From 7 to 9 April 2014, IDEAS is hosting two experts on issues surrounding civil liberty in a multicultural society.  Over the three days, we will be meeting with various Government agencies and NGOs involved in national unity. The two experts are Eric Treene from the US Department of Justice and Dr. Timothy Shah from Georgetown University.

Eric Treene

Treene has written and lectured widely on the First Amendment and religious freedom and coordinates the Civil Rights Division’s cases involving religious discrimination in employment, public accommodations, public facilities, education and housing; the protection of houses of worship from discrimination in zoning law; the religious rights of inmates and the prosecution of crimes based on religious bias. He also manages the Justice Department’s efforts to protect Muslims, Sikhs, Arab-Americans and Asian Americans from discrimination and bias crimes resulting from 9/11 and the war on terror. Prior to joining the Justice Department, Treene was litigation director at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, an interfaith and nonpartisan public interest law firm in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School and a former law clerk to Chief Judge John M. Walker Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He is the author of a number of articles about the First Amendment

Dr. Timmothy Shah

Timothy Shah is associate director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and visiting assistant professor in the Government Department, Georgetown University. He is a political scientist specializing in the relationship between religion and political freedom in theory, history, and contemporary practice. His articles on religion and global politics have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Journal of Democracy, the Review of Politics, and elsewhere.

Shah received his A.B. in Government (magna cum laude with Highest Honors in major field) in 1992 and a Ph.D. in Political Science in 2002, both from Harvard. While pursuing his doctoral studies, he served as a volunteer for a development NGO in Bangalore, India (1994-1995), and was a Visiting Graduate Student in Theology at Christ Church, Oxford (1997-1998). His doctoral dissertation on the natural law theory and political theology of early-modern Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius won the 2003 American Political Science Association’s Aaron Wildavsky Award for Best Dissertation in Religion and Politics.

Shah’s articles and book chapters explore the intersection between religious ideas and actors, on the one hand, and social and political freedom, on the other.

At the Berkley Center, Shah is focusing his intellectual energies on developing a robust concept of religious freedom that centers on both expanding the autonomy of religious actors and safeguarding their full and equal participation in social and civic life. He is currently working on a monograph on this topic that will be published in a short form by the end of 2011 and a longer form by the end of 2013.


Scheduled meetings

Day 1, 7 April 2014

Meeting with the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) 10.00 am (by invitation only)

Meeting with Attorney General’s Chamber 2.30 pm (by invitation only)

Dinner and Dialogue with Council of Churches Malaysia 8.00 pm (by invitation only)


Day 2, 8 April 2014

Maintaining Religious Freedom and Racial Harmony – the Challenges today, 9.30 am to 12.00 pm, ILKAP, Bandar Baru Bangi (open to public). Please call 03-8924 3420/4321 to RSVP. Click here for details

Meeting with National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) and Jabatan Perpaduan Negara dan Integrasi Nasional (JPNIN), 3.30 pm (by invitation only)

Dinner and Dialogue with invited NGOs and individuals, 8.00 pm (by invitation only)


Day 3, 9 April 2014

Meeting with Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia 10.00 am (by invitation only)

Lunch with the Malaysian Bar, 12.30 pm (by invitation only)

Dinner with YB Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Kurup, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, 8.00 pm (by invitation only)



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