Speakers

Second Global Summit on «Religion, Peace and Security»

«Building bridges, fostering inclusivity and countering hate speech to enhance the protection of religious minorities, refugees and migrants»


In alphabetical order:

H.E. Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah · Mohammed Abu-Nimer · Brian Adams · Hajar Al-Kaddo · Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi · Diane Ala'I · Abdulaziz Almuzaini · Ammo Aziza Baroud · Syed Tayabul Bashar · Gregorio Bettiza · Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah · Faisal bin Majid · Faisal bin abdulrahman bin Muaammar · Mario Brito · Rudelmar Bueno De Faria · Grace Chung Lee · Jose Maria Coello de Portugal · Simona Cruciani · Arie de Pater · Purnaka de Silva · Fernand de Varennes · Adama Dieng · Ganoup Diop · Michael Daniel Driessen · Jonathan Duffy · W. Cole Durham, Jr. · Mohamed Elsanousi · Sharon Eubank · Bonnie Evans-Hills · Ricardo García García · Katarzyna Gardapkhadze · Alberto Guaita · Azza Karam Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr. · Elizabeta Kitanovic · Alexey Kozhemyakov · Paulo Sérgio Macedo · Michelle Mack Fiore · Kishan Fitzgerald Manocha · Asher Maoz Joao Martins · Michael Melchior · Michael Møller · Harald Mueller · Sana Mustafa · Antonio-Eduard Nistor · Liviu Olteanu · Luca Ozzano · Li Guodong Marie Juul Petersen · Jose Maria Puyol Montero · Iman Razawi · Nika Saeedi · Ibrahim Salama · Brett G. Scharffs · Thomas Schirrmacher · Jose Miguel Serrano Ruiz-Calderon · Hannah Strømmen · Kyriaki Topidi · Rik Torfs

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Prof. Mohammed Abu-Nimer. Professor, International Peace and Conflict Resolution, School of International Service, American University and Senior Advisor at KAICIID, International Center for Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue. He has been working on linking religious institutions and policy makers in governmental and intergovernmental agencies such as: UN, EU, OIC, OSCE, etc., to promote peace and reconciliation. He founded and directed the Center for Peacebuilding and Development (2001-2013), is the founder of Salam Institute for Peace and Justice and co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development. He has worked for over three decades in dialogue and peacebuilding in the Middle East region; the application of conflict resolution models in Muslim communities; inter-religious conflict resolution training; interfaith dialogue; civic education; and evaluation of conflict resolution programs. In the past decade, Prof. Abu-Nimer has conducted numerous peace education and interfaith dialogue programs with Muslim and Christian leaders in both Niger and Chad, too. He has been intervening and conducting training workshops and courses all over the world in conflict zones such as: Sri Lanka, Mindanao- Philippines, Palestine, Egypt, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Chad, Niger, Kurdistan- Iraq, as well as other areas including the United States and Europe. Prof. Abu-Nimer holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. As a scholar he has published many books and articles.


Dr Bryan J. Adams is the Director of the Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue at Griffith University. As a former Rotary Peace Fellow, Brian is primarily focused on promoting respect and understanding across cultural, religious and organisational boundaries.

Brian's 20-plus years of work in Africa, Europe, North America and the Asia–Pacific bring a compelling international perspective to the Centre. His background in mediation, conflict management and dialogue facilitation strengthens the Centre's ability to address some of the great challenges facing the world today, while his fluency in English, French and Swahili allow him to expand the work of the ICD to marginalised groups in Australia and to troubled regions across the globe.

Brian is co-convenor of the G20 Interfaith Forum, an annual public interfaith dialogue platform to develop recommendations on issues relevant to the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

He is the author of the CURe Program for Productive Diversity. This program helps create the mindset, develop the skills and establish an environment for people to value the traditions and perspectives of others and to contribute their own. He is also the author of “Countering Community Division”, a whole-of-community framework to addressing drivers of violent extremism.


Hajar Al-Kaddo is currently a PhD researcher at the Centre for Humanitarian Action (CHA) at University College Dublin focusing on clean energy policy in humanitarian action. Hajar is the former Head of Programmes at Human Appeal’s missions in Greece, Turkey and Iraq. Working in the field delivering life saving humanitarian programmes in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Europe. In her voluntary capacity, Hajar is the vice chair of Board of Trustee and the former Vice President of FEMYSO (Forum of European Muslim Youth and Students Organisations), representing 35 member organisations throughout Europe. She is currently a board member and youth coordinator of the DCIF (Dublin City Interfaith Forum), working with Interfaith communities and the Garda Síochána to develop national initiatives focussed on interfaith minorities in Ireland.


His Eminence Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi is a Syrian Muslim spiritual leader with a worldwide following. He is an internationally recognised scholar of Islamic theology, Tradition and jurisprudence. Al-Yaqoubi is classified for the 6th consecutive year as one of the 500 most influential Muslim figures and ranks second in Syria (themuslim500.com). He descends from a scholarly family that traces its lineage back to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). From 2008-2011 he was a Lecturer at the Grand Omayyad Mosque in Damascus.

Author of the recently published book in Arabic and English titled "Refuting ISIS".

Has made high profile media appearances to directly combat both the Assad regime and IS (BBC/ CNN/ PBS).

Speaks English and Swedish, and reads French and German. He was one of the earliest Sunni scholars to denounce the atrocities of the Assad regime against the Syrian people.

He left Syria in mid 2011 for Morocco where he now lives.


Diane Ala'I holds post-graduate degrees in International Relations from the Institut d’Etude des Relations Internationales in Paris and from the Institut Européen des Hautes Etudes Internationales in Nice. She also holds degrees from the International Institute for Human Rights in Strasbourg and the Geneva Peace Research Institute.

Since 1992, she has been a Representative to the United Nations for the Bahá'í International Community, United Nations Office in Geneva. In this capacity, she has participated in numerous sessions of UN organs, e.g. the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council (and its predecessor, the former Commission on Human Rights and its Sub-Commission), the Commission on the Status of Women, other HR Committees, and the UNHCR ExCom. Previously a member of the Bahá'í International Community delegation to the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna (1993), she served as Head of delegation for the Bahá'í International Community at the Third World Conference Against Racism in Durban (2001). Diane Ala’i also works with other non-governmental organisations accredited to the United Nations. She is currently the Chair of the NGO Sub-Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief. As an NGO representative, she has worked closely with the various mechanisms of the Human Rights Council (and former Commission), often participating in the coordination of NGO input. She has been an invited speaker at numerous events related to freedom of religion or belief and/or minorities rights, and has also helped to train interns of the European Union.


