It is the Mission of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University to help secure the blessings of freedom of religion and belief for all people by
- expanding, deepening, and disseminating knowledge and expertise regarding the interrelationship of law and religion,
- facilitating the growth of networks of scholars, experts, and policy makers involved in the field of religion and law, and
- contributing to law reform processes and broader implementation of principles of religious freedom worldwide.
About the Center
The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is a global academic leader in the field of international religious freedom. Founded in 2000, the Center is part of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, one of the largest private universities in the United States. The Center’s mission is to “help secure the blessings of religious liberty for all,” through scholarship, networking, educational activities, and law reform efforts.
Scholars at the Center specialize in comparative and international law concerning religion. The Center partners with leading academic, governmental, and non-governmental institutions around the world to organize conferences and workshops. The purpose of these conferences is to foster respectful understanding and improve expertise at the critical intersection where law and religion meet.
The Center has thus far helped organize more than 1000 international events in more than 50 countries. Participants in these events include government leaders, community and religious leaders, judges, scholars, and other experts from a variety of disciplines. Participants learn from one another, discuss issues, and share their research and experience from their respective countries. Because of its global and interdisciplinary reach, the work of the Center is truly unique.
The Center organizes 30-50 conferences and events each year, in the United States and internationally. These include
- An International Law and Religion Symposium each year on the campus of Brigham Young University, bringing together more than 90 invited delegates from approximately 50 countries.
- A Religious Freedom Annual Review each year on the campus of Brigham Young University, to provide information and discussion on current religious freedom issues in the United States.
- In co-sponsorship with the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, an annual Religious Freedom Essay Contest, winners of which are honored, along with an esteemed recipient of the annual Religious Liberty Award, at an Awards banquet held each October in Washington, DC.
- In collaboration with local partners, six to eight annual regional conferences, in Africa, Latin America, the Muslim World, Asia, South Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Pacific.
- A conference at Oxford University each year that draws together high-level participants from throughout the world.
- Annual UN Side Events in New York and Geneva.
- Certificate training and other teaching programs annually in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Oxford, Myanmar, Africa, and at Central European University in Budapest.
The Center pursues law reform by
- Frequently providing expert review of draft legislation and constitutional proposals at the invitation of government and civil society leaders—thus far in more than 50 countries.
- Producing a steady stream of scholarly articles and books about law and religion, often in collaboration with international experts.
- Maintaining informative websites tracking religious freedom laws.
- Providing a free near-daily news service aggregating stories from around the world on religious freedom developments.