Reclaiming the heart of our humanity
The Ofcial Report of the 6
th
Parliament of the World’s Religions
Reclaiming the heart of our humanity
The Ofcial Report of the 6
th
Parliament of the World’s Religions
Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change
|
Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More • Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human
Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We
Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More • Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of
Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality,
Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders
Confronting
War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing
More
• Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence &
Ha
te with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with
Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and
Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith
In
Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change |
Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human
Rights
Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We
Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More • Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of
Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality,
Comsuming
Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders
Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing
More • Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence &
Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with
Indigenous
Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and
Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith
In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change |
Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human
Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We
Ha
ve Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More • Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of
Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality,
Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders
Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing
More
• Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence &
Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with
Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and
Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities
Our Mission
The Parliament of the World's Religions was created to cultivate harmony among
the world's religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with
the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and
sustainable world.
To accomplish this, we invite individuals and communities who are equally
invested in attaining this goal.
Our Vision
The vision of the Parliament of the World's Religions is of a just, peaceful and
sustainable world in which:
Religious and spiritual communities live in harmony and contribute
to a better world from their riches of wisdom and compassion.
Religious and cultural fears and hatreds are replaced with
understanding and respect.
People everywhere come to know and care for their neighbors.
The richness of human and religious diversity is woven into the fabric
of communal, civil, societal and global life.
The world's most powerful and inuential institutions move beyond
narrow self-interest to realize common good.
The Earth and all life are cherished, protected, healed and restored.
All people commit to living out their highest values and aspirations.
our approach
The Parliament of the World’s Religions seeks to promote interreligious harmony,
rather than unity. The problem with seeking unity among religions is the risk of
loss of the unique and precious character of each individual religious and spiritual
tradition; this understanding is key to our framework.
Interreligious harmony, on the other hand, is an attainable and highly desirable
goal. Such an approach respects, and is enriched by, the particularities of each
tradition. Moreover, within each tradition are the resources (philosophical,
theological and spiritual teachings and perspectives) that enable each to enter
into respectful, appreciative and cooperative relationships with persons and
communities of other traditions.
4 Parliament of the World’s Religions 2015
© 1995 Parliament of the World’s Religions
70 East Lake Street, Suite 205
Chicago, IL 60601 USA
Telephone 312-629-2990
Fax 312-629-2991
www.ParliamentofReligions.org
@InterfaithWorld
/ParliamentOfReligions
/ParliamentOfReligion
Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change
| Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More • Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human
Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence &
Hate with
Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We
Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More • Solidarity with
Indigenous
Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of
Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Comp
assion Climate
Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality,
Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In
Women,
Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders
Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change |
Protecting the
Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing
More • Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence &
Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth
We Have
Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with
Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To
the Voice of
Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and
Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income
Inequality,
Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith
In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders
Confronting
War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change |
Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing
More
Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human
Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence &
Hate with
Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We
Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More • Solidarity with
Indigenous
Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of
Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Comp
assion Climate
Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality,
Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In
Women,
Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders
Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change |
Protecting the
Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing
More • Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence &
Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth
We Have
Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with
Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To
the Voice of
Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and
Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income
Inequality,
Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith
In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders
Confronting
War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change |
Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing
More
Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human
Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence &
Hate with
Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We
Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More • Solidarity with
Indigenous
Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of
Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Comp
assion Climate
Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income Inequality,
Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In
Women,
Dignity and Human Rights Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders
Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change |
Protecting the
Only Earth We Have Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing
More • Solidarity with Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights • Listening To the Voice of Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence &
Hate with Love and Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth
We Have
Income Inequality, Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with
Indigenous Communities Faith In Women, Dignity and Human Rights Listening To
the Voice of
Emerging Leaders Confronting War, Violence & Hate with Love and
Compassion Climate Change | Protecting the Only Earth We Have Income
Inequality,
Comsuming Less, Sharing More Solidarity with Indigenous Communities
/ParliamentOfReligions
@InterfaithWorld
70 E. Lake Street, Suite 205
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-629-2990 Fax: 312-629-2991
ParliamentOfReligions.org
Table of
contents
Mission, Vision and Approach .............................................................. 2
History of the Parliament ....................................................................... 4
A Message from His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama ............................. 6
A Word from the Executive Director ....................................................7
Introduction ............................................................................................ 8
The Inaugural Women’s Assembly ....................................................10
The Opening Ceremony .....................................................................12
The 2015 Parliament By the Numbers ..............................................14
Faith In Women: Upholding Women’s Dignity & Human Rights ...16
Listening to the Voices of Emerging Leaders ...................................18
Income Inequality: Consuming Less, Sharing More ........................ 22
Confronting War, Violence and Hate with Love and Compassion .24
Climate Change: Protecting the Only Earth We Have ....................26
Solidarity with Indigenous Communities .......................................... 30
Connecting the World: Social Media, Livestreaming and the
Parliament App .....................................................................................32
The Parliament in the Press ................................................................. 33
The Program Tracks .............................................................................36
Room to Connect: Special Features of the Parliament ....................38
The Legacy of Langar ..........................................................................42
Honorees of the 2015 Parliament ...................................................... 44
The Closing Ceremony .......................................................................48
Thanking Our Hosts ............................................................................. 50
Acknowledgements ............................................................................52
3
The 1893 Parliament held alongside the World’s
Columbian Exhibition is considered today to be the
birth of the global interfaith movement. The beauty of
Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Baha’i, as well as many
faiths previously unknown to the United States became
known by the West.
