 2017 in Mandalay,... more
Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona will be a keynote speaker at the 2017 Religious Freedom Annual Review. As a member of the US Senate, Senator Flake sits on the Judiciary Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Foreign Relations Committee where he also serves as chairman of Subcommittee on African Affairs.
Hosted by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies of BYU Law School, the Annual Review provides an up-to-date review for lawyers and nonlawyers on religious freedom challenges in the United States and around the world. This year's Review will be held July 6-7. Early bird registration is available until May 15, here.
Senator Flake is a fifth-generation Arizonan who was raised on a cattle ranch in Snowflake, Arizona. The town was named in part for Senator Flake's great-great grandfather. After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day... more
The Center was honored and most pleased to enjoy the visit of Professor Akinola Ibidapo-Obe and his wife, Dolapo, to Provo during the 2016-2017 school year. Professor Ibidapo-Obe ("Professor Akin") is former dean of the Faculty of Law and former director of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria. As a visiting scholar at BYU Law School Professor Akin was part of the teaching team for the advanced courses in International Protection of Religious Freedom and U.S. Church and State, taught by Professors Brett Scharffs and Cole Durham.
Professor Akin has been a key figure in several successful events sponsored by the Center in Nigeria over the past two years, beginning with his hosting, as Dean of the Faculty of Law at Lagos, an international conference "Towards Law and Religious Freedom in Africa" in February 2015, and including... more
Dr. Gannoune Diop accepts award from Elder Lance B. Wickman and W. Cole Durham, Jr.
Photo courtesy of Mormon Newsroom.
Dr. Ganoune Diop, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, was given the Thomas L. Kane Religious Freedom Award by the J. Reuben Clark Law Society (Brigham Young University) recently in Philadelphia.
In presenting the award, Elder Lance B. Wickman, general counsel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and emeritus member of the Seventy, thanked Dr. Diop for being a friend of the Church like Thomas L. Kane was a friend to the Church.
During its annual conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania... more
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University is honored to announce that Dr. Ján Figeľ, the European Commission's first Special Envoy for promotion of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) outside the European Union, has accepted the invitation to join the Center's Academic Advisory Board. The fourteen members of this distinguished group of globally recognized scholars make outstanding contributions to illuminating the intricacies of religious freedom principles and promoting enlightened discussion of those principles, significantly advancing the Center's mission and the cause of religious freedom throughout the world. Since his appointment as Special Envoy in May 2016, Dr. Figeľ has worked tirelessly throughout the world to fulfill his mission, and in the process has enriched a great many of the Center's endeavors... more
Professor Brett Scharffs, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU Law School, has been named to the Board of Advisors of the newly organized Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) based in Washington, DC. RFI is an outgrowth of the Religious Freedom Project (RFP) at Georgetown University's Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. Formation of the new entity, which is "committed to achieving broad acceptance of religious liberty as a fundamental human right, the cornerstone of a successful society, and a source of national and international security," was spearheaded by RFP partners Thomas Farr, Timothy Shah, Byron Johnson, and Kent Hill. Professor Scharffs is an alumnus of Georgetown University, where he earned a BSBA in international business and an MA in philosophy.... more
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University Law School is pleased to announce that Adesina J. Olukanni, recently retired as the Director of Public Affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for Africa West Area, has accepted an invitation to serve as the Center's Senior Fellow for Africa. He was the Country Director in Nigeria for Church Education Systems between April 2004 and March 2007. He came into Public Affairs in April of 2007 as the Director of Public Affairs for the Church in the Africa West Area and the Africa South East Area.
Adesina has served in numerous Church positions, including high counsellor, branch president, district president’s counsellor, district president, mission president’s counsellor, stake president... more
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU Law School is pleased to announced that Erlend "Pete" Peterson, recently retired from service as Brigham Young University's Associate International Vice President, has accepted a position as Center Senior Fellow for the Middle East.
During his fifty years of full-time employment at BYU, Pete served in several professional positions in Admissions and Records (35 years), as Assistant Dean, Associate Dean, and Dean of Admissions and Records (25 years). For the past 15 years he was Associate International Vice President, which included many international roles and hosting, including a close working relationship with the International Center for Law and Religion... more
Top of Mind with Julie Rose, a BYU radio show focused on current events, interviewed Associate Director Elizabeth Clark in regards to recent religious freedom issues under President Trump. Professor Clark shared her insights on the Johnson Amendment and the President's threats to repeal it, concerns surrounding the potential loss of tax exempt status for various churches and ancillary organizations associated with churches, the perception that religious freedom implies discrimination, and the recent travel ban.
