ICLRS Student Management Board 2015-2016

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is pleased to welcome its Student Management Board for 2015-2016. The members of the board are second- and third-year law students chosen for their interest in law and religion and their expertise in writing, research, editing, languages, and website management. Languages spoken by this year’s Management Board students include French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, Turkish, and Hindi. Third-year students selected this year are Ryan AndersenAlex BiggsEva BradyBennett BriggsTara Fitzgerald, Travis HyerJedediah KnightMonique Mullenaux LaingAline Longstaff, Annalee MoserLauren Robins, and Jarvis Yau. Second-year students are Tanner Bean, Lauren FloresRaquel Flores-Vera, Ryan JolleyMichael GoodrichLeilani MaldonadoAbby McKeon

Center Welcomes Blythe Shupe and Sandy Stephenson

The Center is pleased to welcome Sandy Stephenson and Blythe Shupe. who have joined us as of September 2015. As the new International Advisory Council and Conference Liaison, Sandy will be working closely with the Center’s International Advisory Council and assisting with the Center’s many sponsored and co-sponsored conferences. Blythe will be taking on the Center’s website content, social media, and other communications in her role as Communications Specialist. Both are graduates of Brigham Young University’s Humanities Department, Sandy in Art, Art History, and French, and Blythe in Comparative Literature. Sandy comes to us with experience as a business owner as well as working at the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and for the U.S. Senate. Blythe has spent the last several years in account management within the background screening industry and the technology industry. Both are excited to embark on this new adventure with the Center and to use their talents and experience to further the Center’s mission. 

In Remembrance: Olene Walker

By Gary Doxey

The Center lost a dear friend with the passing of Olene S. Walker, former governor of the State of Utah, on November 28, 2015 at the age of 85.

As governor, Olene Walker was a trailblazer. She left a significant legacy that lives on today in the much-praised fiscal discipline of Utah state government, foundational reading programs for school children, healthcare for children, and opportunities for those most in need to obtain housing. Until her passing, she continued to serve on numerous boards both nationally and internationally, where she left her mark as an energetic, common-sense, results-oriented leader focused on bequeathing a better world to the…

Symposium 2015: Thank you to the Hosts & Center Supporters

By Sandy Stephenson

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies and its delegates wish to thank the many members of the International Advisory Council (IAC) who volunteered to act as hosts to the delegates who came from throughout the world to attend the Annual International Law and Religion Symposium.  The IAC consists of those who generously contribute to the International Center for Law and Religion Studies in the promotion of religious freedom.  Each year they have a tremendous influence at the Symposium, as they attend many presentations and events, and help to ensure the delegates have a rewarding experience.  It is a great opportunity to meet with people from all walks of life, from one side of the globe to the other; and the hosts and delegates often develop lasting friendships.  Our Hosting Committee was chaired by Lynn Anderson and Linda Nearon, who assist the hosts in their responsibilities, and ensure all feel welcome.  Linda and David Nearon

ICLRS Student Management Board 2014-2015

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies Student Management Board for 2014-2015 included 17 outstanding students who spoke among them more than a dozen lanugages. Third-year students on this board were Heather Binks, Christina ChampenoisJames HeilpernBryant HinckleyLynn Nouri, and Alex Storms, with second-year students Ryan Andersen, Eva Brady, Bennett Briggs, Tara Fitzgerald, Roman HarperTravis HyerJedidiah Knight, Aline Longstaff, Annalee Moser, Lauren Robins, and Jarvis Yau.  Languages spoken by members of this group include Arabic, Chinese, Danish, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and Urdu.

Center Visitors 2015

Caiyu Wu
Ph.D. Candidate
Peking University Law School
People’s Republic of China

Qiao Fei
Professor of Law
People’s Republic of China

Trang Nguyen
Faculty of Sociology
Hanoi University of Social Sciences and Humanities

The Center Thanks the Summer Research Fellows for 2015

The International Center for Law and Religion Studies expresses its thanks to the outstanding scholars who have completed their term as  Summer Research FellowsThe program brings the students into the worldwide work of the Center, as they complete internships with the offices of the legal counsels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City and in many other parts of the world, participate in Center research, writing, and publishing projects, and help to maintain the Center’s international web presence. This year’s group of fourteen students spent time in Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Argentina, New Zealand, Mexico, Hong Kong, Russia, and Salt Lake City….

