Freedom of Religion: International Issues and Contemporary Challenges

From July 16, 2011 19:00 until July 16, 2011 15:00


Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - 5 Hawthorn Rd Caulfield

As part of the University of Melbourne Law School and the International Centre for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University Law School, a Law and Religion symposium is being held towards the end of this coming week.  The subject of the event is the interface between Law and Religion and, in particular, the Legal Regulation of Religious Groups, Organisations and Communities. This is an international conference featuring eminent Australian and overseas speakers.

Two of the visiting professors (see bios down below) who are speaking at the symposium, are also speaking at a FREE event following the symposium on the evening of Saturday 16th July. This will be held at: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Caulfield chapel at 5 Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield at 7.00 pm. The topic is "Freedom of Religion: International Issues and Contemporary Challenges".



W. Cole Durham Jr., Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, United States

W. Cole Durham Jr. is Susa Young Gates Professor of Law and Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University. Among his many honours is the 2009 International First Freedom Award, bestowed by the First Freedom Center of Richmond, Virginia. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Professor Durham has been heavily involved in comparative law scholarship throughout his career, with a special emphasis on comparative constitutional law and the relationship of church and state. He has published and consulted widely on these subjects and is a member of several US and international advisory boards dealing with religious freedom and church- state relations. He has testified at the state level, in Congress, and in legislatures and courts in various foreign countries on religious freedom issues.

Professor Durham has served as the Secretary of the American Society of Comparative Law and is an associate member of the International Academy of Comparative Law (IACL) in Paris. He was IACL 2010 General Reporter on the topic Religion and the Secular State. He has served as co-chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Advisory Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief and as Vice President of the International Academy for Freedom of Religion and Belief. He has served as the chair of both the Comparative Law Section and the Law and Religion Section of the American Association of Law Schools, and currently is the Vice President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies.

Brett G. Scharffs, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, United States

Brett G. Scharffs is Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University and Associate Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. His teaching and scholarly interests include comparative and international law and religion, jurisprudence and adjudication, and international business law.

Professor Scharffs is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he received a BSBA in international business and an MA in philosophy. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he earned a BPhil in philosophy. He received his JD from Yale Law School, where he was Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Professor Scharffs was a law clerk on the US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, and worked as a legal assistant at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal in The Hague. Before teaching at BYU, he worked as an attorney for the New York law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell. He has previously taught at Yale University and the George Washington University Law School, and is a visiting professor each year at Central European University in Budapest. Professor Scharffs is has authored more than 50 articles and book chapters, and has made over 150 scholarship presentations in 20 countries. His casebook, Law and Religion: U.S., International, and Comparative Perspectives, co-written with his colleague, W. Cole Durham, Jr. was published by Aspen and Wolters Kluwer in 2010.

Contact Details
Mark Bender: Phone 0419 236 337 Email:

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