While discussing the clash between those who believe that... more
Center Director Brett Scharffs paper, "Why Religious Freedom? Why the Religiously Committed, the Religiously Indifferent and Those Hostile to Religion Should Care" has been listed on Social Science Research Network's (SSRN) Top Ten download list in four categories: "Human Rights, Justice for Nonhuman Animals, Ecologies, Environments"; "Race, Ethnicity & Identity Politics"; Political Behavior eJournals"; and "U.S. Constitutional Law: Rights & Liberties eJournals".
The paper is available for download on SSRN at this link. The abstract for the paper is below:
Religious freedom: Is it the grandparent of human rights, or the neglected stepchild? As with... more
The Center was privileged to be able to enjoy contributions from Professor Alan E. Brownstein, who joined the BYU Law faculty during the 2016 fall semester as a distinguished visiting professor. He taught the law school course on the Fourteenth Amendment, and joined Professors Brett Scharffs and Cole Durham in teaching US Church and State and Internationial Protection of Religious Freedom. He also attended and acted as a moderator at the Center-sponsored International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies conference in Oxford, England, in September.
A nationally recognized Constitutional Law scholar, Brownstein is Professor of Law and Boochever and Bird Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality at UC Davis School of Law. He was an attorney in general litigation and corporate... more
Summit speakers and organizers
The Summit on Religious Freedom, an Interfaith Invitation, took place at the First Baptist Orlando Faith Hall in Orlando, Florida on 31 January 2017. ICLRS Founding Director Cole Durham took part along with other renowned religious freedom experts.
Professor Durham spoke on "The Continuing Need for Vigilance Concerning Religious Freedom". He pointed out that while we have been blessed with a rich tradition of religious liberty, there is a continuing need to guard against erosion of this first freedom. He cited examples of this erosion and offered concrete recommendations for action.
At a meeting of international religious scholars in New Delhi in January 2017 a new entity was launched, an academic, apolitical and non-governmental regional association to be known as the South Asia Consortium for Religion and Law Studies [SACRALS]. with Professor Tahir Mahmood as its first president. Professor Brett Scharffs and Professor Cole Durham, the Director and Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) at Brigham Young University, along with members of the Center's International Advisory Council, attended the launch.
Religion and Law Studies – encompassing theoretical and empirical studies and research on the relationship between state, law, and religion in a human rights perspective – is a fast-growing academic discipline being pursued in many leading universities across the globe. The International Center for Religion... more
L-R: Swami Agnivesh, Brett Scharffs, Ján Figel’, Cole Durham
The conference "Peace, Stability, and Sustainable Development: The Role of Religion" took place in Hyderabad, India from 13-15 January 2017. The conference was co-sponsored by the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) University of Law, India; the International Center for Law and Religion Studies of Brigham Young University Law School, United States; and King and Diane Husein.
The opening session featured an inaugural address by Neera Chandhoke, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi, New Delhi, and speakers Ján Figel’, Special Envoy for Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) outside the European Union, European Commission, Slovakia; and W. Cole Durham, Jr., Susa Young Gates University Professor and Founding... more
The recordings and photos of the 23rd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, "Religious Rights in a Pluralistic World", are now available. All keynote sessions were recorded in 13 different languages and many of the breakout sessions were translated to multiple languages. Select the language by changing "English" in the upper right corner to the language of choice to filter the selections by language availability. Closed captioning is available on all English language recordings.
The recordings will appear in a slightly different format this year. Rather than... more
Recordings of sessions for the Fourth Conference of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS), held 8-11 September 2016 at St. Hugh's College, Oxford, UK are now available on the website of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) at Brigham Young University. ICLRS was the primary co-sponsor of the event, along with the University of Milan, and the Religion, Law and International Relations Programme of the Centre for Christianity and Culture of Regent's Park College, Oxford.... more
"New Conceptual Challenges Regarding Freedom of Religion of Belief"
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies participated in the organization of a Series of Discussions at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, on 17-18 November 2016. Attending the event were Center Founding Director Cole Durham and Director Brett Scharffs, along with Senior Editor Donlu Thayer and members of the International Advisory Council Duane and Erlyn Madsen. Also involved in organizing the event was Grégor Puppinck, director of the European Centre for Law and Justice, who attended with colleagues Thierry Rambaud, Vincent Cador, Claire de La Hougue, and Jean-Pierre Schoupe.
