Each year since 1994, the Center has hosted a symposium devoted to the discussion of law and religion. By 2017, more than 1200 government, academic, and religious leaders and visitors from 125 countries had met together to discuss principles of religious liberty and to explore mechanisms to better implement these principles. Details about upcoming and past symposia may be found below and on the pages listed in the left sidebar.

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Welcome to the International Law and Religion Symposium Page
Image for The 25th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium — Protecting Religious Freedom and Dignity: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70

The 25th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) will be held 7-9 October 2018 at the J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University. Delegate participants and invited observers will meet together to commemorate both the 25th anniversary of the Symposium and the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Space does not permit inviting the general public to this event, but recordings of plenary sessions, including the opening session on Sunday evening, wll be made available shortly after each session concludes, and written reports and recordings of other sessions will be available soon after the Symposium's close. 

Keynote speakers at the opening session on Sunday evening, October 7, will be Sam Brownback, United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and Ann Power-Forde, an Irish laywer and academic who is currently Presiding Judge at the Constitutional Court Chamber of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in The Hague and was formerly judge at the European Court of Human Rights. 

To date, more than 1200 delegates... more

Image for Symposium 2018: Keynote Speaker Sam Brownback

Sam Brownback was sworn in as United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom on February 1, 2018. He served as Governor of Kansas from 2011 to 2018. Previously he served as a U.S. Senator (1996-2011) and a U.S. Representative in the House of Representatives (1995-1996) from Kansas. While a member of the Senate, he worked actively on the issue of religious freedom in multiple countries and was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. He also served as Kansas Secretary of Agriculture (1986-1993) and was a White House Fellow in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (1990-1991). Prior to his public service, Ambassador Brownback was a private attorney in Kansas and taught agricultural law at Kansas State University, co-authoring two books on the subject. He earned a B.S. from Kansas State University, and a J.D. from the University of Kansas.

Image for Symposium 2018: Keynote Speaker Ann Power-Forde

Ann Power-Forde SC is an International Judge, a Senior Counsel, and an Academic. She is currently the Presiding Judge of the Constitutional Court Chamber of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in The Hague. She served as a judge of the European Court of Human Rights — working through French and English — from January 2008 until her final case in July 2015. A Consultant Adviser in International Human Rights Law, Ann joined Doughty Street Chambers in London as an Associate Tenant in September 2015, and she is a member of the Doughty Street International Team. She is Senior Counsel with extensive experience in Medical Law, Public Law and Constitutional Law.

As an academic, Ann has over 20 years’ experience of teaching Philosophy and Jurisprudence. She has published and presented papers on a wide range of topics — including international human rights law, bioethics, and risk management. She is a regular guest speaker at national and international conferences. ... more

Image for Symposium 2017: Video Recordings Now Available

The recordings of the 24th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, Religion and Religious Freedom in a Changing World, held in October of 2017 are now available to view here

The keynote session and all plenary sessions are available in 12 different languages. All breakout sessions are available in English and may be available in other languages as well. To select other languages other than English, select the English icon next to Presentation/Photo Albums in the upper right corner of the screen, and select the desired language from the drop down menu. Only recordings available in the language selected have a watch icon available. Or select from the following quick... more

Image for Symposium 2017: Session Reports

Reports of sessions of the 24th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, "Religion and Religious Freedom in a Changing World", are being gathered here.  Check back often!

Image for Ján Figeľ and András Sajó open the 24th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium
Left: Ján Figeľ Right: András Sajó

by Melissa Hartman, BYU Law Student and Symposium Volunteer

Two distinguished Keynote speakers addressed participants from around the world assembled for the opening session of the 24th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium.  In addition to an address by Ján Figeľ, Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief Outside the European Union, those assembled at the J. Reuben Clark Law School and participants via webcast, were privileged to hear from András Sajó, Former Judge and Vice-President of the European Court of Human Rights.

The opening session commenced with the Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brett G. Sharffs welcoming attendees and inviting them to reflect on the role religion can play in building peace, stability, and harmony or alternatively contributing to disunity and violence. BYU President Kevin J. Worthen, and Dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Gordon Smith, then also welcomed... more

Image for Symposium 2017: 'Religion and Religious Freedom in a Changing World'

The 24th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) was held 1-3 October 2017 at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Some 100 Delegates to the 2017 Symposium were invited to discuss the conference theme — "Religion and Religious Freedom in a Changing World" — including such sub-themes as Religion and Security, Religion and Pluralism, and Religion and the Rule of Law.  

Session reports of presentations are available here, and recordings from the event are available at this link. (See recordings from Symposium 2016 here.)

The 2017 Symposium opened Sunday evening, October 1, with keynote addresses by Ján Figeľ, the European Commission's Special Envoy for promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the European Union, and András Sajó, Hungarian scholar and former Judge and Vice-President of the European Court of Human Rights. 

Each year since 1994, ICLRS has hosted a symposium devoted to the discussion of law and religion... more