Swami
Vivekananda
Charles
Bonney
Susan B.
Anthony
1893 PARLIAMENT CHICAGO, USA
ATTENDEES: 3,000 - 7,000
1893 PARLIAMENT
His Holiness
the Dalai Lama
Hans Küng Susannah
Heschel
Presenting Towards A Global Ethic, the 1993 Parliament
introduced a powerful statement of the ethical
common ground shared by the world’s religious and
spiritual traditions. This unprecedented declaration is
a foundation for the work carried on by the interfaith
movement worldwide.
1993 PARLIAMENT CHICAGO, USA
ATTENDEES: 3,000
1993 PARLIAMENT
1999 PARLIAMENT
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
ATTENDEES: 7,000
1999 PARLIAMENT
Archbishop
Desmond Tutu
Mairead
Maguire
President Nelson
Mandela
Thousands witnessed the transformative role of religion
and spirituality in creating a new South Africa. The
International AIDS quilt was brought to the Parliament
giving focus to the AIDS crisis.
History of the Parliament
4 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
2009 PARLIAMENT
2009 PARLIAMENT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
ATTENDEES: 6,500
Sri Sri Ravi
Shankar
President Jimmy
Carter
Aunty Joy”
Murphy Wandin
A sustainable, healthy world was a major theme of
the Melbourne Parliament bringing energy from all
corners of the earth to address environmental issues.
The Australian Government chose to issue a national
apology to the aboriginal groups at the Parliament which
convened elders of the indigenous worldwide.
2004 PARLIAMENT
BARCELONA, SPAIN
ATTENDEES: 9,000
2004 PARLIAMENT
Dr Shirin Ebadi Dr. Jane Goodall Dr. Karen
Armstrong
In collaboration with UNESCO, the 2004 Parliament
created “Pathways to Peace” through potent dialogues
to enhance global solidarity in the face of rising fear and
violence.
2015 PARLIAMENT
SALT LAKE CITY, USA
ATTENDEES: 10,359
2015 PARLIAMENT
Chief Arvol
Looking Horse
Katharine
Hayhoe
Tariq Ramadan
Guided by the theme “Reclaiming the Heart of Our
Humanity,” attendees heard challenging and illuminating
words from spotlighted groups; Indigenous Peoples,
Emerging Leaders, and Women. War and Violence,
Climate Change, and Income Inequality were discussed
at length in plenary sessions. The Inaugural Women’s
Assembly focused on the goals, struggles, and triumphs
of faithful women throughout the world.
5
Reclaiming
THE HEART OF
OUR HUMANITY
I believe the interfaith movement can contribute in helping to
save the world. But not just through the nice words of dialogue
but with our actions. It is the responsibility of human beings
to x the problems which we create - of climate change, of the
widening income gap, of hate and war. God will not do this for
us, we must take responsibility for our actions. For this reason
I congratulate the Parliament of the World’s Religions for
adopting declarations on these critical issues. It is now time
for us to commit to action which you, your community or your
organization can take to bring to fruition.
