Soteria International at the CESNUR 2019 International Conference, Turin 5-7 September

In September, between 5 to 7 September took place” The International Conference of CESNUR 2019” in Turin, Italy, at the Luigi Einaudi Campus of the University of Turin.

The subject of this year CESNUR conference was:  “RE-ENCHANTING THE WORLD:

Soteria International’s representative was the chairperson of session 31 of the CESNUR Conference 2019.

We can say that there are several scholars and human rights organizations interested in studying such subjects and problems in the society.

One of them, which is an international network of scholars who study new religious movements is CESNUR, which has as founder and managing director Prof Massimo Introvigne.

The CESNUR, Center for Studies on New Religions , is the largest Research and Information Center on the modern and contemporary religious phenomenon of Europe, which has also created an Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy updated online daily, and promoter of the Journal of CESNUR , magazine in-depth academic studies on minority religions and spirituality issues.

The CESNUR 2019 had 42 Sessions and several scholars of great international caliber, researchers, and professionals of various backgrounds from all over the world.

To name some of the important professors, additional to the host Massimo Introvigne, sociologist of religions, director of CESNUR, other speakers included Eileen Barker , sociologist of the London School of Economics and founder of INFORM , Gordon Melton professor at Baylor University in the USA, Bernadette Rigal-Cellard , professor at the University of Bordeaux in France, Rosita Šorite , former Lithuanian diplomat at the UN and now president of the ORLIR Observatory , Alesandro Amicarelli the president of FOB.


Soteria International’s representative was the chairperson of session 31 of the CESNUR conference 2019.

The topic of the session was “SEX, MAGIC and the Police: the Saga of Guru Jara”.


Unfortunately the subject it is not just a story or a legend but in this case it is  what truly happened to a spiritual community in Cehia and to their leaders Jaroslav Dobes – known as Guru Jara and Barbora Plaskova his assistent.


There are several cases of spiritual leaders who were taken away from their disciples based on allegedly proves or criminal acts.


These kind of criminal charges which actually hide certain states’ tendency to restrict the rights to the freedom of consciousness constitute an extremely serious and dangerous fact, because they represent a real institutionalized “witch-hunt”.


In theory, the freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world, it is mentioned.


But in practice, this freedom is often ignored. 

If the way of practicing certain techniques or rituals, including those of erotic nature, are not confined to some unanimously accepted religious standards in the respected region, then these practises are demonized, and their practitioners are repressed even if they don’t do anything against the law.


The session had as keynotes speakers:

1 – Prof Massimo Introvigne.

In his work, Prof Introvigne collaborated with OSCE, and after that he was appointed as chairperson of Observatory of Religious Liberty, organization created by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.

Prof Introvigne is the author of tens of books and articles in the field of sociology of religion. We can say that Prof Introvigne is is like an Encyclopaedia of Religions, always able to include new perspectives and understandings of human beliefs.

2 - Dr Pavel Hlavinka, Doctor of Philosophy, with expertise in Indian Religions, Clinical Psychology, Metaphysics.

3 - Dr Alessandro Amicarelli, solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales, and a barrister of Italy, specialised in International and Human Rights Law.

The subject was debated from many points of view bringing new understandings and perspectives to the participants.