Dr Abdulaziz Almuzaini, Director of the UNESCO Geneva Office since 2013, first joined UNESCO in 2011 as Senior Advisor in the Office of the Director-General where he took part in fund-raising efforts, the development of public/private sector partnerships, including with government authorities, UN agencies and NGOs.

Beginning his professional career in 1982 as a Manager in Saudi Telecommunications, Dr Almuzaini then moved in 1983 to become an Editor in the Al-Riyadh newspaper in Saudi Arabia, followed by more senior roles in the Saudi Fund for Development. From 1996 to 1997, he served as Advisor to the Saudi Ministry of Education and then moved on to become CEO and Founder of several public and private companies, including Saudi Basic Industries Corporation in Paris.

From 2009 to 2010, Dr Almuzaini served as Counsellor in the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to the WTO in Geneva.

Dr Almuzaini holds a PhD in Information and Communication from the Sorbonne University of Panthéon-Assas Paris II and an MA in Communications from the University of Québec as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Information from the King Saud University of Riyadh. He is fluent in Arabic, French and English and is the author of numerous articles and publications on cultural, economic and political affairs.


H.E. Ambassador Aziza Baroud is a development economist, with a degree in applied economics from the University of Paris Dauphine in 1989. Aziza Baroud led between 1999 and 2003 the negotiation and development of the Chadian oil project. In addition, its long history with NGOs and other civil society actors has allowed it to play a central role in strengthening their capacities and gradually establishing a framework for dialogue at the national level.

She was Minister of Public Health and later as Minister Secretary of State for Planning in charge of Micro-Finance, and, between the two, a transition to the Presidency of the Republic as Adviser to the Head of State in the field of human resources development allowed him to set up structural minds of constructive changes.

Aziza Baroud chose to serve the people through another angle that was that of the National Assembly where she was elected MP in June 2011 until 2017 for Waddi Firah. She chaired the Commission on Fundamental Rights, Freedoms, Communication and ICT.

Appointed to represent Chad abroad, since 2017, his Excellency has been Ambassador of Chad to BENELUX, Chad's representative to the EU and to the ACP Group of States.


Syed Tayabul Bashar has been working as a Social Worker from the age of 18 and specialize in ‘Counter Terrorism Narrative’, closely working for ‘Inter Religious harmony and dialogue’ also involved with youth engagement and extensive work on youth development through different initiatives ranging from Sports to education . He has expertise in ‘women empowerment in rural areas’ as well. Syed born in a 200 years old Sufi – saint family of Maizvandar Darbar Sharif at Fatikchari, Chittagong. Father – Alhaj Syed Nazibul Bashar Maizvandary, MP and Chairman of Bangladesh Tariqat Federation (BTF) – the only Sufi Political party in Bangladesh.

Syed is Founder Chairman of Save & Serve Foundation a non-profit charitable aims to promote religious tolerance particularly through mobilizing scholars, clerics and leaders of different faith groups. In 2018 & 2019, Save & Serve Foundation organized workshops titled “Fostering peaceful & inclusive communities in Bangladesh” with support of UN office for Genocide prevention and the responsibility to protect and UNDP Bangladesh. Prominent religious leaderships of different faith groups across the country joined in the workshops to explore the opportunities and mechanism for working together on preventing violent extremism. The participants agreed to work on minimize the gap amongst mainstream religious groups with that of minorities practicing different faiths, address prevention of incitement to violence, hate speech, intolerance and stamping out religious extremism in all strata of Bangladeshi social fabric bringing all stakeholders under one umbrella.


Dr Gregorio Bettiza is Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter. His research focuses on religion and civilizational identities in international relations. Gregorio has recently completed a monograph titled Finding Faith in Foreign Policy: Religion and American Diplomacy in a Post Secular World (Oxford University Press). The book investigates how religion has increasingly become a subject and object of US foreign policy across a range of areas, including promoting international religious freedom, advancing humanitarian and development objectives through faith-based approaches, and fighting terrorism by seeking to reform Muslim societies and Islamic theologies. Gregorio’s next project will look at how narratives of civilizational clashes are becoming a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ in world politics today.

Gregorio received his PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 2012 and was Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy between 2012-14. He has also held Visiting Fellowships at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC in 2011 and 2017. Gregorio’s work has been published, among others, in the European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, International Studies Review, International Studies Perspectives, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism and Oxford Bibliographies.


H.E Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah is the President of the Forum for Promoting Peace, based in the UAE. In 2014 he founded the Forum for Peace, the first of its kind in the Muslim world, a yearly forum that brings together from different persuasions over 300 of the world’s leading Islamic scholars, academics, thought leaders & Ministers of Religion. The forum addresses the critical humanitarian crisis within the vast framework of the Islamic tradition and legal theory, educating scholars to organize and form a unified front against the conflagration affecting the Muslim world.

For the past 25 years, Shaykh Abdallah has taught a select group of students who are among the most prominent scholars in the Middle East. He has authored several original works and hundreds of articles and essays in Arabic and English. Amongst recent achievements include the 2010 Mardin conference, where the Shaykh deconstructed a fatwa by highlighting a typographical error that was used by Al Qaeda and other extremist outfits to validate over 152 suicide operations.

In January 2016, he led the historic Marrakesh Declaration, demonstrating that the declaration was derived from the covenant of Madinah, under the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad, God’s peace and blessings upon him. Many of the scholars have neglected to emphasize the covenant, however this declaration shows the commitment of Islam’s peaceful coexistence with other religions and the protection of minorities from all types of religious persecution, displacement and discrimination in predominantly Muslim majority countries. At the recent Forum in December 2016, when demonstrating that the Caliphate State is a non-binding formula for Muslim, he highlighted ‘we don’t want a place where Muslims feel safe and other people don’t feel safe. We want a land where everyone feels safe’. In February 2018 he will be inviting over 500 delegates including senior religious leaders in an Alliance of Virtue for the common good, at a gathering hosted by the Forum for Peace in Washington DC.