Other participants included Ján Figel’, Special Envoy for Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the European Union, and Australian barrister and legal academic Neville Rochow and his wife, Penelope, who are serving as government relations representatives... more
Associate Director Elizabeth Clark participated in a religious freedom symposium on November 12, 2016 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Hosted by the J. Reuben Clark Law Society’s Salt Lake City and S.J. Quinney College of Law Chapters, the symposium speakers addressed different aspects of religious freedom.
Professor Clark delivered the keynote address. She provided an overview of the fundamental principles of religious freedom, including the benefits to society that religious freedom provides.
Other speakers included Shawn Gunnarson, First Amendment Attorney at Kirton & McKonkie; Gary McKean, attorney and member of the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention; James Sonne, founding director of Stanford Law School’s Religious Liberty Clinic; and Hannah... more
"Law, Religion, Equality, and Dignity" was the theme of the Restoring Religious Freedom Conference held at the Emory University School of Law on 6-7 of November 2016. Professor Cole Durham joined Ján Figel’, EU Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, in a conversation titled "A Century of Genocides: Is Better Accommodation of Conscience an Answer?" in a Sunday evening session co-sponsored by the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Freedom of Religion Project. This event, which also commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the Emory University School of... more
International Center for Law and Religion Studies Associate Director Gary Doxey was a participant in four different religious freedom events in São Paulo, Brazil in November.
On 3 November 2016, Professor Doxey addressed the Commission on Religious Freedom of the Ordem de Advogados do Brasil (OAB), the Brazilian Bar Association. The next day, 4 November 2016, he gave a lecture and participated in a debate at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). The event was titled "O Direito Comparado de Liberdade Religiosa no Brasil, Europa e Estados Unidos" (Comparative Law of Religious Freedom in Brazil, Europe and the United States). The debate was moderated by Professor Rodrigo Medina Zagni.
Professor Doxey spoke on 5 November 2016 on the topic of "Freedom of Religion Threats and Challenges" at Universidade Adventista de São Paulo (UNASP). He joined religious leaders and religious freedom advocates... more
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 projects, and help to maintain the Center's international web presence.
The Center is pleased to announce this year's fourteen fellows: ... more
Center Associate Director Elizabeth Clark contributed a chapter in Religious Freedom and Communities, edited by Dwight Newman and published by LexisNexis in October 2016. The book is a collection of papers that brings together leading experts of a variety of legal, religious and indigenous communities' backgrounds, to provide analytical commentary, of a sort useful to practitioners trying to think through tough questions, on the issues related to community and institutional aspects of religious freedom. According to the editor, the collection seeks to explore "cutting-edge questions related to the community and institutational aspects of religious freedom." It is structured "to be readable as a somewhat cohesive whole, progressing through a series of different approaches and issues."
Professor Clark contributed the chapter "International and Comparative Law Protections of Collective... more
Brett Scharffs, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, contributed to the recently published Religious Liberty: Essays on First Amendment Law. Available from Cambridge University Press, this latest publication from the Wheatley Institution is a collection of essays from leading thinkers on why Freedom of Religion and Conscience are vital to society. It is the third in a series of books published by the Wheatley Institution over the last four years. The book seeks to address modern questions regarding the role and separation of Church and State, and to help citizens answer some of the fundamentally difficult questions about the First Amendment.
Professor Scharffs contributed an essay titled "Our Schizophrenic Attitude Towards Corporate Conscience". Other contributors include Thomas Griffith, Daniel N.... more
Brett Scharffs, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, and Gary Doxey, Associate Director, participated in the South American Forum for Religious Freedom. held 9-11 November 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The forum theme was "Religious Freedom, the Essence of Human Equality". Researchers, teachers, religious leaders and ministers, political leaders and public officials, journalists, professionals related to religious freedom, and other interested persons gathered to discuss freedom of religion and its relationship to state, education, and practices of worship.
