News Release

ACLARS 9th Annual Conference in Nairobi, Kenya

ACLARS holds its annual conferences each year at various locations throughout Africa.

For the past decade The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through Brigham Young University Law School, has been sponsoring the African Consortium of Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS). ACLARS holds its annual conferences each year at various locations throughout Africa. This year, the conference was held in person in Nairobi Kenya, at The Emara Ole Sereni Hotel, a beautiful five-star hotel bordering the Nairobi National Park. The conference was held 15–17 May 2022. This year marked its 9th annual conference on Law and Religion in Africa.

The theme of the conference was “Law, Religion, Health, and Healing in Africa.” The conference aimed at finding practical ways in which law, religion, and health could exist in harmony and at ensuring steady healing in Africa, especially with the Covid-19 containment measures. The significance of vaccinations (which brought about a state of dilemma amongst religious leaders, health practitioners, and members of the community) and the associated laws were also addressed.

There were noted ACLARS speakers from Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Korea, and the USA. The opening talk was given by the President of the Africa Central Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph W. Sitati, who emphasized the importance of families in determining the strength of a nation. He said, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has very strong programs for promoting the strength of families; we believe that true discipleship of Jesus Christ begins at home."

Nigerian Royal Highness King Micahel Odunayo Ajayi, Osun State, Southwest Nigeria, talked about the importance of religious tolerance. He said, "Even though I was born a Christian, as a King, I cannot discredit any other religions that are practiced within my domain (kingdom)."

He also talked about religion being one tree, with different branches. In addition, he had this to say:

“Essentially, when I look at all the faiths that we practice, I would say that there are a lot of things that are common within all the faiths. Although we may not readily admit, from my own position, I have seen that there is a unity of faith. There is an Almighty God whom we call different names in different faiths.”

At the conclusion of his address, Elder Sitati encouraged participants to support the government leaders in all countries by sharing the expertise and counsel of both health practitioners and religious leaders. By so doing, the leaders can then weigh both counsels and determine actions that will benefit and bless their citizens.

At the end of the conference, it was announced that the next ACLARS conference will be held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 2023.

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