Shaykh Bin Bayyah is frequently sought for advice by international institutions such as U.N, E.U, UNESCO, ISESCO, OIC and governments such as the U.S, U.K, U.A.E and Morocco and in 2017 was appointed the Chairman of the UAE Fatwa Council.


Bs. Faisal bin Majid is Project Officer, Partnership for a Tolerant, Inclusive Bangladesh United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bangladesh.

Faisal is a development practitioner on promoting diversity, tolerance and social inclusion with experience in preventing violent extremism (PVE), gender justice, minority rights and rights of the disabled. He gained advanced academic degree in International Social Work and research experience on building social cohesion from leading European Universities. Currently he is working in UNDP Bangladesh PVE programme.


H.E. Faisal bin Muaammar has promoted for decades inter religious tolerance. He is currently founder and Secretary General of two organizations focused on enhancing understanding and knowledge: the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) in Vienna, and the King Abdulaziz Public Library (KAPL) in Riyadh. He oversaw the founding and stewardship of the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s only institution dedicated to national dialogue, a role he held from 2003 to 2018. He took on the KACND role five years after becoming Founding Supervisor General of KAPL, a position he still holds today. Three years after overseeing the establishment of KAPL, Mr. Bin Muaammar spearheaded the creation of the library's Arabic Union Catalog (AUC) a one-of-a-kind digital platform in the Arab world. Today, the AUC has over 1.2 million bibliographic records.

As founding Secretary General of Vienna’s International Dialogue Centre, he oversees the Secretariat, as well as the development of initiatives to enhance dialogue among followers of different religions. He is the Center’s primary representative at high-level international conferences and facilitates meetings among the Center’s key principle organs: the Council of Parties, the Board of Directors and the Advisory Forum.

Mr. Bin Muaammar is also Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. His senior positions in the Saudi Arabian administration have included Vice Minister of Education, Advisor to the Royal Court of then-Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and Deputy of the National Guard for Cultural and Educational Affairs.

Included among his other professional affiliations are Board memberships within organizations who work to educate young people, promote peace and enhance intercultural understanding.


Mario Brito is the current President of the International Association for the Defence of Religions Liberty (AIDLR). He was born in Praya, Cabo Verde where he lived for 18 years, after he emigrated to Lisbon, Portugal. Mario Brito is licentiates in Theology and holds a Master of Divinity by Andrews University, Michigan, USA.


Rudelmar Bueno De Faria is the General Secretary (CEO) of the ACT Alliance, an international coalition of 152 churches and faith-based organizations working together in humanitarian, development and advocacy work in over 120 countries. Prior to this, he served as the World Council of Churches Representative to the United Nations and Deputy Director for the Lutheran World Service. He has over 25 years of experience working with national and international non-governmental organizations. His education embraces business administration, international relations and foreign trade. He has post-graduation studies on Diakonia and Community Development and several specialization courses related to international, humanitarian and human rights laws.

Rudelmar is a member of the Steering Committee on Humanitarian Response (SCHR), member of the Advisory Council of Faith-Based Organizations to the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Religion and Sustainable Development, member of the UN Steering Committee for the Implementation of the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence, member of the Advisory Board for the Humanitarian Encyclopedia, and member of the NGO Working Group on the UN Security Council.


Ven. Grace Chung Lee is President of Vision for a New Civilization, spiritual teacher, visionary peace activist and international leader in the movement of interreligious dialogue and cooperation. Grace brings vision and Buddhist spirituality to international audiences. She teaches the Buddhist philosophy of spiritual stability and freedom from the mindless and unceasing pursuit of materialism. Grace is noted for imparting Buddha dharma on a personal, community and global level.

Ven. Lee serves as the Co-President of Religions for Peace International, the largest international interfaith organization, a position she has held since 1999. Dr Lee has represented Won Buddhism to the United Nations since 1992 and held many important UN Committees, working for peace and security, climate change, human right, universal ethics, gender equality and addressed ethical, moral and spiritual perspective on the work of the United Nations.

Dr Lee is the author of Gender Equality, Women in Won Buddhism (2019), Living Dharma: A Guide to Daily Practice of Won Buddhism (2012), Vision for a New Civilization: Spiritual and Ethical Values in the New Millennium (2000) and Dharma Record: New Mind and New Body (1994). She holds a Ph.D. from New York University. Ven. Lee received full ordination in 1981 in Korea.


Dr Jose Maria Coello de Portugal is accredited as a Contracted Lecturer in Constitutional Law since 2011, he is since 2016 Vice-Dean of International and Institutional Relations of the Faculty of Law of the Complutense University of Madrid. He defended his Ph.D qualified with cum laude by unanimity after graduating in Law with an extraordinary degree award.

He has been a collaboration and research fellow of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture at the Faculty of Law and fellow of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), and taught Constitutional Law and European Union Law at the Complutense Faculties of Law and Political Science and Sociology, as well as at the Master in Parliamentary Law, Elections and Legislative Studies.

Visiting Professor and researcher at different institutions in France, Peru and Ecuador, where he has also carried out research stays. He has published more than twenty five scientific contributions and directed or co-directed several doctoral thesis, and end-of-master works and has been a member of more than thirty academic tribunals for the prosecution of doctoral theses and end-of-master works.

Between 2014 and 2019, he has been a member of the Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom of the Ministry of Justice in Spain as an expert member of recognised competence.


Simona Cruciani works on information management, early warning, and risk assessment in the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. She joined the Office in July 2008, after having served in United Nations field operations in Burundi and Sudan. In Burundi, Cruciani served in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (ONUB) as an Electoral and Civil Affairs Officer. In Sudan, she worked as Civil Affairs Officer for UNMIS. Cruciani’s focus has primarily been on supporting human security, democratization and human rights in conflict and post-conflict situations. She has master’s degrees in Contemporary History, International Affairs, and Public Health.


Mr. Arie de Pater is the Brussels Representative of the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA). Since May 2017, he puts a face and mouth to EEA’s presence at the European Institutions and related networks in the European capital.

De Pater comes to the job with almost twenty years of advocacy experience. He has been defending Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion at national, EU, OSCE, and UN level. Over the years, he has gathered a lot of theoretical knowledge on the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief. In addition, he met with many people who had this precious human right violated.

He has worked closely with the UN team of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), both in Geneva and in New York, and has served the WEA as a member of its Religious Liberty Commission for over a decade.

