BYU Law, a global law school focused on preparing the next generation of leaders in legal practice, today announced that its 2021-22 Law and Leadership Conference will focus on “peacebuilding,” where participants will discuss how we might change the world for the better in the wake of a global pandemic and civil unrest. This year’s event, on March 25, will return to an in-person format after being held virtually in 2021.

“Each year, BYU Law School hosts a Law and Leadership Conference to address one issue of current importance,” said D. Gordon Smith, Dean, BYU Law. “Our students and faculty are troubled by the breakdown in civil dialogue, and the corresponding rise in polarization and discord. They feel that now more than ever, compassion, collaboration and cooperation among diverse individuals and groups are needed to contribute to healing the world. We look forward to convening leaders in this space to address this troubling topic and discuss how we might change the world for the better.”

Dean Smith will kick off the event with opening remarks at 9 a.m. Mountain Time on Friday, Mar. 25. Dr. Peter T. Coleman, Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University and author of the book, “The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization,” will deliver the morning keynote, exploring sustainable peacebuilding. Dr. Coleman, lecturer and Executive Director of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation Conflict, and Complexity in the Earth Institute, is a renowned expert on constructive conflict resolution and sustainable peace. The Law and Leadership Conference on Peacebuilding will also convene leading scholars and administrators for panels titled “The Utah Compromise” and “Refugees.”

The conference will include a Peacebuilding Workshop presented by BYU-Hawaii Associate Professor Chad Ford, Director of the university’s McKay Center. In addition to being a top NBA draft expert for ESPN, Ford is known for his study of conflict resolution with an emphasis on large group ethnic and religious conflict. He is also the author of “Dangerous Love: Transforming Fear and Conflict at Home, at Work, and in the World.”

Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, will deliver the closing remarks on law and peacebuilding among nations. Swett is an educator and former chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Her father is the late Senator Tom Lantos, a survivor of the Holocaust.

For more information about the conference, including the schedule and list of speakers, visit:

Peacebuilding Academy

BYU Law recognizes that peacebuilding is an important skill for future leaders to develop. In addition to focusing on Peacebuilding in this year’s Law and Leadership Conference, BYU Law will host a Peacebuilding Academy, sponsored by the school’s Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution, for select BYU Law students this spring. The intensive week-long academy will introduce students to the wide range of ways they can help clients resolve disputes outside of the courtroom, often in a more efficient, less costly, and more satisfying process. Professor Benjamin J. Cook, and fellow conflict resolution experts, will provide instruction on the theory and practice of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Through hands-on activities and simulations, lectures and discussions, students will learn to utilize a range of tools to be creative, inventive, forward-thinking problem-solvers who can resolve disputes and improve others’ lives by promoting the efficient and peaceful resolution of conflict.

About BYU Law School
Founded in 1971, the J. Reuben Clark Law School (BYU Law) has grown into one of the nation’s leading law schools – recognized for innovative research and teaching in social change, transactional design, entrepreneurship, corpus linguistics, criminal justice and religious freedom. The Law School has more than 6,000 alumni serving in communities around the world. In its most recent rankings, National Jurist recognized BYU Law as the #1 best-value law school in its 2021 ranking. For more information, visit