Professor Scharffs presented a paper in a plenary session on the topic "Why religious freedom? Why... more
Lena Larsen, Mark Lattimer, Nazila Ghanea
Professors Cole Durham and Brett Scharffs participated in a Center co-sponsored conference hosted by The Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights of the University of Oslo Faculty of Law 26-27 October 2016 at the Lysebu Hotel and Conference Center in Oslo. The conference 'The Politicisation of Forb for Better or Worse', saw the launch of new Oslo principles on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
In addition to the Oslo Coalition and ICLRS, the event was co-sponsored by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Fritt Ord.  ... more
In an event that took place at the United Nations in New York City on 28 October 2016, Professor Heiner Bielefeldt provided a thoughtful retrospective look at his six-year tenure as UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Professor Bielefeldt was to be joined by Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, set to replace Professor Bielefeldt in office on November 1, but laryngitis prevented Mr. Shaheed from joining him.
Stephen Hickey, Political Counsellor at the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York welcomed the group and made brief remarks on freedom of religion and belief. David Colton, representative in New York for LDS Charities, acted as the moderator of the event. Professor Bielefeldt's... more
Center Founding Director Cole Durham and Center Director Brett Scharffs made presentations at a major conference at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Wednesday and Thursday, October 19-20, 2016.
The conference, "Preventing Violent Extremism by building inclusive and plural societies: How Freedom of Religion or Belief can help", brought together international parliamentarians, diplomats, academics, journalists, faith leaders, and civil society representatives.
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Boris Johnson, said, "Our immediate goal is to destroy Daesh, a failing movement that is firmly on the road to defeat. But this conference is about preventing extremism from taking root in the first place by examining how to combat poisonous ideologies at their source."
Professor Durham spoke of the role of education in building acceptance of different faiths or beliefs among children. He drew upon his experience helping draft the Toledo Guidelines on education about religion, part of an OSCE project.
Professor Scharffs spoke about Center educational... more
Professor Brett G. Scharffs. Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law and Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU Law School, delivered the University Forum Address on 18 October 2016, in the Marriott Center on the BYU Campus. His address was titled "Audacious Faith: Appreciating the Unique Power and Singular Appeal of LDS Doctrine". The Forum was broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, and BYUradio. You may view or listen to Professor Scharffs' address at this link.
Photo Credit: Maria Bryk/Newseum
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies of Brigham Young University Law School and the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute brought together on 7 October 2016 at the Newseum Knight Conference Center in Washington DC, key scholars and actors involved in government responses to religious restrictions, to address pressing issues concerning the International Protection of Religious Freedom.
Professor Brett G. Scharffs, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, moderated a panel comprising Rabbi David N. Saperstein, the US State Department's Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom; Honorable Ján Figel, the European... more
The award was presented at the International Religious Liberty Awards Dinner held at the Hotel Monaco in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, 6 October 2016. A keynote address was given by Dr. David Holland, Associate Professor at Harvard Divinity School and Advisory Board Member of the National Museum of American Religion. Winners of the 2016 Founding Fathers Student Writing Competition were also recognized at the dinner. See... more
Herman Hofman receives first place award.
The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies are pleased to announce the winners of the Seventh Annual Religious Liberty Student Writing Competition. The winners were announced at the International Religious Liberty Awards Dinner held on Thursday, 6 October 2016 in Washington DC.
First Place $4000: Herman Hofman (Michigan State University College of Law)
Second Place $3000: Courtney Miller (University of Virginia School of Law)
Third Place $2000: Lisa Mathews (George Mason School of Law)
Honorable Mention $1000: Caleb Wolanek and Heidi Liu (Harvard Law School); Nevin Beiler (Regent University School of Law); Jonathan Backer (University of Michigan Law School); William Simpson (Boston University... more
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies was honored to welcome Professor Heiner Bielefeldt, who currently serves as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, as the keynote speaker at the opening session of the 23rd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium on 2 October 2016. At the same meeting Professor Cole Durham presented Professor Bielefeldt with the Center's Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the interest of freedom of religion or belief worldwide.