Although De Pater continues to defend and promote Freedom of Religion or Belief for all, his work for the EEA also includes Freedom of Expression and the plight of refugees and migrants.

Arie was one of the founding members of the European Platform against Religious Intolerance and Discrimination (EPRID). He prefers to work in broad coalitions fostering Freedom of Religion or Belief.


Purnaka L. ("PL") de Silva – Director, Institute for Strategic Studies and Democracy (ISSD) Malta, a small think-tank covering Libya, human trafficking, forced migration and terrorist threats in Mediterranean basin countries. He has +30 years experience in back-room diplomacy, mediation and negotiations vis-à-vis complex emergencies, deeply divided societies and civil wars. Post 9/11, Dr de Silva was a Member of the UN Terrorism Committee and the Special Sub-Group on Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism (headed by Jayantha Dhanapala, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs), and the Policy Working Group on the UN and Terrorism (chaired by Sir Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General heading the Department of Political Affairs). He was Senior Advisor UN Global Compact, Executive of Office of the Secretary General during the tenure of Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Dr de Silva taught Politics and International Relations in New York, New Jersey, Long Island and at Queen’s University of Belfast. He has co-edited: The Routledge Companion on Media and Humanitarian Action (2018), and Postmodern Insurgencies: Political Violence, Identity Formation and Peacemaking in Comparative Perspective (2000). He is currently writing a Routledge Focus book for publication (2019) titled: “Media and Transcontinental Humanitarian Action: Human Trafficking, Forced Migration and the German Marshall Plan With Africa”.


Dr Fernand de Varennes, the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, holds the positions of Extraordinary Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria (South Africa), Visiting Professor at the National University of Ireland-Galway (Ireland), and from 2019 Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong (China). He is renown as an expert on the international human rights of minorities, and has worked, amongst others, in areas such as the prevention of ethnic conflicts, the relationship between ethnicity, human rights and democracies.

Dr de Varennes has law degrees from Canada (LLB, Moncton), the United Kingdom (LLM, London School of Economics and Political Science), and the Netherlands (Dr Juris, Maastricht) and over 200 publications in more than 30 languages. In recognition of his contributions and dedication to human rights and the protection of minorities, he has received accolades from Africa, Asia, and Europe, including the 2004 Linguapax Award (Barcelona, Spain), the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, the Tip O’Neill Peace Fellowship (Northern Ireland, UK), and was nominated for the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (Gwangju, South Korea).


On 17 July 2012, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Adama Dieng of Senegal as Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. Mr. Dieng has served as Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda since 2001. A legal and human rights expert, Mr. Dieng has throughout his career contributed to strengthening of the rule of law, fighting impunity and promoting capacity building of judicial and democratic institutions. He has also contributed to the establishment of several non-governmental organizations in Africa and to strengthening African institutions. Mr. Dieng was the driving force behind the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as the draft African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.


Dr Ganoup Diop is expertise in Biblical Exegesis and Theology, Philology with an emphasis on Ancient Near East languages and civilizations. He taught Comparative World Religions and Philosophies. He earned a master’s degree in Philology at the School of Languages and Civilizations of the Ancient Near East in Paris and a PhD candidacy in New Testament Studies with a focus on Apocalyptic Literature at the University of Paris. He completed postgraduate studies in Semiotics Studies and applied Linguistics at the University of Sorbonne, Paris. He graduated from Andrews University with a PhD in Old Testament Studies in 1995. He was granted a doctorate Honoris Causa for his work in helping promote a culture of human rights grounded on human dignity.

Dr. Diop works to foster mutual understanding between Christian faith traditions and other world religions and philosophies. He regularly trains leaders in capacity building in reference to peace, justice, and human rights: the pillars of the United Nations. He is the secretary of the Conference of General Secretaries of Christian World Communions, the largest Christian organization to foster peaceful interchurch relations.

He is the executive editor of Fides et Libertas et World Report on the Status of Religious Freedom and is the co-founder of the annual meeting of “Faith-based Organizations in International Affairs” at the United Nations in New York. He also organizes the yearly “Meeting of Experts” focusing on academic contributions to freedom of religion or belief at the intersections of contemporary global challenges.


Michael Daniel Driessen was a Jean Monnet Fellow in the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute of Fiesole. Currently is Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science and International Affairs in the John Cabot University of Rome.


As president for one of the leading faith-based humanitarian agencies, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), MSc. Jonathan Duffy brings a wealth of public health leadership with a passion for fostering global partnerships.

In his previous role as president at ADRA Australia, Jonathan doubled the office’s emergency relief projects reaching more than 1 million new beneficiaries. He also implemented initiatives in health, vocational training, and psychosocial support, advancing ADRA’s aid efforts to more than 15 million people in just one year. He also served as director of the South Pacific region in the Adventist church, a public health consultant, a keynote speaker, and a voice for the humanitarian cause on multiple executive committees.

Jonathan graduated from Deakin University in Australia with a master’s degree in public health. Additionally, he received a graduate certificate of occupational health management from the University of Sydney.


W. Cole Durham, Jr. is the Founding Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, Brigham Young University. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was a Note Editor of the Harvard Law Review and Managing Editor of the Harvard International Law Journal. He has focused on comparative law scholarship, with an emphasis on comparative constitutional law. He is the immediate past President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS), based in Milan, Italy, and a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion. He served as the Secretary of the American Society of Comparative Law from 1989 to 1994. He is an Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law in Paris. He served in earlier years as Chair both of the Comparative Law Section and the Law and Religion Section of the American Association of Law Schools. He is the author (with Brett Scharffs) of Law and Religion: National, International and Comparative Perspectives (2d ed. 2019); a co-editor (with Gerhard Robbers) of the Encyclopedia of Law and Religion (Brill 2016), and a co-author of a 4-volume treatise, Religious Organizations and the Law (Thomson Reuters / West).


Mohamed Elsanousi is the Executive Director of the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, a global network that builds bridges between grassroots peacemakers and global players to work towards sustainable peace. Prior to this position, Dr. Elsanousi was the director of Interfaith and Government Relations for the Islamic Society of North America. He also served on the Taskforce for the U.S. Department of State's working group on Religion and Foreign Policy under Secretary Clinton and Kerry, which he was charged with making recommendations to the Secretary of State and the Federal Advisory Commission on how the US government can better engage with civil society and religious actors.

