Academic Advisory Board

Sophie Christine van Bijsterveld

Member, Dutch Upper House of Parliament
Professor of Law, Religion and Society, Radboud University, Nijmegen

Prof. Dr. S.Ch. Sophie van Bijsterveld graduated in law at the University of Utrecht in 1983. She received a doctorate in Law at Tilburg University in 1988. She was Assistant Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law, Associate Professor of European and International Public Law, and Professor of Religion, State and Society at Tilberg’s School of Humanities. Since September 1, 2014 she has been Professor of Religion, Law and Society at the Radboud University in Nijmegen.  Dr. van Bijsterveld has lectured and published extensively in the fields of (international) human rights protection, religious liberty, constitutional law, and hybrid governance. Among Dr. van Bijsterveld’s more than 200 publications are a great number of the conference papers she has delivered in venues worldwide and the books Burger tussen religie, staat en markt (2012); Overheid en godsdienst: Herijking van een onderlinge relatie (2nd ed. 2009); and The Empty Throne: Democracy and the Rule of Law in Transition (2002).  More …

Carolyn Evans

Vice Chancellor and President, Griffiith University
Queensland, Australia

Professor Carolyn Evans assumed her post as Vice Chancellor and President of Griiffith University in Queensland, Australia, in February 2019. Professor Evans was fomerly Deputy Vice Chancellor (Graduate and International) and Deputy Provost at the University of Melbourne, where she was Harrison Moore Professor of Law and previouisly served as Dean of the Law School. Her teaching and research have been in the areas of constitutional law, human rights and religious freedom. Professor Evans has degrees in Arts and Law from Melbourne University and a doctorate from Oxford University where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar and where she held a stipendiary lectureship for two years before returning to Melbourne in 2000. She also qualified to practice law and is a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria. In 2010, she was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to allow her to travel as a Visiting Fellow at American and Emory Universities to examine questions of comparative religious freedom.  More …

Reverend Doctor Kim-Kwong Chan

Honorary Research Fellow, University Service Center for China Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, China

The Reverend Doctor Kim-Kwong Chan received his undergraduate training in Nutrition (B.Sc.[F.Sc.]) from McGill University and subsequently finished three masters (M.Div., China Graduate School of Theology; M.A., University of Ottawa; S.T.L , Pontifical St Paul University) and two doctoral degrees from University of Ottawa (Ph.D.) and Pontifical St Paul University (D.Th.). He also did graduate studies on Agricultural Economics at University of London and finished a four-year post graduate Advanced Certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy under CAPA (China America Psychoanalytic Alliance). In the academic field, he has held teaching appointments in Medical School, School of Arts, School of Business and Theological Schools in UK, USA, HK, Singapore and China. He had served as the Program Director (later, as Senior Fellow) of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), Washington, D.C. More …

Silvio Ferrari

Professor Emeritus, Università degli Studi di Milano
Milan, Italy

Silvio Ferrari is retired as Professor of Canon Law at the University of Milan and as Professor of Church-State Relations at the University of Leuven in Belgium. He has been visiting professor in Paris (École Pratique des Hautes Études) and Berkeley (University of California) and is working for many international organizations, including the European Union and the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe. He has founded, together with other professors, the European Consortium for Church and State Research. Professor Ferrari is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Institut européen en sciences des religions (EPHE, Paris) and of the Board of Expert of the International Religious Liberty Association (Silver Spring, Maryland). His main fields of interest are Law and Religion issues in West Europe; Comparative Law of Religions (in particular Jewish Law, Canon Law and Islamic Law); Relations between Israel and the Vatican.  More …

Ján Figeľ

International Expert on Freedom of Religion or Belief
Bratislava, Slovakia

Dr. Ján Figeľ was nominated in May 2016 by the European Commission as the first Special Envoy for promotion of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) outside the European Union. Formerly European Commissioner for Education, Training & Culture, Dr. Figeľ has also held other positions such as State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was the Chief Negotiator for Slovakia’s accession into the EU. He joined the Christian Democratic Movement party in 1990 and was elected in 1992 as an MP to the National Council of the Slovak Republic, serving on its Foreign Affairs Committee and becoming a member of Slovakia’s delegation to the Council of Europe. In 1998 he was appointed State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was also the representative of the Slovak government in the European Convention which drafted the European Constitution. From 2004 to 2009 he served as European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism, with a brief stint as Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society.  More …

Mohammad Hashim Kamali

Emeritus Professor, Founding Chairman and CEO, International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Professor Mohammad Hashim Kamali is an Afghan Islamic scholar who has taught and worked for many years in Malaysia. He is Founding Chairman and CEO of the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies, Malaysia (2007—continuing), and a world renowned scholar in his field of specialisation. He served as Professor of Islamic Law and Jurisprudence at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM, 1985–2004); and was Dean of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC, 2004–2006). Currently he is Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia, a Senior Fellow of the Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan, and also Senior Fellow of the Royal Academy of Jordan. He serves on the International Advisory Board of thirteen academic journals published in Malaysia, USA, Canada, Kuwait, India, Australia and Pakistan. Professor Kamali has served as a member and sometime Chairman of the Constitution Review Commission of Afghanistan (2003); as a UN consultant on constitutional reforms in Afghanistan, the Maldives, and Iraq; and as advisor to the UN on a new constitution for Somalia. More  …

Tore Lindholm

Professor Emeritus, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo, Norway

