2004 Conferences

Conference on Promoting Religious Tolerance and the Needs of Religious Communities, Tbililsi, Georgia, December 2004. The Center cosponsored this conference with the OSCE, the Oslo Coalition, and the Union “Century 21st,” a Georgia NGO. Government and religious leaders met to discuss new draft legislation in Georgia.

Conference on Church-State Relations in Post-Communist Europe, Bratislava, Slovakia, November 2004. Professor Sewell was invited by the Institute for Church-State Relations to give a lecture on church-state relations in post-Communist Europe for Slovak government officials and academics.

Conference on Freedom of Conscience and the Secular State: Problems and Solutions, Moscow, Russia, November 2004. Professor Sewell was invited by the Russian Academy of State Service to present a paper on church-state relations in using a secular model, limitations of the Russian Constitution.

Eleventh Annual International Law and Religion Symposium at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; and Catholic University and George Washington University, Washington, D.C., October 2004. Ninety participants from forty-one countries attended, which provided opportunity for key government officials to meet with international religious liberty scholars and with similar officials from other countries. According to one participant from Jordan, the Symposium “plants the seeds of religious freedom around the world. It is up to us [the delegates] to water them in our countries and God will make them grow.”

Conferences on Comparative Law Approaches to Regulating Religion with the International Religious Liberty Association and People’s University in Beijing, China, October 2004. The Center is cosponsoring a series of conferences in which we have the opportunity to work with leading religion scholars in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and lay the groundwork for increased religious freedom in China.

Annual Meeting of the Latin American Consortium of Religious Liberty in Santiago, Chile, August 12-13, 2004. Scott Isaacson represented the Center at this meeting of Latin American church-state scholars and was the only non-Catholic participant, presenting two papers on the status of religious freedom in Latin America and church-state issues in the United States.

Interparliamentary Conference on Human Rights and Religious Freedom in Brussels, Belgium, August 2004. Professor Durham was invited to participate in a conference which allowed members of national and supranational parliaments to meet and address the issues of human rights and freedom of religion with common understanding and background as legislators. Professor Durham addressed members of European parliaments.

Conference on Religious Freedom in Belarus, Minsk, Belarus, June 2004. The Center was invited by a member of the Belarusian Parliament to co-sponsor a conference with the Belarusian Academy of Science on issues regarding the relationship of church and state in Belarus. Currently Belarus has the most restrictive laws on religious freedom in Europe. The conference helped ameliorate both the laws and their implementation to improve the religious freedom situation in that country.

Conference on Islam in Europe, Budapest, Hungary, June 2004. The Center sponsored the third of a series of conferences held in collaboration with the Central European University in Budapest. The proceedings of these conferences are being prepared for publication of a book dealing with legal issues regarding Islam in Europe.

IRLA Meeting of Experts in Strasbourg, Germany, June 2004. Professor Durham participated in a meeting that focused on Religious Symbols and Religious Commitments in the Public Sphere in Europe. The President of the European Court of Human Rights was in attendance.

Region-wide 15-Year Retrospective on Church-State Issues Throughout the Former Socialist Bloc, Kiev, Ukraine, May 2004. The Center planned a major conference which brought together the heads of religious affairs from throughout Eastern Europe to discuss the treatment of religious freedom in post-Communist Europe during the past 15 years.

Seminario Internazionale Complutense in Madrid, Spain, May 2004. Professor Durham participated in a conference which brought together scholars from Spain and Western Europe interested in the Spanish experience of religious freedom.

Conference on the Comparative Approaches to the Relationship Between Religion and the State in Different Settings in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, April 2004. The Center co-organized a conference, supported entirely with a grant from Central Asia Research Initiative, which allowed us to work with key scholars and government leaders in Kyrygstan on an anticipated draft law on religions.

Lecture Series on Law and Religion in the United States, University of Vienna, Institute for Law and Religion, Vienna, Austria, May 2004. As part of an effort to establish closer ties to a major church-state center in Austria, Professor Durham has participated in teaching a course and giving a number of lectures on church-state issues in Vienna, Austria.

Conference on Religion and Traditional Culture in China, Oahu, Hawaii, March 2004. The Center co-sponsored this conference along with the Institute for the Study of American Religion, Santa Barbara, California; the Religious Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara; and the David O. McKay Center of Intercultural Understanding (BYUH).

Conference Organized by the American Bar Association’s Central European and Eurasian Legal Initiative (ABA-CEELI) in Amman, Jordan, February-March 2004. Professor Durham was invited to help train two groups of Iraqi leaders who are involved in the process of developing a new Iraqi constitution.

Conference on Church Autonomy with the J. Reuben Clark Law School in Provo, Utah, February 2004. We have organized a conference on the independence of religious organizations, which has recently been challenged in the US by some of the child abuse litigation cases. A dozen of the leading U.S. scholars on church-state law came to BYU to discuss the significance of church autonomy.

Conference on Comparative Perspectives on Shari’ah in Nigeria, in Jos, Nigeria, January 2004. Professor Durham was invited to lecture on general comparative perspectives on the relation of law and religion to help deepen debate on the emerging place of Islamic law in Nigeria. While in the area, he was also invited to give lectures at Univerzitie in Ghana and Northern Nigeria, the latter under the sponsorship of USAID.