Most recently Dr. Elsanousi selected to join the NGO Working Group on the U.N. Security Council. He also serves on the board of directors and trustees for numerous interfaith organizations, including the Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, the United Nations Faith-based Council, the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies and the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Dr. Elsanousi holds a bachelor’s degree in Shariah and Law, a Master of Laws and a Ph.D. in Law and Society from the Indiana University School of Law.


Sharon Eubank is currently the president of Latter-day Saint Charities. After federal government and small business experience, she joined LDS Charities in 1998. She established international employment offices helping women qualify for jobs or start small businesses. She directed the humanitarian wheelchair donation program. In 2008 she became regional director of LDS Charities for the Middle East, overseeing humanitarian work in 11 countries. From 2011-2018 Ms. Eubank was director of LDS Charities’ worldwide operations. In 2017 she was also appointed to serve in the general presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ women’s organization called Relief Society. In this capacity, she helps provide leadership and resource for 7.2 million members in 162 countries.


Bonnie Evans-Hills is coordinator for the UK Coalition, working with the UN Office for Genocide Prevention, religious leaders & actors, focusing on transforming attitudes to refugees, migration, radicalization and hate crime in order to avert future atrocities. She has considerable experience in interreligious dialogue, peace-building, and community development - working with the World Council of Churches, Anglican Communion, and Church of England, among others.


Dr Ricardo García García is Vice-Rector General and Strategic Planification of the Catholic University of Valencia and Professor of Ecclesiastical Law in the Catholic University of Valencia (2015-today). Former Deputy Director in the Ministry of Justice of Spain on relations with religions and churches, (2012-2015).

Ricardo García is expert in Relations with Confessions. He is one of the six recognized experts in religious freedom in the “Comisión Asesora de Libertad Religiosa” of the Ministry of Justice in Spain.

Mr García has served as Government Subdelegate in the Madrid region, dealing with public order and security matters, and representing the State in important gatherings in the visit that His Holiness Benedict XVI paid to the capital of Spain in 2011.

He has been awarded the “Encomienda al Mérito Civil” and the “Cruz de San Raimundo de Peñafort”, one of the highest honors for Spanish civilians recognized by the Ministries of International Affairs and the Justice of Spain.


Katarzyna Gardapkhadze has more than 30 years of professional experience in strategic planning and change management, conflict resolution, human and children rights, and gender equality. She has lived and worked in dozens of countries spanning four continents, from the United States to Central Asia. In 2003-2011, Katarzyna led conflict resolution and child/social welfare reform programs in the South Caucasus, and advised similar programs in Central Asia. In 2000 – 2002, she managed initiatives focused on human rights, minorities and inter-ethnic dialogue in Western Balkans.

As a leader and as an individual, Katarzyna is strongly committed to peace that she sees an absolute prerequisite for the harmonious development of humanity. For her, peace is not just an absence of war; it is about making sure that we build just and equal societies, based on respect for universal human rights, dialogue and cooperation, empathy and compassion.

Fluent in Polish, English and Russian, Katarzyna holds a university degree in social sciences.

Ms. Katarzyna Gardapkhadze is the First Deputy Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, working on elections, democratization, human rights, tolerance and non-discrimination, and Roma and Sinti programs.


Alberto F. Guaita is the President of ADLR Spain, member of Director Comitee for 27 years in Africa (Cameroon R.) and Spain. Pastor of SD Adventist Church for 44 years and former President of SD Adventist Church in Spain. Teacher and Dean of Theology in Camerron and Spain. University Degree in Theology and Philosophy. Rector in Nanga-Eboko Seminary and Facultad Adventista de Teología de Sagunto, Spain.


Dr Azza Karam is a Senior Advisor at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). She represents UNFPA as Coordinator of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion; she is Lead Facilitator for the United Nations Strategic Learning Exchanges on Religion Development Humanitarianism / Diplomacy. She coordinates engagement with the UN’s Global Interfaith Network of over 500 faith-based NGOs and liaises with the UN Faith Advisory Council. She has published in several languages on political Islam, Gender, Education, and Religion and Development. Dr. Karam also serves as Professor of Religion and Development at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr. is the Executive Director of URI - the United Religions Initiative, a global grassroots interfaith peacebuilding organization working in 109 countries and at the United Nations to cultivate peace and justice by engaging people of all cultures and religions to bridge differences, foster understanding, build relationships and work together on humanitarian issues for the good of their communities and the world. Prior to joining URI in 2013, Victor served for 20 years as Dean of Intercultural Education & Religious and Spiritual Life and Co-director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Wellesley College. Victor is a visiting faculty member at the Malaviya Center for Peace Research at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, where he served as Fulbright Professor of Peace & Justice Studies. Victor regularly leads training programs around the world on intercultural and interreligious dialogue, conflict transformation and peacebuilding, diversity and democracy, social justice, community building and community organizing. He is the author and editor books and numerous articles, including Education as Transformation: Religious Pluralism, Spirituality and a New Vision for Higher Education in America, (New York: Peter Lang, 2000), and the Studies in Spirituality and Education series published by Peter Lang Press.


Elizabeta Kitanovic is Executive Secretary for Human Rights of Conference of European Churches in Brussels. She is working as senior human rights advocate vis-a-vis International Organizations. She is editor of the Human Rights Training Manuel for European Churches and is editor and founder of the first European Churches Human Rights Library and the Church and Society’s Annual Reports 2007-2014. In 2009/2010 she has been a member of the Advisory Panel of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and was again nominated for 2012/2014. Ms Kitanovic completed her studies in Theology and doctoral studies at Political Science Faculty in Belgrade. She graduated from the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Serbian Government. Ms Kitanovic is regularly giving lectures and presentations in the area of human rights. She speaks English, French, Greek and Serbian.


Alexey Kozhemyakov is the Head of the Secretariat of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of the Council of Europe. Mr. Alexey Kozhemyakov is a doctor of law from Moscow University, where he taught for several years, before becoming adviser and expert at the Council of Europe.


