Religious Freedom Annual Review 2015: “Fairness for All”

Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert, Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson of the University of Illinois College of Law, and Director W. Cole Durham Jr. of BYU Law School’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies were among the experts participating in the 2015 Religious Freedom Annual Review,” Fairness for All,” sponsored by the Center and hosted July 6-8 by BYU Continuing Education.

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The purpose of the event was to provide an update for lawyers and nonlawyers on religious freedom challenges in the…

The 2015 Oxford Conference: Magna Carta and Freedom of Religion or Belief

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies, in cooperation with the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, hosted its 2015 Oxford Conference June 21-24  at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, commemorating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, “the greatest constitutional document of all times—the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.{*} 


The event began with a devotional Sunday evening at the Oxford LDS Meetinghouse, featuring an address Religious Freedom and the Habits of the Heart by Elder Bruce C. Hafen, Emeritus General Authority and Member of the First Quorum of Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a violin performance of Ave Maria (Bach / Gounod) by Mark Oshia of Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, accompanied by Elder Hafen.

Monday featured presentations…

CEU 2015: Religion and Equality: Contemporary Challenges in Accommodating Diversity

The 2015 annual CEU Conference, held 5-6 June, focused on challenges in accommodating diversity and brought together distinguished international scholars, parliamentarians, human rights council members, and practicing attorneys, representing United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, and Russia.

For more than 20 years, Cole Durham has been a visiting faculty member at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, in a program where distinguished professors from 30 countries teach students from 100 countries. Professor Durham was joined nine years ago in this endeavor by Professor Brett Scharffs, and they have together built coursework from their casebook, Law and Religion: National, International, and Comparative Perspectives. An outgrowth of this longstanding partnership with CEU has been a series of panels and discussions culminating in an important series of annual conferences. 

“CEU has proved to be an ideal venue for bringing people together from Central and Eastern Europe and…

Advances and Setbacks in the Legal Protection of Religious Freedom, Mexico City, May 2015

The 15th Annual Colloquium of the Latin American Consortium for Religious Liberty was held May 21-23, 2015 at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, Mexico. Sponsored by the Latin American Consortium for Religious Liberty, the Universidad Iberoamericana, and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU, the conference focused on the theme “Advances and Setbacks in the Legal Protection of Religious Freedom”. The inaugural session was chaired by the principal host and organizer of the colloquium, Prof. Dr. Alberto Patiño Reyes of Universidad Iberoamericana.  Other participants included Prof. Dra. Maria Concepción Medina González, acting as the “Relatora General” of the colloquium. Prof. Dr. Raul Gonzalez Schmal, who delivered the inaugural address, and Prof. Dra. Carmen Asiaín Pereira, President of the Latin American Consortium…

Religious Freedom and Religious Pluralism in Africa: Prospects and Limitations – May 2015

The Third Conference on Law and Religion in Africa took place in Windhoek, Namibia, May 18-19, 2015. This memorable and very successful conference focused on the theme “Religious Freedom and Religious Pluralism in Africa: Prospects and Limitations.” Some sixty participants are participatee in the conference, from 17 countries:  UK, US, Ethiopia, Egypt, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Namibia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, Uganda, Belgium.

Participants discussed such topics as:

  • African traditional law / religion
  • Human rights and dignity (including rights of children, the disabled, the elderly and women)
  • Implications of globalisation, neo-liberalism, democratisation, and fragile states for religious

Conference: “Religious Freedom Development in the Sphere of Law” – Yerevan, Armenia

With thanks to Ryan Andersen

From May 13-15, 2015 scholars and attorneys from the United States, Europe, and Central Asia met in Yerevan, Armenia to participate in the conference “Challenges and Opportunities: Religious Freedom Development in the Sphere of Law”.  The International Center for Law and Religious Studies and the Coordinating Counsel for CIS and Baltic Countries on Theoretical and Practical Aspects of Religious Studies (Kyiv, Ukraine—Moscow, Russia) co-hosted the event, which focused on the development of law and religion in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

See conference reports and photographs from the website Religions in Armenia.  More Conference photos are here.

Topics ranged from religion and the environment, the religious aspect of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and its effects on religious life in Ukraine, religious divides…