Symposium 2015: The Student Executive Committee

The success of the International Law and Religion Symposium each year is due in large part to the planning and performance of a group of outstanding students from the BYU Law School who, acting under the direction of Center Associate Director Elizabeth Clark, serve as members of the Student Executive CommitteeThe Center is honored to announced the Committee for the 22nd Annual International Law and Religion Symposium:

Highlighting the Peace-Making Power of Religion, Despite its Mixed Track Record – 2015

The 17th annual “Meeting of Experts,” organized by the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA) met August 10-14, 2015, at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. A diverse panel of scholars, representing universities and organizations from seven countries, examined the role of religion in current global conflicts while also focusing on ways that faith can forge peace. Presenters included Robert A Seiple, current IRLA president, and Professor Cole Durham, acting in his role as President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies. You may read more about the meeting at the link below. 

Advancing Freedom of Religion or Belief for All: Experts Gather at Halki, 7-9 September 2015

Press Release No: 15/34 – September 2015 – Istanbul/Heybeliada

From September 7 to 9 more than 40 human rights experts from across Europe journeyed to the hilltop theological school of Halki on the Turkish island of Heybeliada. Once the heart of theological education for the Orthodox world, the school closed in 1971 as a result of a ban on private higher education in Turkey. Arriving by plane, train, and even by foot, participants discussed and debated approaches to advancing freedom of religion or belief.

Participants were drawn from CEC Member Churches, civil society, academia, and the European Institutions. Topics covered included the need for religious literacy, the role of religion in the public and political spheres, the need for greater internal and external coherence of…

Conference in Jerusalem: Legal and Moral Challenges of Religious Resurgence – March 2015

Professor Cole Durham and Dean Brett Scharffs, Director and Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS), participated in the conference “Legal and Moral Challenges of Religious Resurgence” held 22-23 March 2015 in Jerusalem, at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Co-sponsored by the Institute and the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (Milan) (ICLARS), the conference featured presentations from scholars from Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom.  Participants were greeted and welcomed by Director of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Gabriel Motzkin; by Professor Durham, and by Joseph David, Associate Faculty Member, University of Oxford and Professor of Law, Sapir Academic College, who joined again for Closing Reflections. José Casanova, Head of The Berkley Center’s Program on Globalization, Religion…

Developing a Multilateral Approach to Freedom of Religion or Belief: A European Perspective

W. Cole Durham, Jr., Professor of Law and Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University, Provo delivered a paper “Protecting FoRB in situations of conflict: from the Balkans to the Middle East and the Ukrainian crises” at the Conference Developing a multilateral approach to freedom of religion or belief: a European perspective, held 9-11 February 2015 at Wiston House, Wilton Park. Wilton Park is an international forum for strategic discussion located in Sussex, United Kingdom. 

The Wilton Park conference was part of a larger project of transatlantic policy dialogue funded by the British Council/Luce Foundation Bridging Voices…

Report: Launch Event for the ODIHR/Venice Commission Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities – 4 February 2015

Report from Cole Durham at the European Parliament

On February 4, 2015, the European Parliamentary Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance hosted, at the European Parliament in Brussels, a launch event for the newly published ODIHR/Venice Commission Guidelines on the Legal Personality of Religious or Belief Communities.

The event was chaired by MEP Dennis de Jong, Co-President of the Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance of the EU Parliament, and featured introductory remarks by Snježana Bokulić, Head of the Human Rights Department, OSCE/ODIHR; a presentation of the Guidelines by Finola Flanagan, Former Member of the European Commission for Democracy Through Law (The Venice Commission) and Engy Abdelkader, Member of the OSCE/ODIHR Advisory Panel on Freedom of Religion or Belief; and comments by John Kinahan, of Forum 18.  After formal presentations…

Cole Durham Participates in “Religion, Security and Human Rights” Conference at European Parliament, 10 December 2015

The European Platform against Religious Intolerance and Discrimination (EPRID) organized a conference on Human Rights Day, 10 December, 2015, titled “Religion, Security and Human Rights”. The conference, held in Brussels Belgium at the European Parliament, included speakers such as Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt, U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Dr. Kishan Manocha, Senior Advisor at OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Dr. Liviu Olteanu, Secretary General & Director of Conscience and Liberty from the Association Internationale pour la Défense de la Liberté Religieuse, Ms. Kalpna Devi, Human Rights Defender from Pakistan, and the Center’s director, Professor Cole Durham….

Brett Scharffs at Notre Dame Law Review Symposium, 6 November 2015

Professor Brett G. Scharffs, Center Associate Director and Law School Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum, participated the Volume 91 Symposium of the Notre Dame Law Review: Religious Liberty and the Free Society: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Dignitatis Humanae. The Symposium opened on November 5, 2015 with an address from Bishop Daniel E. Flores, Bishops of Brownsville, Texas, and continued on November 6 with a series of panel discussions moderated by Hon. Richard Sullivan, Southern District of New York. Professor Scharffs participated on the panel “Examining the History of Digntitatis Humanae and Religious Freedom” with Phillip Muñoz, Notre Dame Law School and Anna Su, University of Toronto Faculty…