Paulo Sérgio Macedo is a licentiate in Political Science and International Relations by the Universidade Lusíada do Porto, Portugal. Post-Graduate in Social Media by Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. Masters in Strategic Communication by Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, under the theme of Argumentation Strategies in Political Discourse. Secretary-General AIDLR, Portugal since 2006. Editor of the Conscience and Liberty magazine for Portugal. Director of the Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty of the SDA Portuguese Union of Churches since 2007. Member of the Inter-religious Dialogue Group of the High-Commissariat for Migrations, Portugal.


Michelle Mack Fiore serves as International Senior Legal Advisor to Jus Cogens (JC), providing legal counsel in support of the organization's efforts in the fields of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) and Minority Issues. JC is active in advocacy and training in these domains, as well as providing support in individual cases of violations and human rights abuse. The organization compiles reports, conducts analysis of patterns of violations, and actively engages in proposals of policy positions to better protect essential human rights. Ms Mack Fiore is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and serves as Secretary of the NGO Committee on FoRB (Geneva).


Kishan Fitzgerald Manocha has extensive experience in freedom of religion or belief and related human rights issues in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Central and South Asia as an advocate, researcher, trainer and consultant to a number of international and non-governmental organisations. He has been Senior Adviser on Freedom of Religion or Belief at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw since May 2015. Prior to that he served as Director of the Office of Public Affairs of the Bahá’í community of the United Kingdom.

Kishan holds degrees in medicine and law from the Universities of London and Cambridge respectively. He first trained in psychiatry, completing a Research Fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry and becoming a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, before studying law and practising as a barrister. He has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Carr Centre for Human Rights at Harvard University, a Fellow of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, and a Special Adviser to the late Shahbaz Bhatti, former Minister for Minority Affairs in Pakistan. He also chairs the Faith Matters Advisory Board and is a trustee of Beyond Conflict, a charity that supports the provision of counselling and mental health support to those who have been affected by violence in Iraq. Kishan was actively involved in interfaith dialogue activities at the local and national levels in the UK for over two decades and is currently member of the Global Steering Committee of the Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes.


Asher Maoz is Founder and Dean of the Peres Academic Center Law School. Was for many years on the Faculty of Law at Tel-Aviv University and taught at several universities in the United States, Europe, and Australia. Professor Maoz holds the degrees of LL.B. and LL.M., both summa cum laude (Hebrew U.), M.Comp.L. (University of Chicago), J.S.D. (Tel-Aviv U.) and Doctor Honoris Causa (Ovidius U., Romania); founding editor-in-chief,“Law, Society and Culture"; member, Int’l Academic Advisory Board, Religion and the Rule of Law, Oxford; member,Scientific Board, Review Dionysina; member, Academic Council of the In’l Academy for Jewish Leadership; member, scientific committee, NEDES Int’l Conferences on Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunities by “Dimitre Cantemir” and the National Council for Combating Discrimination and Committee for Human Rights, Cults and National Minorities Issues of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies; member, Academic Council, Shalem College, Jerusalem; Senior Fellow, Int’l Advisory and Research Council, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Inter-University Center for Legal Studies, Int’l Law Institute, George Washington U; fellow, Institute for Global Legal Studies, Washington University School of Law; former academic advisor to the Knesset Committee Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on adopting a constitution for the State of Israel; member of GELF Scientific Committee; Member, Steering Committee, ICLARS; member, G20 Interfaith Forum Advisory Council; Vice President Honorary Committee and member of the Board of Experts, AIDLR, and many other organizations. He is the author of numerous academic publications.


Born in Lisbon, Portugal, João Martins is presently the Executive Director of ADRA Europe, after having led ADRA in Angola and Portugal for 15 years. With a first degree in Business and Administration in the University of Évora in Portugal and a Masters in Applied Development Studies by the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, his motivation is to contribute a society where every human being has its dignity assured.


A descendant of seven generations of Danish Rabbis, Rabbi Melchior was born in Denmark, is an ordained Orthodox rabbi and immigrated to Israel in 1986. He serves as the Chief Rabbi of Norway and as rabbi of a vibrant orthodox community in Jerusalem. In 1999 he was elected to the Knesset and served for 10 years in roles including: Minister for Social Affairs and World Jewry; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Deputy Minister of Education & Culture. In addition, he was the founding chairman of Birthright Israel.

Rabbi Michael Melchior is the founder and President of The Mosaica Center for Religious Conflict Transformation in the Middle East. In addition to founding Mosaica, which actively works to build a religious peace between leaders of all religions in the region Rabbi Melchior has founded The Yachad Council that promotes open dialogue between different strands of Israeli society while tackling religious and political extremism; Meitarim, a network of over 90 inclusive schools that educate children from all Jewish sectors and communities in Israel and The Citizen's Accord Forum, which promotes the building of bridges of coexistence and justice between Israeli Jews and Israeli-Arabs. Rabbi Melchior is also an internationally renowned Jewish leader, thinker and activist and a leading advocate for social justice in Israel, interfaith dialogue and a voice for peaceful co-existence.


Michael Møller is the 12th Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UN Geneva).

Mr. Møller has over 38 years of experience as an international civil servant in the United Nations. He began his career in 1979 with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and worked for the United Nations in different capacities in New York, Mexico, Iran, Haiti, Cyprus and Geneva. In 1995-1997, he served as Senior Political Adviser to the Director-General of UN Geneva. Between 1997 and 2001, he was Head of the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs at United Nations headquarters; between 2001 and 2006 he was Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the Office of the Secretary-General, while serving concurrently as Deputy Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General for the last two years of that period.

Mr. Møller also served as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Cyprus from 2006 to 2008 and was the Executive Director of the Kofi Annan Foundation from 2008 to 2011.

In recognition of his efforts to deepen public understanding of the vital role of the United Nations and its partners in Geneva, Mr. Møller received a series of prizes from the City of Geneva, the Union Suisse des Attachés de Presse and, most recently, the Fondation pour Genève.

Born in 1952 in Copenhagen, Mr. Møller earned a Master’s degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, United States, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom.


Harald Mueller is Judge in Hannover and board member of the German branch of the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty. He is leading the Institute for Religious Liberty at the University of Friedensau, Germany.


Ms. Sana Mustafa is the Founder and Manager of Sana Mustafa Consulting LLC where she consults with different institutions such as Oxfam International, Open Society Foundation, United Nations, WeWork, Tent Partnership for Refugees, and others on designing engagement projects related to refugees, refugees’ inclusion and meaningful participation through design thinking approach. Mustafa is an active public speaker and has spoken at the United Nations headquarters in New York, delivered a TED talk, the White House, Harvard Law School, Stanford, and at numerous other respected venues.

