W. Cole Durham Receives International First Freedom Award
See Deseret News article here
Brigham Young University law professor, W. Cole Durham, Jr., received the prestigious 2009 International First Freedom Award for extraordinary advocacy of religious freedom. The First Freedom Center will recognized Professor Durham on January 15, 2009 in Richmond, Virginia in conjunction with National Religious Freedom Day. Each year, the First Freedom Center recognizes an individual for their work in advancing freedom of conscience and basic human rights for people of all faiths, traditions and cultures.
“We are so delighted to be able to honor Professor Durham with this international award,” said Isabelle Kinnard, vice president for education at the First Freedom Center. “Professor Durham truly stands out amongst a group of esteemed internationalist as an exemplar for the international protection of religious freedom. He has helped countries from around the world make religious freedom constitutionally protected.”
Professor Durham advises governments worldwide on laws dealing with religious freedom and religious associations, specifically on developing the legal infrastructure needed to support this important human right. He has been actively involved in consultations on laws dealing with religious freedom in many countries, including Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Nepal, Peru, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Thailand, and Ukraine.
“Professor Durham is one of the leading international experts on law and religion; very few individuals have the breadth and depth of knowledge on this topic as he has,” said Robert T. Smith, managing director of the J. Reuben Clark Law School’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU. “Not only is his knowledge expansive, but the wisdom with which he serves has blessed the lives of people around the world. He is well respected and very deserving of this award.”
The year will mark the 15th year the First Freedom Center has sponsored the annual First Freedom Award. Past recipients include Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State; Dr. Garry Wills, Pulitzer Prize-winning author; former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain; Václav Havel, former President of the Czech Republic; M. Farooq Kathwari, Chairman and CEO, Ethan Allen, Inc., and Founder of the Kashmir Study Group; Abdelfattah Amor, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and the Honorable Richard C. Holbrooke, chief negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
"I feel highly honored to receive this award, because of my familiarity with the excellent work done by the First Freedom Center,” said Professor Durham, when notified of the award. “I am particularly humbled to receive this recognition in light of those who have been so honored in the past.”
W. Cole Durham, Jr. is the Susa Young Gates University Professor of Law and Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU (www.iclrs.org). He is a graduate of Harvard College (A.B. 1972) and the Law School at Harvard University (J.D. 1975). Cole has distinguished himself since joining the faculty of the BYU Law School in 1976 as a scholar of religious liberty and comparative law. In 2000 Professor Durham was appointed as the first Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU. Durham has been a guest professor at Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany and at the University of Vienna, Austria, and since 1994 has also been a Recurring Visiting Professor of Law at Central European University in Budapest. He is co-chair of the OSCE Advisory Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief and serves as vice president of the International Academy for Freedom of Religion and Belief.
Professor Durham has delivered over one hundred lectures on religious freedom subjects in at least thirty-five countries and on every inhabited continent on earth. Each year the Center hosts an international symposium on religious freedom. To date over 800 government, academic and religious leaders have attended from over 100 countries. He is an editor, contributor and author of many books and law review articles dealing with religious liberty. His contributions include Religious Liberty in Western Thought (1996, Scholars Press), Law and Religion in Post-Communist Europe (2003, David Brown Book Company), Facilitating Freedom of Religion or Belief: A Deskbook (2004, Brill Academic Publishers), and Religious Organizations in the United States: A Study of Identity, Liberty, and the Law (2006, Carolina Academic Press).
Posted:January 16, 2009