Professor Bielefeldt was appointed to his position as Special Rapporteur on 18 June 2010, and his term of office will continue until November 1, 2016. He holds both a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tübingen and a post-doctoral... more
The 23rd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University opened on Sunday evening, 2 October 2016, with an outstanding keynote address by Professor Heiner Bielefeldt, who currently serves as the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Professor Cole Durham, Founding Director of the Center, presented Professor Bielefeldt with the Center's Distinguished Service Award, for his outstanding contributions.
This year's truly remarkable Symposium — "Religious Rights in a Pluralistic World" — brought together 95 invited delegates, including scholars, jurists, political and civil society leaders, and religious leaders and religion policy makers from 45 countries, providing them an important opportunity for engagement on issues of religion, law, and policy. Speakers and panelists explored the relationships among religion, pluralism, and religious rights as they addressed such issues as "Religious Rights and Culture," Exemptions, Baselines, and Discrimination: Conceptualizing Religious Rights," and "Minorities, Majorities, and Religious Rights."... more
From September 19-24, 2016, the first-of-its-kind regional certificate training program on religion and the rule of law was held in Lao Cai city in the Northwest Highlands region of Vietnam. Although Lao Cai province has a population of only a little over 600,000, it includes 24 of the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, and a wide array of religious and linguistic communities.
The program was modeled on successful certificate training programs over the past five years held twice in Hanoi, once in Ho Chi Minh City, and once in Danang. This was the first time the program was designed for a primarily regional rather than national audience. More than 70 students participated in the program, including religious leaders, educators, and government and party officials with responsibilities regarding... more
A Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Humanitarian/Migration Crisis was held 17 September 2017, hosted by the International Government Relations Office of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintsin Geneva at the newly dedicated offices of LDS Charities, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, the Kennedy Center for International Studies, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Switzerland in Chambésy, Switzerland.
The keynote speaker at the event was W. Cole Durham, Jr., Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University in Utah, USA; president of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies in Milan, Italy; associate member of the International Academy of Comparative Law in Paris, France; a co-editor... more
Center Director Brett Scharffs participated in a significant international conference in Hanoi, Vietnam on September 15-16, 2016 focusing on issues relating to law and religion in the ASEAN region. The conference included two dozen experts from most of the ten ASEAN countries, as well as the United States. Professor Scharffs made presentations on “The UN Declaration of Human Rights: Foundations of International Standards for Religious Freedom and the Rule of Law,” and on “Regulating Religion: Before registration, at registration, and after registration – advantages and disadvantages.”
The conference was co-organized and co-sponsored by the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, a prestigious university within the Vietnam National University, BYU’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies, and the Institute for Global Engagement.
On September 15, 2016, Center Director Brett Scharffs and Emeritus Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals J. Clifford Wallace were the featured presenters at a workshop organized by the National Assembly of Vietnam on a proposed bill that would regulate religious groups in Vietnam. The two were invited to give foreign scholarly and judicial perspectives on the proposed legislation pending before the National Assembly. Workshop participants were given a Vietnamese translation of the book, Law and Religion: National, International and Comparative Perspectives... more
Professors Cole Durham and Brett Scharffs were invited to participate in the Freedom of Religion or Belief Policy Dialogue on 7 September 2016 at the Houses of Parliament in London, United Kingdom. Convened by the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief (APPG FoRB), the event was structured around two panels, each focused on specific recommendations made in a Policy Brief titled ‘FoRB – Recognising our differences can be our strength: Enhancing transatlantic cooperation on promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief’.
Key recommendations made in the brief were... more
Hosted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and jointly sponsored by the Institute of World Religions and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University, a unique event took place in Beijing, China, 30 August – 1 September 2016, simultaneously with the meeting of world leaders for the G20 Economic Summit in Hangzhou. Chinese scholars joined with other international experts to discuss the topic “Dialogue among Civilizations and Community of Common Destiny for All Mankind".... more
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to announce the 2016-2017 Student Management Board. Members of the board are chosen based on their interest in law and religion and their skills in writing, research, editing, and languages. These excellent law students speak a variety of languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Korean, French, and Russian. Throughout the school year they will participate in research, writing and editing projects, conferences, and other assignments with the Center. The 2016-2017 Board Members are third-year students Tanner Bean, Jeremy Driggs, Raquel Flores-Vera, Michael Goodrich, and McKenna Mills, and second-year students Reed Adlish, Alexander Alton, Sarah Clifford, Jessica Farnsworth, Lauren Flores, Rebecca Horne, Ryan Hughes, Minji Kim, Thomas Palmer, Joshua Prince, and Benjamin Thornell.
