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2017 Fall Conference on justice and social concerns: Religious Freedom

The annual Conference on Justice and Social Concerns at St. Mary’s University will take place on Sept. 27 and 28, 2017, and focus on issues related to the topic of Religious Freedom. The conference provides the St. Mary’s University campus community an opportunity to engage on issues of social justice, faith, and personal and communal responsibility for the common good.

Conference follows the direction set out by the Second Vatican Council to read, interpret and respond to the signs of the times (Gaudium et Spes, 4). This year, it is hosted by the School of Law and will bring together experts from both academic and practical realms to lead the campus in dialogue around issues challenging our community locally and globally. The Conference includes keynotes and lectures supported by the Lin Great Speakers Series and the Rosenfield Family Speaker Series.

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Wednesday, Sept. 27

9:25 a.m. Religious Freedom in Higher Education: Religious Expression at a Catholic University
Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., President, St. Mary’s University
Aaron Tyler, Ph.D., Provost, St. Mary’s University

10:20 a.m.  Student Panel: Religious Life on Campus
Hassan Almahdi, School of Science, Engineering and Technology, St. Mary’s University
Jessika Sandaña, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, St. Mary’s University
Maria Barragan, Greehey School of Business, St. Mary’s University
Jordan Saunders, School of Law, St. Mary’s University

11:20 a.m.  Community Panel: Religious Freedom in South Texas
The Rev. Larry Christian, Archdiocese of San Antonio
The Rev. Ann Helmke, City of San Antonio Faith-based Liaison, Lutheran Pastor
Surwait Husain, Board President, Council on American-Islamic Relations – San Antonio
Philip Moss, Jewish Federation of San Antonio Community Relations Council

2:30 p.m.  Rosenfield Lecture: Religious Freedom in the Courts
Dahlia Lithwick, Contributing Editor, Slate; Senior Editor, Newsweek

4:15 p.m.  Student Open Forum
Student attendees will discuss current religious freedom legal issues.

7 p.m.  Lin Great Speakers Series Keynote Presentation: Religious Freedom and the Universality of Human Rights: A Modernist Islamic Perspective
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Ph.D., Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law and Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University

Thursday, Sept. 28

9:45 a.m.  Judicial Panel: Faith, Religion, and the Legal Profession
The Hon. Kevin Yeary, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
The Hon. Jeff Brown, Justice, Texas Supreme Court

2:30 p.m.  Lin Great Speakers Series Lecture: Religious Freedom in an Era of Polarization
Thomas C. Berg, J.D., James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of St. Thomas School of Law

4:15 p.m. Student Open Forum
Student attendees will discuss current religious freedom legal issues.

7 p.m. Lin Great Speakers Series Keynote Presentation: Constitutional Structures, Civic Virtue, and Political Culture
Robert George, D.Phil., J.D., McCormick Chair in Jurisprudence and Founding Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University

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