The Second Conference on Freedom of Religion and Belief hosts a hundred people from twenty countries

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On the 5th and 6th of June of 2024, the 2nd International Conference on Freedom of Religion and Belief was held at the Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations of the Ramon Llull University. The event, organised by the Chair on Freedom of Religion and Belief of Catalonia and the Blanquerna Observatory on Media, Religion and Culture, began with the opening by the Rector of the URL, Dr. Josep Antoni Rom, and Dr. Míriam Díez, Vice-Dean of Research and International Relations of the FCRI Blanquerna-URL and Director of the Observatory.

“This congress is important for religious people, but also for people without religion”, said Díez Bosch, while pointing out that “pluralism goes with freedom” and “has always been linked to religions”. The Rector of the URL affirmed that “A congress is a space for diagnosis and answers. These days are for listening and collaborating. This is the legacy of Ramon Llull”.

World experts on the religious phenomenon have gathered together, as seen in the first round table, which was moderated by Dr. Alba Sabaté –Deputy director of the Blanquerna Observatory on Media, Religion and Culture–, and that counted with the participation of Kristina Arriaga, CEO of Intrinsic and member of the Oversight Board of Meta, recipient of the Free Expression Award (Washington, United States); Dr. Montserrat Gas, member of the Panel of Experts on Religious Freedom or Belief of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OIDDH) of OSCE; Alex Goldberg, Rabbi and Dean of the Chaplains College at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom; Reverend Dr. Helen Hall, professor the University of Nottingham Trent, United Kingdom, Associated Director of the Center of Rights and Justice and Anglican priestess; Dr. F. Philip Larrey, priest and Philosophy professor at Boston College, United States.

The second edition of the congress served as a space for the presentation of local, regional and international papers focused on the management and protection of religious diversity and conscience in different parts of the world. The event brought together 70 scientific communications by 77 authors and 27 universities, who debated on international standards for evaluating the exercise of this fundamental right and preventing possible violations. Participants included guests from various nationalities, such as the United States, England, Sweden, Poland, Ireland, Argentina, Greece, Lebanon, Cuba, Uruguay, Venezuela and Ukraine.

The congress concluded with the awards ceremony for the best final master’s and doctoral theses in the field of freedom of religion and belief (sponsored by Banc Sabadell). The Dean of the FCRI Blanquerna-URL, Dr. Marc Polo, was in charge of closing the event, and expressed that “In Blanquerna you will always find an ally to strengthen the fundamental right of religious freedom. I thank you very much for having shared your projects with us”. He was accompanied by Mr. Carles Armengol, General Director of Religious Affairs of the Generalitat de Catalunya, and Dr. Giorgia Miotto, General Director of the Blanquerna Foundation, who concluded that “Sharing ideas is the only way to find common ground”.

The next Conference on Freedom of Religion and Belief is scheduled to take place in January 2026.