Photo credit: Nelu Burcea
A group of scholars gathered together on August 16-18, 2016, at Harvard University for the 18th 'Meeting of Experts'. The international panel of scholars and attorneys is convened annually by the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), an independent advocacy organization founded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This year's meeting focused on the paradox that while the principle of religious freedom is gaining foothold within international law, restrictions on religious practice continue to rise.
Professor Cole Durham was among the esteemed presenters at the meeting. Other presenters included David Little, Professor Emeritus of Harvard Divinity School; Rosa Maria Martines de Codes, History Professor at Complutense University in Madrid; Pasquale Annichino, Research Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy; Dudley Rose, Associate Dean of Harvard Divinity... more
The publishers have announced the release of the Brill Encyclopedia of Law and Religion. General Editors of this five-volume work are Gerhard Robbers, Professor Emeritus at the University of Trier and formerly Minister of Justice and for Consumer Protection of Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany), and W. Cole Durham, Jr,. Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law at Brigham Young University and Founding Director of BYU Law School's International Center for Law and Religion Studies. Associate Editor is Donlu Thayer, the Center's Senior Editor, who is also an Associate Editor of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion.
The editors acknowledge with deep gratitude the contribution of Ashley Isaacson Woolley, whose editorial expertise, applied to essentially every article, contributed immeasurably and essentially to the completion of the work. A number of people associated with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies... more
The publishers have announced the June 2016 release of Religion and Equality: Law in Conflict, edited by International Center of Law and Religions Studies (ICLRS) Founding Director W. Cole Durham, Jr. and ICLRS Senior Editor Donlu D. Thayer. This long-awaited book is first title in the new ICLARS Series in Law and Religion, published by Routledge, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group. Professor Durham, in addition to his role at ICLRS, is second and current President of ICLARS, the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, headquartered in Milan, Italy. The ICLARS Series will officially launch at the Fourth ICLARS Conference, to be held in Oxford, UK, in September 2016.
International Center for Law and Religion Studies Associate Director Professor Gary Doxey and Senior Fellow and Regional Advisor for Latin America Scott Isaacson participated in the XVI Symposium of the Latin American Consortium for Religious Freedom, held at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic University, Campus Alto Parana, in Hernandarias, Paraguay, from 7 to 9 July 2016. The conference, titled "Changes in Legal Protections for Conscientious Objection", took place with the institutional support of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ciudad del Este in... more
The 2016 Religious Freedom Annual Review of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) has concluded at Brigham Young University. Keynote speakers for the event, which took place 7-8 July 2016 in BYU Conference Center, were Elder Lance B. Wickman, General Counsel and Emeritus General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who opened the conference with an address "Promoting Religious Freedom in a Secular Age: Fundamental Principles, Practical Priorities, and Fairness for All"; and Matthew S. Holland, President, Utah Valley University, whose remarks were titled "Religious Liberty v. Secularity: Is the American Founding Still Useful?"
To access the recordings and photos from the July 2016 Religious Freedom Annual Review, please click here.
The Center co-sponsored a conference with the University of Tartu Faculty of Law in Estonia, “Freedom of Religion or Belief in Situations of Crisis: Why Can’t We Get Along,” held June 17-18 in Tallinn, Estonia. The conference addressed current challenges to religious freedom from crisis situations, particularly those associated with the migration crisis in Europe and the conflict in Ukraine. Over 50 speakers touched on both the nature of the challenges and on potential solutions. Topics included:
- Freedom of Religion or Belief of Refugees and Migrants
- Freedom of Religion or Belief in the Conflict Zone
- Hate Speech and Migration
On June 22, 2016, Professor Cole Durham delivered the keynote address and several lectures for a conference and mini-course attended by approximately 500 students and young scholars on "Law, Religion and Development in Africa" at the University of Ilorin, in Ilorin, Nigeria.
The topics covered during the Ilorin conference included:
- Law and Religion Studies in Nigeria: The journey so far.
- Law, Religion and Development.