With my prayers and good wishes,
The Dalai Lama
6 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
A word from the Executive Director
It was…and remains…personal for me.
The theme, that is, of the 2015 Parliament of the World’s
Religions held in Salt Lake City, Utah:
Reclaiming the Heart of Our Humanity
Working Together for a World of Compassion, Peace,
Justice, and Sustainability
It’s personal because nine months before the Opening
Ceremony, I was admitted to Advocate Illinois Masonic
Medical Center in Chicago for emergency bypass heart
surgery – specically, the replacement of ve arteries that
were 99% blocked (despite 40 years of strict veganism
and a rigorous daily exercise program over those four
decades).
What I experienced there at the hospital was, literally, the
reclaiming of my heart.
It wasn’t, of course, just my physical heart that was
reclaimed; because of the centrality of that organ it was
also reclamation of the promise of my humanity – the
promise of a human life in community, a human life with
purpose and commitment religiously and spiritually
grounded, a human life that, with others, could again be
devoted to compassion, justice, peace, and the well-
being of the earth.
And more: it was the way the reclamation was
accomplished. There were no solo acts in the medical
miracle I experienced. From the moment I entered the
hospital until the moment I left, everyone on that hospital
staff worked together to save and sustain my life. Medical
professionals, housekeeping staff, the dietary team,
rehab specialists, technicians of multiple sorts…everyone
worked together to make me whole again.
I couldn’t help but think back to my hospital experience
when, nine months later, so many of us stepped forth
on what became sacred ground at the Salt Palace, with
the goal of working together to reclaim the heart of our
humanity for a world of compassion, peace, justice, and
sustainability.
Salt Lake City was ready to receive us with open arms and
over a thousand volunteers were ready to help us in our
task of reclamation. Thank you Salt Lake and Utah!
The idea of togetherness came to mind repeatedly
during the Parliament – the idea that every person
present, every community present, every tradition
present, had a vital stake in the outcomes we were
seeking, and that this could only be accomplished as we
worked together. The future of our species and our earth,
we recognized, requires an expanding togetherness
across the world.
This especially means that those who are typically
silenced – and not so ironically, those most affected by
issues of violence and war, poverty and injustice, and
environmental degradation and destruction – ought to
have an elevated platform. And that is what we saw at
the Parliament, isn’t it? Indigenous peoples, women, and
young people formed the backbone of the Parliament
programming, and the results were apparent and
revolutionary.
Through the plenary sessions, seminars, workshops, and
artistic presentations, from the blessings of Langar to
the Sacred Fire, with carefully planned discussion and
spontaneous conversations, we experienced physically
and spiritually the reclaiming of our shared humanity.
Together we drew upon a power that belongs to no
single one of us, yet gives life to all.
We went forth to create microcosms of the Parliament
in our own communities, spheres hallmarked by
compassion, justice, and peace that can be, like the earth
we share, sustained by our working together.
For me, and I trust for you, the reclaiming of the heart of
our humanity was— and remains— deeply personal and
profoundly communal.
Rev. Dr. Larry Greeneld
7
The Sixth
Parliament of
the World’s
Religions
The Global Interfaith Movement Reclaims the Heart of Our
Humanity: Working Together With Compassion for a World of
Peace, Justice and Sustainability!
More than two decades after the world came together
to commemorate the 1893 birth of the global interfaith
movement, the Parliament of the World’s Religions
returned to the United States to hold its best attended -
and most successful - interfaith conference in history.
The sixth Parliament called upon the world to “Reclaim the Heart of
Our Humanity” and took place from October 15 - 19, 2015, in Salt
Lake City, Utah.
Over 10,000 people of all ages journeyed to the Parliament from
75 nations, each guest bringing an eager curiosity about what
humanity can accomplish when we join together at our spiritual
center—at the heart of faith.
Programming was designed
to enhance understanding,
create new strategies and
forge commitments to act on
the critical issues of the 2015
Parliament:
8 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
“What can happen if people of
faith work with each other?”
The organizers of the 2015 Parliament exhorted
guests to make more concerted efforts to address
perilous global conditions—a risky maneuver
intended to expand the scope of interfaith
encounters from respectful dialogue to concrete
action.
