The 2018 ACLARS Conference—Law, Religion, and Human Flourishing—was held 20-22 May 2018 at Baze University in Abuja, Nigeria. Participants gathered to explore their shared interest in the relationship of law and religion to the advancement of human flourishing. The conference was co-sponsored by ACLARS (the African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies), ICLARS (the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, Milan, Italy), WARCLARS (the West African Regional Center for Law and Religion Studies, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Nigeria), and ICLRS (the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, United States).
In addition to the excellent program enjoyed by this year’s participants, the conference also saw the launch of the book, Religion, Law and Security in Africa, which includes contributions from the Fifth ACLARS Conference, “Religion, Law, and Security”, held in May 2017 in Rabat, Morocco.
The concept of human flourishing is especially important for Africa, where community and national development compete with forces of conflict and scarce resources. Yet, there is no common understanding of what it means for humans to flourish and the means by which to attain a flourishing life. In the broadest sense, the concept of human flourishing focuses our attention on having a comprehensively good or worthwhile life, but various legal, religious, and ethical traditions suggest different norms for measuring the quality of life and designing the institutional structures that could best facilitate and preserve it.
The Sixth ACLARS Conference focused on this topic by exploring the relationship between religious ideas and sustainable conceptions of humans flourishing in Africa, and how law might help us weigh and relate the various components of such substantive conceptions.