The Fourth Conference of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS) was held 8-11 September 2016 at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, UK. This highly successful event brought together some 150 international experts from 37 countries to discuss the conference themes, “Freedom of/ for/ from/ within Religion: Differing Dimensions of a Common Right?”, to participate in two important book launches (see below*), and to share information about Journals, Book Series, and Associations, and Centers dealing with law and religion and religious freedom worldwide.
The conference was co-sponsored with ICLARS by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) of Brigham Young University Law School, 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.
Also at this event, new members of the ICLARS Steering Committee were approved, and Professor Ana María Celis Brunet, Director of the Center of Religious Liberty of the Faculty of Law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (Santiago), was installed as ICLARS President, replacing W. Cole Durham, Jr. of Brigham Young University.
The International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies is an international network of scholars and experts in law and religion begun in 2007 with Professor Silvio Ferrari of the University of Milan as President. The purpose of ICLARS is to provide a forum for exchange of information, data, and opinions among members — at present from more than 40 countries — which can be made available to the broader scientific community.
Professor Ferrari (now Honorary President) was succeeded in 2011 as ICLARS President by Professor W. Cole Durham. Jr.. who is also Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, USA. The ICLARS Steering Committee members, past and present, are eminent law and religion scholars from Argentina, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, South Africa, Spain, and United Kingdom.
This Fourth ICLARS Conference in Oxford followed conferences in Milan (2009), Santiago (2011), and Virginia (2013). The proceedings of previous conferences are available as Law and Religion in the 21st Century: Relations between States and Religious Communities (Ashgate 2010), Law, Religion, Constitution: Freedom of Religion, Equal Treatment, and the Law (Ashgate 2013), Religion and Equality: Law in Conflict (Routledge 2016), and Religion, Pluralism, and Reconciling Difference (Routledge 2017 forthcoming).
*This 2016 conference saw the formal launch of the Routledge ICLARS Series on Law and Religion, with Professors Ferrari and Durham joined by Professors Russell Sandberg. Pieter Coertzen. and Tahir Mahmood as editors, and the Brill Encyclopedia of Law and Religion, edited by Gerhard Robbers, Cole Durham, and Donlu Thayer, with contributions by many ICLARS members.