Office of Public Affairs

Conference explores intersection of religion and government

PORTLAND, Maine – International experts on religions and how they intertwine with law and government will gather here March 23 for a daylong conference hosted by Maine Law and the University of Southern Maine.

“Religion and the State: American, French and European Perspectives,” kicks off at 9 a.m. at the Wishcamper Center, with a welcome from Dean Peter Pitegoff and an introduction by Prof. Malick Ghachem of Maine Law.

The keynote address, scheduled for 9:15 a.m., will be delivered by Prof. Joseph Weiler of New York University School of Law. Weiler is one of the world’s leading experts on the law of the European Union.

Participants in the conference include professors from the U.S., France and Italy. Panel discussions, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to noon, and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., will be moderated by USM Prof. of History and Political Science, Francesca Vassallo, and Maine Law Prof. Martin Rogoff.

The conference will be held at 133 Wishcamper Center, 34 Bedford St., Portland. For more information, email, or call 207-780-4294.

The conference caps off a weeklong Franco-American Legal Seminar, directed by Prof. Rogoff of the Law School. Except for breaks in 2001 and 2007, Rogoff has coordinated the Seminar each year since 1994. The Seminar is a collaboration between Maine Law and two universities in France: Université du Maine in Le Mans; and Université de Rennes. The site of the Seminar alternates each year between Portland and a location in France. The subject of this year’s Seminar is: “Religion, Law, and the State in the U.S., France and Europe.”

About 15 students and six faculty members from the French schools will arrive in New York City on Sat., March 17, where they will meet the Maine Law students and faculty. The group will visit the law firm of Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and other destinations before traveling to Portland on March 20. The itinerary in Maine includes visits with state Attorney General William Schneider and Rep. Sharon Treat.