ICLRS Director, W. Cole Durham, Jr., participated in the conference “Sacred Places and Heritage Protection from the Perspectives of International, Constitutional, Religious Law and Foreign Policy” in Jerusalem, March 15-17, 2016. Based on the growing concern for cultural heritage protection during armed conflict, international experts working in the field of legal protection of sacred places and cultural heritage gathered together to explore emerging systemic problems on the ground, innovative approaches and agendas for change in terms of substantive law at the international as well as domestic level, as well as considerations for foreign policy.
The opening session, "Sacred Places and Heritage Protection: Emerging Perspectives", was moderated by Asher Maoz, Dean of Peres Academic Center Law School, and featured W. Cole Durham, President, International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, and Director, International Center for Law and Religion, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University; and Alex Gryzbowski, Conflict Resolution and Prevention Specialist, Columbia University Institute for Conflict Resolution.
Other session topics were:
- Shaping Sacred Places through Law, Policy, and Religion
- Sacred Places and Constitutional Law
- Sacred Places and the Politics of Cultural Heritage Protection
- Civilian and Common Law Approaches to Sacred Places
- Religious Actors and Patterns of Negotiations of Legal Protection of Sacred Places
- Shared and Contested Sacred Places — Emerging Challenges and Good Practices
- Sacred Places in the Conversation between Civic and Religious Legal Cultures
The conference concluded with a special session held at Tantour Ecumenical Institute on Legal Protection of Sacred Places — Lessons from History. The session was moderated by Ali Qleibo, Director, Department of Fine Arts, Al-Quds University, and the speakers were Anthony O'Mahony, Reader in Theology and the History of Christianity; Director, Centre for Eastern Christianity, Heythrop College, University of London; Research Fellow, Blackfrairs, University of Oxford; and Merav Mack, Research Fellow, The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, The Hebrew University.
The event was co-organized and co-sponsored by The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Peres Academic Center, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University, and the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies among others.