Global organizations partnered with the Parliament
in an unprecedented level of collaboration;
Claremont Lincoln University, the King Abdullah
Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious
and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), Rotary
International, the Charter for Compassion and the
United Religions Initiative all mobilized to facilitate
major programming. The show of unity from these
interfaith networks was a solid step in working to
build the global movement, from the ground oor
to the highest halls of power.
LIGHTING THE SACRED FIRE
The rst day of the Parliament began with a sunrise
ceremony at which indigenous elders consecrated
a re at the entrance to the Parliament venue.
This Sacred Fire became a focal point for deep
communal dialogue and personal enlightenment,
as did several lodges (or tipis) surrounding the
re. The Sacred Fire would be tended day and
night until the ending of the Parliament.
The dim glow of the morning sun was
beginning to crest the distant horizon.
A crisp autumn chill swept through
the valley, and although it was early
morning, it was all but quiet. Hundreds
gathered to view the lighting of the
Sacred Fire, listening to the sounds of
singing and drums. Here, the indigenous
peoples of Utah were beginning the
day by welcoming the world interfaith
movement to their sacred homeland.
This was the scene at the opening of the
2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions
held in Salt Lake City this October. - The
Nature Conservancy
9
Three Critical Issues, Three
Critical Constituencies
Over 800 programs and eight major plenary
sessions openly confronted the systemic and
human-caused challenges of our time. People
of faith chose to stand up together in the face of
intensifying consequences of climate change,
bigotry and hatred, rampant violence, preventable
wars, abuses of human rights, and unchecked
income inequality. A spotlight on emerging
leadership and the reparation and preservation of
the rights, hopes and beliefs of diverse indigenous
peoples would receive equal footing at the 6th
global Parliament. In an overdue move toward
gender equity in the interfaith movement, women
spoke rst, holding a full-day Inaugural Women’s
Assembly on the opening day.
The Parliament galvanized followers of over 30
global faiths (and practitioners from hundreds of
denominations and spiritual pathways) into action—
action bolstered by healing and transformative
experiences, and informed by inclusivity and mutual
respect. To be in such a diverse and inclusive space
was euphoric and wondrous. Parliament guests
took home new relationships, a commitment to take
action on the critical issues, and a renewed faith in
the power of their collective actions.
So lets go back to the start of this story, October
15th, 2015. For ve days, the indigenous peoples
of the Great Salt Lake region welcomed the people
of the world region into their sacred home with
hospitality and joy.
There in Utah, this monumental assembly
of spiritual, religious, and conscientious
global citizens worked together toward a
world of compassion, marked with peace,
justice and sustainability.
10 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
THE INAUGURAL
WOMEN’S
ASSEMBLY AND
PROGRAM INITIATIVE
FOR GLOBAL
ADVANCEMENT
When women face discrimination and persecution for their
religious and spiritual beliefs, and by their own faith traditions,
when their voices are absent in peace talks, and when their dignity
and human rights are overshadowed by longstanding, oppressive
traditions, one question becomes obvious:
“Where are the women?”
The Parliament Women’s Task Force asked this question and, in
doing so, made the interfaith movement the place to nd the
answer.
The 2015 Parliament invited
women to join in shaping our
shared future, and the women
of the world arrived.
Women of all generations from countries around
the world showed up to the Parliament, ready to
tackle the topics of women’s ordination, violence
against women, women’s empowerment, war,
peace, and right relationship with the environment.
They were there speaking out against gender-based
violence, racism, and the roles of women in religious
leadership. They shared stories of love, loss, and
pain, but most importantly, of empowerment.
Indigenous grandmothers shared their wisdom with
the interfaith world, and women shared pieces of
themselves within the Women’s Sacred Space. They
danced spontaneously in the aisles in sisterhood
with Sheroes and One Billion Rising and walked
hand in hand in a Women’s Silent Walk for Peace.
The assembly proved that women from every corner
of the world - representing different faith traditions
and religions, spiritual, ethical and indigenous
backgrounds - can unite in sisterhood to create a
new paradigm of shared leadership, empowering
each other and women around the world; to cross
delicate intersections, converse on sensitive issues,
and share divergent perspectives with respect and
commitment to uphold the dignity of everyone.