Mustafa is a founding member of The Network For Refugee Voices, a refugees led coalition working to increase refugees engagement with international community to pursue inclusive, sustainable, and effective refugee and immigration policy. Mustafa is also a member of Syria’s first Syrian Women’s Political Movement, whose aim is to unite women from across professional fields and ethnic lines to ensure vision for women’s inclusion in a future Syria.


Antonio-Eduard Nistor is philosopher and theologian, President of the Foundation “Pro Vivere Dignum” whose actions were initiated in Uganda, country with serious problems after the end of the civil war. Their goal is always to provide the elements of first necessity, as well as to educate for self-sufficiency.


Liviu Olteanu is the author and the coordinator of the multidisciplinary and multi-institutional frame ‘Dialogue Five’ on diplomats, politicians, religious leaders, academia and civil society (NGOs, media) with an extensive experience in organizing and managing international top events as international conferences, global summits and seminars. His expertise is on education for human rights, fostering dignity and dialog for diversity and defense of religious liberty and freedom of conscience, peace and security.

Professor Olteanu has launched and co-organized with the United Nations Office of Genocide Prevention the First Global Summit on ‘Religion, Peace and Security’ hosted at Palais des Nations in Geneva in 2016 and co-organizes the Second Global Summit under the same frame of the ‘Dialogue Five’ together with H.E. Adama Dieng the U.N. Under-Secretary-General, Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide and Responsibility to Protect. Liviu Olteanu is currently serving as the Secretary General of the Association internationale pour la defense de la liberte religieuse (AIDLR), is observer and representative at the United Nations in Geneva, New York and Vienna, at the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, at the O.S.C.E., and also is Public Affairs & Religious Liberty Director. He has achieved Batchers’ degrees in theology and law, Masters’ degrees in law and human rights, education, theology, international studies and diplomacy, and he got his Ph.D. in Law summa cum laude following doctoral studies at Oxford University and Madrid Complutense on ‘Origins and Horizon for the Defense of Religious Liberty.


Dr Luca Ozzano is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Turin, where he teaches ‘Political Science’ and ‘Politics and Religion’. He is Convenor of the ‘Religion and Politics’ standing group of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and Chair of the research committee on ‘Religion and Politics’ of the International Political Science Association (IPSA). He is also Associate Editor of the journal Political Research Exchange (Taylor and Francis/ECPR). He has published (with Alberta Giorgi) European Culture Wars and the Italian case: Which Side Are you on? (Routledge 2016) and edited (with Francesco Cavatorta) Religiously Oriented Parties and Democratization (Routledge 2014). His main research area is the study of the relations between religion and democracy, at the theoretical level and with a specific focus on religiously oriented political parties. He is currently working on the book Religion and Political Parties. A Comparative Analysis, forthcoming in 2020 with ECPR Press/Rowman and Littlefield.


Prof. Li Guodong has been practicing surgery and traditional Chinese medicine for 53 years. He published significant amount of university textbooks including Oncology Clinic and Cancer Etiology. With 73 years spent on studying Chinese calligraphy, he has long been committed to promoting world peace through calligraphy and introducing to the wider world the UN Millennium Goals and its 17 sustainable development goals.

Over the course of his career, he has received dozens of honours and awards, including Lifetime Achievement Award, Distinguished Artist Award, Distinguished Individual Award, the Title of Peace Ambassador and Art for Peace Award. Prof. Li Guodong has been praised as a leader in international calligraphy. His calligraphic works have been exhibited in major museums and exhibitions throughout the world.

As proclaimed by Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Prof. Li’s works represent “a most auspicious milestone which will serve to further promote appreciation of Chinese culture and help advance friendship among countries and peoples”.

At the Art for Peace Exhibition that was opened at the UN Headquarters on 8th February 2019, Professor Li’s 108-metre-long scroll of calligraphy of the UN Charter, which had taken him five years to finish,was on display. Professor Li Guodong has stated on many occasions that, art has no borders and that as a world citizen, he would devote the remainder of his life to promoting the idea of Art for Peace and the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.


Marie Juul Petersen is a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights. She holds a PhD from the Institute for Regional and Cross-Cultural Studies at University of Copenhagen. Her research centers on the relationship between religion, human rights and development. She has written extensively on these topics, including For Humanity or for the Umma? Aid and Islam in International Muslim NGOs (Hurst & Co., 2016), “Islamic Charity, Social Order and the Construction of Modern Muslim Selfhoods in Jordan” (International Journal of Middle East Studies, 2014, with Dietrich Jung), and “Instrumental, Narrow, Normative? Reviewing Recent Literature on Religion and Development” (Third World Quarterly, 2011, with Ben Jones). She has also written a number of reports and policy papers, including Islamic or Universal Human Rights? The OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (Danish Institute for International Studies, 2012) and, most recently, The International Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief. Sketching the contours of a common framework (Danish Institute for Human Rights, 2019).


Dr Jose Maria Puyol Montero is Professor of History of Law and Institutions at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He received his PhD in Law from Universidad Complutense in 1991 and holds a degree in Law and a diploma in Business Administration from the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas (Spain).

His research focuses on issues related to Administration of Justice and Capital Punishment in the Nineteenth Century, History of the Spanish Universities and (Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries) and Political and Administrative Institutions during the Peninsular War in Spain (1808-1013). He is actively involved in furthering academic discussions around these issues. Professor Puyol Montero is a regular Fellow at Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard University and here co-chair of ‘Studies on Life and Human Dignity’ Study Group (with professor Carol Steiker, Harvard Law School). He is also director of the Complutense Research Group ‘Human Dignity, Life and Law’ (Complutense University of Madrid); and member of the History of Universities Research Group and of the Figuerola Institute (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain).

His main publications include nine books and many research papers in leading journals of Legal History and History of Universities.


Iman Razawi is a theologian, global religious leader and Director General of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society.

A visiting scholar at the university of Strathclyde, he is an ambassador for ‘Glasgow The Caring City” and partners with twelve national charities across Scotland, as well as being on the Oxfam Zakat Advisory Panel. He was one of the two advisors chosen by Theresa May for the Independent Sharia Review commissioned in 2016.

