«At the end of September 1914, I had been gravely injured and I was lying on the ground in misery like my companions. At daybreak, I saw the heavy silhouette of the curate moving around the area. When it came to my turn I said to him in all honesty, 'I am a stranger to your way of worship and I do not share your convinctions'. He replied: 'My child, if you have to appear before the Supreme Judge shortly, know that He will be a judge of love'. This scene is one that I will never forget.»

Rene Cassin Nobel Prize winner and the 4th President of the Honoray Committee of the AIDLR

Who we are

Dr. Liviu OLTEANU
Current Secretary General of the Association


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Liviu Olteanu, PhD is currently serving as the Secretary General of the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty (IADRL/AIDLR).

Since 2011, he is an observer and representative at the United Nations in Geneva, New York and Vienna, a permanent representative at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and Brussels and representative at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and at the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (O.S.C.E.) in Warsaw, Poland.

Events. He has organized several major events – international conferences and side-events – one of which took place in June 2014 at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, co-sponsored by the UN Permanent Missions of Spain, Canada, Norway, Uruguay and the Council of Europe, the others took place in January 2014 and May 2016 in Madrid at the University Complutense, and the most recent event the “Global Summit on Religion, Peace and Security”, co-organized with the United Nations Office of Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect, and cosponsored by the European Union and Spain, and hosted at Palais des Nations in Geneva on 23-25 of November 2016.

Expertize. Liviu Olteanu’ expertize is focused on education for human rights, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, religious minorities, peace and security. For him human rights are the special ‘religion’ of the 21st Century’, and promoting the defense of the PRINCIPLE of freedom of religion or belief for all people, everywhere, must be seen as the key factor for peace and understanding between people, religions and cultures. As an expert in human rights he participates at the events organized by the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the O.S.C.E., and universities; in the past few years alone he has been invited to participate and to deliver keynotes in events organized by the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Italy, etc., at the “G20 Interfaith Summit” in Istanbul and Beijing, or at universities and parliaments from North America and Europe.

Academic Achievements. Liviu Olteanu has achieved the title of Doctor in Law “Summa Cum Laude” following his doctoral studies at the universities of Madrid and Oxford, on: “Origins and Horizon for the Fight of Religious Liberty. The United Nations and Diplomacy in Action for the Protection of Religious Liberty”. He has also earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in law, a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in theology, a Master’s degree in education, the title of Expert in human rights, a degree in diplomatic and international studies, and a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Law (DEA), and he received a scholarship from Oxford University.

Recognition - Few remarks. According to Dr. Bruno Vertallier, the former president of the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty (AIDLR),

«Liviu Olteanu is a suitable person to work in the field of international relations, especially with the United Nations, because of his personality, academic background, integrity, capacity and competency in public affairs and human rights. At the core of his personality, I recognize moral values in Liviu Olteanu. I would identify them as respect for men of all faiths and beliefs. I recognize in him a strong will for dialog and a search for balance and honesty in the quest for human dignity. (Conscience & Liberty 73/2012, p. 7).»

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe Mr. Thorbjorn Jagland, after the meeting of Council of Europe co-organized with the Government of Armenia and hosted at Yerevan, wrote to Liviu Olteanu:

«Dear Secretary General, Your personal contribution to the exchanges, in particular last year in Yerevan, was very much appreciated and I’m confident that this dialogue will be continued both in your Association (AIDLR) and in Council of Europe. »

The former UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon wrote:

«Dear Secretary General Mr. Olteanu, I appreciate your support for the United Nations. I hope your organization will continue to work with the UN for world peace and human rights.»

According to the UNESCO’s Letter sent to Liviu Olteanu:

«On behalf of Mrs Irina Bokova, Director- General of UNESCO, I wish to thank you for the letter that you addressed to the Organization…The defense of religious liberty is an integral part of efforts to protect and promote cultural diversity; a central priority for UNESCO. It is an ethical imperative that is inseparable from respect for human dignity and that should be pursued in full conformity with the human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by international law. As you rightly stress in your letter, the creation of an environment of tolerance, mutual respect and understanding, one which guarantees the full enjoyment of the freedom of conscience and religion, requires that all concerned actors and stakeholders work together closely...»

Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt, former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, after the launch of the “Dialogue Five Framework” at international conference hosted in Madrid in 2014, and hosted at the University Complutense wrote:

«I attach great importance to the design of Madrid Conference - proposed by Dr. Liviu Olteanu as “Dialogue Five Framework - for the systematic consideration to have ‘five’ different actors, different institutions’ presence but also at various levels of Human Rights Institutions. We have human rights obligations at different levels: national, regional and international and religious beliefs and human rights develop in different directions and can mutually undermine each other. We have the Council of Europe approach, the EU approach, various national approaches, the UN approach. We need coordination: one purpose is to avoid a mutual undermining of the authority of human rights standards and for that reason we have to know one another better. The structure of Madrid Conference was demonstrating how to avoid damage, risky situations or a loss of authority because one institution could be played off against other institutions. The Madrid Conference really sets an example, this is something we have to do, is really something we should copy, it is a good and useful; we should establish that on a regular basis in fact. The project of IADRL needs developing a consistence holistic framework at various levels, institutions and elements of infrastructure to fit together. (A/HRC/25/NGO/121).»

Mr. Adama Dieng, the Under-Secretary-General, Special Adviser of Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide, underlined recently:

«Dear Liviu, The year 2016 will be remembered as the cornerstone in the cooperation between us and our two institutions. The Global Summit on “Religion, Peace and Security” was also a turning point in our search for a better world, immune of atrocity crimes, a world which will celebrate the Freedom of religion, a world without any form of discrimination. It is my sincere hope we and our organizations will continue together their Journey for Peace. Once again, allow me to congratulate you for the success of such memorable event and I look forward to see you soon in New York and to discuss future plans as a follow-up to the Global summit and identify other potential areas of cooperation…«

Vision and paradigm. For Dr. Liviu Olteanu every person should be an “Ambassador for Liberty, Hope and Peace”. He believes that high-level public affairs and dialogue, combined with continual vigilance is vital nowadays for protecting religious freedom and freedom of conscience as fundamental tools for peace, understanding among people, and security. He believes that in order to prevent and solve conflicts, the cooperation and coordination of all stakeholders is necessary – and for it, professor Liviu Olteanu proposes the “Dialogue Five Framework” (1. Diplomats, 2. Politicians/ Statesmen, 3. Religious leaders, 4. Scholars and 5. Civil society/NGOs & media), working together at national, regional and international levels, and starting at the point of education - that is to train the trainers - government, parliaments, diplomats, religious representatives, etc. He also believes that religious liberty is the cornerstone of freedom, is necessary to encourage a culture of respect for diversity, and is essential for a good understanding between people, cultures and religions as every individual matters and is entitled to their dignity.

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