11
From Mormon women opening their home,
to Muslim women confronting stereotyped
views of their religions, to Dalit feminists,
Pagan priestesses and female rabbis
discussing the “Stained Glass Ceiling,”
shared sources of spiritual empowerment
emerged over the course of the Parliament.
The ordainment of women is an oft-discussed
topic, both in religious circles and outside of them.
Amidst this discussion, a clear and consistent thread
running through the Parliaments women’s spaces
(and in the presence of men) was to establish
a dignity and self-determination for women in
their religious experience. No topic was taboo
and, while many of the concepts that surfaced
at the Parliament were difcult, it was important
that women were asked to support each others
empowerment and respect each others individual
expressions of feminism.
Special wisdom comes with experience. The
presence of the Indigenous Grandmothers (Dr.
Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pere, Grandmother
Flordemayo, Grandmother Mary Lyons, Reverend
Grandmother Eila Paul, Grandmother Pershali
Ami, and Reverend Murshid Devi Tide) in the
Inaugural Women’s Assembly and Program Initiative
created some of the most transcendent moments.
The Grandmothers participated in the blessing
and lighting of the Sacred Fire, helped lead the
celebration of the Opening Ceremony, and spent
the day sharing their life experiences, traditions,
and their love with the participants of the Inaugural
Women’s Assembly. Prayers for Mother Earth and
for her children echoed across the convention
center, and their call for love inspired thousands to
laugh, dance and share.
The Women’s Sacred Space was the brainchild of
the Women’s Task Force, led by Vice-Chair of the
Board, Phyllis Curott. The room was created to serve
as a unique space in which women could gather
for prayer, conversation, meditation, and to share
with each other the experiences of the Parliament.
The Red Tent Movement, which aims to create the
cultural and structural change needed to empower
women, raised over $5,000 to bring the Red Tent
to the Parliament. Together with the Women’s
Task Force, the Red Tent became a center of calm
amidst the energy of the Salt Palace, where women
participated in panels, presentations, dances,
conversations, meditation and even naps! One of
the most moving arms of the women’s initiative
came with no words from Elana Rozenman, an
Israeli Jew and the Executive Director of TRUST–
Emun who organized a Women’s Silent Walk for
Peace.
12 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
At the Parliament, Women
Spoke First.
The vision of the Inaugural Women’s Assembly
was to:
Address the responsibility of the world’s
religions to uphold women’s dignity and
human rights.
Share sources of religious and spiritual
inspiration for women’s empowerment.
The Faith In Women Program Initiative
continued throughout the ve-day Parliament
with speeches, Assembly presentations,
workshops, panels, services and interactive
performances, making it the most
groundbreaking component of the gathering.
The Assembly fullled the vision held
by Parliament Vice-Chair Phyllis Curott
since the rst modern Parliament in 1993
and launched the global initiative for the
human rights and spiritual leadership of
women.
Over 3,200 people registered for the
Assembly and over 3,500 people
participated!
The Inaugural Women’s Assembly
and Program Initiative for the Global
Advancement of Women was hosted and
organized by the Parliaments Women’s
Task Force with Parliament staff. Generous
nancial support was provided by the
Kalliopeia Foundation, the Rachel and Ben
Vaughan Foundation, the Utah legislature
and individual contributions to the
Parliaments Global Sisters Fund.
WOMEN OF THE PARLIAMENT
The Parliaments Women’s Task Force (PWTF) is composed of women trustees of the Parliament of the
World’s Religions. It was created to support women’s leadership and programming at (and between)
Parliaments and within critical institutions, including the United Nations, to assure that women’s voices are
heard at the vital nexus of women’s dignity, human rights, religion and spirituality.
Major Voices of the Assembly:
Mother Maya Tiwari • Terry Tempest Williams • Dr. Vandana Shiva • Dr. Ruth Messinger • Marianne
Williamson • Ilysah Shabazz • Indigenous Grandmothers • Dr. Jean Shonida Bolen • Lokawua Margaret
• Phyllis Curott • Diana Butler Bass • Mallika Chopra • Dr. Serene Jones • Mara Lynn Keller • Charlene
Spretnak • Karenna Gore • Kate Kelly • Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
13
The 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions
Opening Plenary began on the evening of October,
15, 2015 with a traditional Grand Procession led by
Indigenous Elders of the Welcoming Indigenous
Nations from the Great Salt Lake region, the Great
Basin, and the State of Utah; the Paiute, the Ute, the
Goshute, and the Navajo.