Internationally he is a member of the Global Sustainability Network (GSN) with a specific focus on goal on point 8.7 and is on the advisory board of the Islamic Reporting Initiative (IRI). He is also a member of the European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL).


Nika Saeedi is Policy Specialist, Gender, Political Process, and Peacebuilding as part of the Inclusive Political Process Cluster. She is responsible for Women’s Political Participation in UNDP. Nika has over 15 years’ experience, including 9 years of field experience and 6 years of working at UNDP/BCPR in policy development, program design and management, and partnership building on women peace and security (WPS) across conflict prevention, the rule of law, governance and early recovery. Nika has played a pivotal role in identifying UNDP’s niche in promoting women’s leadership in peacebuilding.


Dr Ibrahim Salama has 30 years of predominantly multilateral intergovernmental experience (up to the level of deputy assistant MFA for international legal affairs, DPR of Egypt in Geneva and ambassador in Portugal). He has three mandates as independent expert within human rights mechanisms (member of the Sub-Commission on the promotion and protection of human rights, co-chair of the drafting group of the declaration on human rights defenders, and chairperson of the UN working group on the Right to Development). Dr. Salama worked 13 years with OHCHR as Chief of the treaties and human rights council branch, then Director of the treaties division, and currently Chief of the treaties branch.

Main special assignments on behalf of OHCHR in addition to managing the treaty body system: a) Chairing the secretariat of the Durban Review Conference in 2009; b) Coordinator of OHCHR initiative, emanating from the Durban review outcome, on the prohibition of incitement to hatred. This initiative led to the Rabat Plan of Action that defined the threshold distinguishing hate speech from free speech; c) Coordinator of the OHCHR Faith for Rights initiative, which defines the human rights responsibilities of faith actors. This initiative brings together theistic, non-theistic and atheistic believers sharing a common platform of concrete commitments on human rights grounds. It aims at addressing manipulation in the name of religions and fostering inclusive societies and d) Coordinator of the treaty bodies strengthening process based on Navy Pillay’s initiative which led to General Assembly resolution 68/268 (2014). This process will culminate in a review of the future of the treaty body system by the General Assembly in 2020.


Brett G. Scharffs is Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and Rex E. Lee Chair and Professor of Law at Brigham Young University Law School. He has a BSBA in international Management and an MA in philosophy from Georgetown University, a B.Phil in philosophy from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a JD from Yale Law School, where he was Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal. He is a recurring visiting professor at Central European University in Budapest. He has for several years helped organize certificate training programs in religion and the rule of law in China, Vietnam, Myanmar. Laos and other countries and has taught and helped organize programs at several Indonesian universities on sharia and human rights. Author of more than 100 articles and book chapters, he has made more than 400 scholarly presentations in 40 countries. His casebook, Law and Religion: National, International and Comparative Perspectives (with Cole Durham, 2nd English edition 2019), has been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese and Turkish, with Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Burmese, Greek, Hebrew Spanish and Russian in process. He is author with Elizabeth Clark of Religion and Law in the USA, a 2016 contribution to Wolters Kluwer’s International Encyclopedia of Laws.


Archbishop (The Most Rev.) Prof. Dr theol. Dr phil. Thomas Schirrmacher, PhD, ThD, DD, is director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom (Bonn, Cape Town, Colombo, Brasilia), and President of the International Council of the International Society for Human Rights (Frankfurt). He also serves the World Evangelical Alliance as Associate Secretary General for Theological Concerns, which represents churches with 600 million Protestant Christians and visited the religious and political leaders of 150 countries.

Schirrmacher earned four doctorates in ecumenical theology, in cultural anthropology, in ethics, and in the sociology of religion and received two honorary doctorates from the USA and India. He teaches as extraordinary professor of the sociology of religion at the state University of the West in Timisoara (Romania) and at Regent’s Park College of the University of Oxford. His has authored and edited 102 books, his newest including ‘Fundamentalism’, ‘Racism’, ‘Human Rights’, ‘Suppressed Women’, and ‘Human Trafficking’. Schirrmacher regularly testifies in the parliaments and courts in Europe, North and South America, the OSCE and the UN in Bonn, Geneva and New York. He is known for his role in the first ever joint statement by the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and World Evangelical Alliance on mission and human rights, published mid 2011.


Jose Miguel Serrano Ruiz-Calderon is Full Professor in Philosophy of Law at the University Complutense of Madrid.

He is Member of the Bioethics Committee of Spain.

Member of the Commission of Guarantees for research with human cells and human tissues. Carlos III Health Institute. Academic Director of the Institute of Stock Market Studies of Madrid (IEB).


Hannah Strømmen is Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Chichester, UK. Her research focuses on the influence and impact of the Bible in modernity. She has published on the role of biblical texts in 20th and 21st century literature, debates about animal ethics, and is currently working on a project on uses of the Bible in the European far right.


Dr Topidi is since 2019 Head of Culture and Diversity at the European Centre for Minority Issues (Germany). She has lectured and researched extensively in the areas of Public International Law, European Law, Human Rights and Comparative Law. In the past, she has occupied various research and teaching positions in law. She has been a guest scholar at various institutions including Fordham University, the Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology and the University of Fribourg among others.

Her research interests focus on diversity management, minority protection rights and mechanisms (with a special interest in religion) and human rights law. She is the author and editor of a number of volumes, including EU law, Minorities and Enlargement (Intersentia, 2010), Constitutional Evolution in Central and Eastern Europe: Expansion and Integration in the EU (Ashgate, 2011), Transnational Legal Process and Human Rights (Ashgate, 2013) and Religion as Empowerment: Global Legal Perspectives (Routledge, 2016). She has recently edited a collection on Normative Pluralism and Human Rights (Routledge, 2018). Her next book will focus on her comparative religious diversity in education (Routledge, forthcoming).


Rik Torfs (1956) studied law and canon law at KU Leuven and obtained a degree in notarial law. In 1987 he obtained his doctorate with a dissertation on the conception of marriage in Canon Law. He was appointed full professor at the Faculty of Canon Law in 1988. Besided that he is a visiting professor in Strasbourg, Paris and Stellenbosch. Prof Torfs is specially interested in the relationship between Church and State. He published various books and regularly write columns in the ‘De Standaard’ newspaper. Prof. Torfs is chairman of the Faculty of Canon Law of KU Leuven.

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