With many thanks for his hard work and dedication, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies announces the departure of Robert T. Smith, who has served the Center as Managing Director since 2006. Beginning June 22, 2016, Bob will begin a three-year term of service as President of the Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"For the past decade Bob has served the Center with grace and patience," said ICLRS Director Brett Scharffs, "often performing tasks of uncertain and almost limitless... more
On June 20, Professor Cole Durham gave the keynote address for a Judicial Roundtable of approximately 100 judges in Abuja, Nigeria. Among the participants in the Roundtable were Professor Is-haq Oloyede, OFR, The National Coordinator/Secretary, Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) and Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Member Steering Committee ACLARS; Wahab Shittu, Coordinator Center for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos; Hon. Justice Helen Moronkeji Ogunwumiju, Justice of the Court of Appeal, Nigeria; Denise Lindberg, Senior Judge, State of Utah Third Judicial District Court; Hon. Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Representing Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed; Prof Yemi Osinbajo GCON (SAN), Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Hon, Justice A. O. Lukolu-Sodipe, Court of Appeal; Malam A. U. Maidama, representing Hon. Justice R. P. I Bozimo, Administrator, NJI; Professor Akinola Ibidapo-Obe, Dean, Faculty of Law and Director, Centre for Human Rights, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria; and a Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Nigeria.
Professor Cole Durham, Founding Director, International Center for Law and Religion Studies and Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law, Brigham Young University, gave the keynote lecture on Women’s and Children’s Rights in the International Legal Framework at the Summer School on Human Rights sponsored by the Council of European Churches (CEC) in Thessaloniki, Greece May 31-4 June, 2016.
Press Release 6 June 2016, from CEC, Brussels:
The Conference of European Churches, in partnership with the Theological School of Aristotle University, organised the 3rd Annual Summer School on Human Rights “Stand up for Women’s and Children’s Rights!” from 31 May to 4 June in Thessaloniki. More than 90... more
Baroness Elizabeth Berridge, Professor Robert George, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Professor Cole Durham (Photo LDS Church)
International religious freedom experts participating in a Symposium on International Religious Freedom at St. John's College, Oxford on 9 June 2016 were Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Baroness Elizabeth Berridge of the Vale of Catmose, Member of the United Kingdom House of Lords and Founder/Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group; Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and formerly member and chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; W. Cole Durham, Jr., Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law at Brigham Young University, Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, and President of the International... more
L-R: Mark Hill QC, Sir Malcolm Evans, Professor Robert George, Dr. Peter Petkoff, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Professor Cole Durham (Photo LDS Church)
A Round Table Discussion, Freedom of Religion or Belief – Emerging Trends, Challenges and Agendas for Change, took place Wednesday, 8th June 2016, at the House of Lords in London. Participating in the two-hour discussion were Prof Sir Malcolm Evans OBE (Bristol University UK), Prof Mark Hill QC (Cardiff University UK), Prof Robert P. George (Princeton University USA), Elder Dallin H. Oaks (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Prof W. Cole Durham, Jr. (Brigham Young University USA), and Dr Peter Petkoff (Brunel and Regent’s Park College, Oxford UK). The participants were welcomed to Parliament by Baroness Elizabeth Berridge of the Vale of Catmose, Member of the House of Lords and Founder/Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group.... more
ICLRS Director Brett Scharffs participated in the announcement of the creation of the first-of-its-kind Master’s Degree Program on Sharia and Human Rights at Muhammadiyah University in Malang, Indonesia. The announcement came on May 30, 2016, at the opening of the fifth annual Master’s Level Course on Sharia and Human Rights held at the University, which Scharffs has helped organize and teach. The Masters’ level Course (MLC), which began five years ago as a special side-course, has now been approved as an official for-credit course in the University’s curriculum. And now a full Master’s Degree focusing on Sharia and Human Rights will build upon the curriculum used in the MLC.... more
Outgoing BYU Law School Dean James R. Rasband announced the appointment, effective May 1, 2016, of Brett G. Scharffs as the new Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.
The Center, since its beginning on January 1, 2000, has played an internationally significant role in the work of the Law School. With a mission to help secure the blessings of freedom of religion and belief for all people, Center faculty and staff, aided by hundreds of BYU law students, have worked to disseminate knowledge and expertise regarding the interrelationship of law and religion, through scholarship, network building, participation in law-reform processes, and organization and sponsorship of hundreds of conferences, at BYU and throughout the world.... more