Freedom of Religion or Belief in Situations of Crisis

Tartu University

The University of Tartu Faculty of Law in cooperation with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University is organizing an international conference entitled “Freedom of Religion or Belief in Situations of Crisis: Why Can’t We Get Along?” on 16 – 19 June 2016 in Tallinn. It is an interdisciplinary conference intended for academics, professionals and students interested in human rights issues in the current migration crisis.

During the conference there is also a session for students to introduce their work, get feedback from international scholars and test their ideas in a less formal academic environment.

The following subthemes will be addressed at the conference:

  1. Freedom of Religion or Belief of Refugees and Migrants
  2. Freedom of Religion or Belief in the Conflict Zone
  3. Hate Speech and Migration
  4. Religious Symbols in Public Space
  5. Accommodation of Diversity
  6. Secular State as a Gate and Peace Keeper? States’ role in the situations of crisis. Authors are also welcome to address interrelated issues such as combating terrorism and extremism.
  7. Education as an Antidote against Religious Hatred?
  8. Interreligious Dialogue – a Solution in Times of Crisis?

The aim of the conference and its future publication is to tackle these issues in a multidisciplinary manner. Contributions are not required to be written from a legal perspective. The theme itself is interdisciplinary and allows contributions from scholars from multiple backgrounds, including law, history, religion studies and political science. A combination of theory and practice is also encouraged.

The conference will begin with the evening session and reception on Thursday, 16 June, and end in the evening on Saturday, 18 June. The programme will include academic panels, roundtables focused on current issues and plenary sessions featuring, among others, the following speakers:

  • Prof. Cole W. Durham, Jr. - International Centre for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University
  • Prof. Dr. Silvio Ferrari – University of Milano and  Catholic University of Leuven
  • Prof. Dr. Sophie van Bijsterveld - Dutch Senate, Radboud University Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies
  • Prof. Dr. Temperman Jeroen - Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Dr. Kishan Manocha – OSCE/ODIHR Senior Adviser on Freedom of Religion and Belief

All expressions of interest and questions can be sent to Dr. Merilin Kiviorg (Senior Research Fellow in Public International Law) at the University of Tartu, Faculty of Law ( or to Prof. Elizabeth Clark ( at the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University.

There is no conference fee but registration is by invitation only. Travel and accomodation for international speakers will be covered by the conference organizers. The organizers will issue visa invitations, if applicable. For more information about logistics explore this webpage and the webpage of the Nordic Hotel ( ).

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Merilin Kiviorg (DPhil University of Oxford, Mag iur Tartu)
Senior Research Fellow in Public International Law
University of Tartu, Faculty of Law
Juridicum, Näituse 13A
Tel.: +372 737 5988
Mobile: +372 51 78689, +44(0)7530894421