Tore Lindholm is emeritus professor (philosophy) at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo, board member of the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and member of Human Rights Committee of Church of Norway. His research interests focus on the diversity of grounds for embracing universal human rights, and in particular the right to freedom of religion or belief; and  the two-way traffic between human rights and religions (especially Christianity and Islam). He co-edited, with Cole Durham and Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Facilitating Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Deskbook (2004), published also in Indonesian and in Russian, with a Chinese translation in process. Lindholm co-initiated and sat on the steering committee of the Norwegian Research Council Research Program in Ethics1990-2001. His other studies include “Article 1: A New Beginning” in Alfredsson and Eide, eds., The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Common Standard of Achievement (1999); “Ethical Justification of Universal Rights Across Normative Divides” in Bexell and Andersson, eds., Universal Ethics. Perspectives and Proposals from Scandinavian Scholars (2002), “Philosophical and Religious Justifications of Freedom of Religion or Belief” in Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Deskbook (2004), More …

Tahir Mahmood

Professor of Eminence in Law & Chairman, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Amity University, New Delhi, India
Founder-President, South Asia Consortium for Religion and Law Studies 

Dr. Tahir Mahmood, Former Member, Law Commission of India, is a renowned jurist specializing in Islamic Law, Hindu Law, Religion and Law and Law Relating to Minorities. He has been Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, Member, National Human Rights Commission and Jurist-Member, Ranganath Misra Commission. Dr. Mahmood is well-known in India and abroad for his expertise in religion and the law, human rights and civil liberties, especially the law relating to the educational rights of Minorities. He is a globally noted authority on Islamic Law, Legal Systems of the Arab World and Hindu Law, subjects on which he has written and edited more than two dozen books and 500 research papers. His academic work which focuses on his progressive interpretation of these laws is widely acclaimed and has been cited by the Supreme Court of India and many State High Courts in more than 50 judgments …  More …

Liu Peng

Director, Pu Shi Institute for Social Science, Beijing, China

Liu Peng (“Paul Liu”) is the Director of the Pu Shi Institute for Social Sciences in Beijing, is a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy in Social Sciences (the Premier Social Science Research Institute in the People’s Republic of China), and is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion Studies at Emory University.  Professor Peng is the author of many articles and books, including two important books, State Religion and Law (2006) and Contemporary American Religions (2001). An innovator in China, Professor Peng started the first website on law and religion in China, has organized many conferences in China and Viet Nam, is a leading academic voice in China concerning law and religion matters, and freedom of religion in particular.

Juan G. Navarro Floria

Professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Professor Navarro Floria graduated in law with honors from the Pontificia Universidad Catòlica Argentina, where he now teaches Civil Law and Law and Religion. He obtained a doctorate in law, cum laude, from Complutense University (Spain). He has founded, together with other professors, the Latin American Consortium for Religious Freedom, of which he is past-President. He is also founder and past-President of the Argentine Council for Religious Freedom (CALIR). He has been Chief Advisor at the Secretariat of Religious Affairs in the Argentine Federal Government. In addition to being a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS), Brigham Young University, he is a member of the National Committee “Justicia y Paz” at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Argentina; a member of the Steering Committee of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS), headquartered in Milan, Italy; and a member of the academic or editorial boards of scientific journals in various countries. He has published twelve books and more than 100 book chapters or articles in his field, at home and abroad.

Javier Martínez-Torrón

Professor, Catedratico de Universidad, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain

Javier Martínez-Torrón is Professor of Law at Complutense University (Madrid, Spain),  Vice-President of the Section of Canon Law and Church-State Relations of the Spanish Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation, and Honorary Foreign Member of the National Academy of Law and Social Sciences of Cordoba, Argentina. He is also a member of the steering committee of ICLARS (International Consortium on Law and Religion Studies). He has done consultancy for national governments as well as for international institutions, especially while being in the Spanish Advisory Commission for Religious Freedom in the Ministry of Justice (2002-2014) and in the OSCE/ODIHR Advisory Council for Freedom of Religion or Belief (2005-2013). He is co-founder and co-editor of Revista General de Derecho Canónico y Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado (2003), the first Spanish online academic journal specialized in issues relating to law and religion. His academic work focuses on the legal analysis human rights (especially freedom of religion or belief) from a comparative and international perspective. He has lectured and done research at numerous universities and institutions in the five continents.  More …

Gerhard Robbers

Professor Emeritus
Unversität Trier, Germany

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Robbers received his doctoral degree in law in 1978 and obtained his final law degree in 1980 in Freiburg. From 1981-1984 he served as law clerk to the President of the German Federal Constitutional Court. In 1986 he obtained his habilitation in law. From 1988 to 1989 he was professor of law at the University of Heidelberg. Between 1989 and late 2014 he was Professor for Public Law at the University of Trier, where he was the Director of the Institute for European Constitutional Law and the Director of the Institute for Legal Policy at the University of Trier. In 2003-2004 he was president of the European Consortium of Church and State Research, of which he is a member. He is also member of the Advisory Council for Freedom of Religion at ODIHR/OSCE. He served as judge at the Constitutional Court of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, and between November of 2014 and May 2016 he was the state’s Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection.  More …

Rik Torfs

Professor, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Leuven, Belgium

Since 1988 Rik Torfs has been a full professor at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven, Belgium), where he was Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law from 1994-2003. He has in addition been since 2000 visiting professor at both the University of Strasbourg (France) and the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa). The author of nearly 350 articles and numerous books dealing with canon law, law, and Church and State relationships, Professor Torfs is editor of the European Journal for Church and State Research, is a member of the Board of Directors of the European Consortium for State-Church Research, and is a newspaper columnist and host of his own television program. In 2009 he became a member of the Commission for Intercultural Dialogue (Assises de l’Interculturalité) of the Belgian government. Professor Torfs has played a prominent role in the Belgian media and commentates regularly on the relation between church and society. On 13 June 2010 he was elected a member of the Belgian Senate, and on 17 May 2013 he was elected to a four-year term as Rector of KU Leuven. Since completing his term as Rector, he has served KU Leuven as Chair of the Department of Law.