Center Co-sponsors “Russia in the 21st Century: Freedom of Conscience, Religion, and the Church,” St. Petersburg, Russia

The ICLRS co-sponsored the conference “Russia in the 21st Century: Freedom of Conscience, Religion, and the Church,” which took place 3-6 August 2009 at the Saint Petersburg Christian University in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Participants included prominent academics, lawyers, government officials, and religious leaders from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.  International experts from Spain, Slovakia, Hungary, and the United States were also in attendance.  Participants discussed the current state of affairs in Russia, including the recent establishment of an Expert Council on religious affairs, implementation and application of legislation, and challenges facing new religious movements in the region.  Recent international resolutions and European Court cases, and their relevance within Russia, were also discussed. The ICLRS was represented at the conference by Director W. Cole Durham, Jr., who presented a paper on freedom of religion and belief as it relates to places of worship, burial grounds, and other sacred space, and by Russian-speaking Center Summer Intern Sean Loosli.