Summer 2010 has been extraordinarily busy for everyone at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. Conferences, presentations, book launches, and training sessions have taken Directors Cole Durham, Brett Scharffs, and Elizabeth Sewell away for much of the summer, concluding with a first-of-its kind three-week training program on religion and the rule of law conducted at Peking University by Professors Durham and Scharffs. Meanwhile, other Center personnel, assisted by student research fellows, visiting student externs, and an expanding network of legal professionals acting as volunteers, were at work revising, updating, and preparing for publication several of the Center’s important print works, as well as laying the groundwork for a dramatically expanded Internet presence. A strong technical team has also been at work all summer, preparing for this expansion, pushing to meet the Center’s vision for a truly comprehensive religious freedom database, with unique Web functions designed to serve every country in the world.
As we enter the new school year, still working hard to complete the summer’s tasks, we note with pleasure that this year’s Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, the 17th – now only a week away – promises to be another enlightening and memorable event. We hope you will take a few moments to read in this newsletter about what has been happening with us since June, and to share with us the excitement of the upcoming Symposium, “Religion in Contemporary Legal Systems,” to be held October 3-5 at Brigham Young University, and October 7-8 in Washington, D.C. We are pleased to announce our distinguished Keynote Speakers for the Provo Symposium, the distinguished jurist Dr. Tahir Mahmood of India, who will also receive this year’s Distinguished Service Award, and Judge Thomas B. Griffith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
Registration for the Provo Symposium is now open, and we invite you to consult the Symposium 2010 link on the ICLRS website for more information about this and other aspects of the Symposium. We particularly invite you to join us on October 3 from wherever you are, as the opening session of the Symposium is streamed live over the Internet from the Law School’s Moot Court Room.
You will read in the News Section of our website that important decisions have been taken this summer in the federal courts of the United States and in the European Court of Human Rights, rulings that could have lasting effects upon religious freedom for millions of people. It is an aspect of our mission at the Center to increase awareness of the issues involved in such decisions, and through our publications, conferences, and presentations to help people involved in such processes make the best possible decisions. We thank you, as always, for your interest in our work, and for your support.
Donlu Thayer, Senior Editor
International Center for Law and Religion Studies