Each marcher advanced from the back of the Plenary
Hall toward the stage in lively step with the deep
bellowing of a drum circle performing on stage,
walking to a heartbeat rhythm that pumped life into
the 2015 Parliament for the next ve days.
Next to join the procession were global religious
leaders in traditional regalia. The Girl Scouts of
America followed, presenting the ags of each
of the countries represented by guests of the
2015 Parliament. The procession enveloped the
plenary hall as impromptu participants joined the
Parliaments Board of Trustees, all culminating in
a room so electried that thousands of attendees
erupted together in chants, joyous shouts, calls, and
song. This Parliament opening was alive, in a way
unlike any before.
Standing center on a stage lined with dignitaries,
Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid declared the
Parliament open with a soaring tribute to people
of faith working with each other, and with a solemn
prayer for the sincerity of political leaders. For the
rst time, an anthem written for the event, “Earth Is
Calling,” was sung in dedication to the Parliament,
lyrically adopting the sacred calling of creation to
“reclaim humanity.
Dr. Robert Henderson, Parliament Trustee and
member of the Baha’i faith, and Derrick Harkins,
Senior Vice-President of Union Theological Seminary,
hosted the Opening Ceremony. With charm and
acumen, they moved attendees through a unique
line-up of dignitaries and religious leaders who
offered the prayers of diverse spiritualities. In
keeping with the tradition of amplifying diverse
voices, prayers from Zoroastrianism, the Baha’i faith,
and Paganism were offered with equal reverence as
those of the largest religions of the world.
Each of the welcoming addresses enabled hosts and
sponsors of the Parliament to share their particular
calling to engage a global interfaith movement.
The International capital of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints welcomed the Parliament
with an address from Elder L. Whitney Clayton,
followed by addresses from Utah Governor Gary
Herbert and Salt Lake City and County Mayors Ralph
Becker and Ben McAdams.
In a seismic endorsement of the work of the interfaith
movement in 2015, U.S. Ambassador of International
Religious Freedom and longtime Parliament xture
Rabbi David Saperstein applauded the Parliament
for the honest attention to women’s voices and
human rights that would dene the gathering.
Bringing the room to its feet with a roaring applause,
Saperstein echoed the rallying cry from New York
Times columnist Nicholas Kristof who said:
“The Greatest Threat to Extremism Isn’t
Drones Firing Missiles — It’s Girls Reading
Books.”
And with that, the Parliament was primed for serious
work.
WELCOMING THE WORLD TO UTAH
14 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
“Political leaders need the wisdom and the
commitment of religious communities to transform
conict and enable reconciliation.
Mr. Fahad Abualnasr, Director General of KAICIID
KAICIID, a major sponsor of the 2015 Parliament,
is an intergovernmental organization whose
mandate is to promote the use of dialogue
globally to prevent and resolve conict to enhance
understanding and cooperation.
Fahad Abualnasr Addresses the
Opening Plenary at the 2015
Parliament
“I strongly believe in engaging with religious
leaders because of your profound inuence in your
communities and your commitment to dignity and
mutual respect. I have long-championed interfaith
dialogue and met with many faith leaders because
I know we have much to gain from your moral
leadership. We are a more connected world, thanks
to technology, but we can only be a more united
world through efforts like yours to reach out, nd
common ground, and work for shared solutions for
our shared humanity.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offered greetings to the Parliament delivered
by Adama Dieng of Senegal, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to the United
Nations. Reecting on the recently adopted 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, he said,
Adama Dieng Represents United
Nations at 2015 Parliament of the
World’s Religions
“With the permission of the indigenous community,
the original people of this land, on behalf of the
board, with love in my heart, compassion in my
mind and smiles on our faces, to reclaim the heart
of our humanity, I declare this 6th Parliament of the
World’s Religions open!”
- Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid
Chair of the 6th Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Malik Addresses the Opening Plenary
at the 2015 Parliament
15
Rabbi David Saperstein
Addresses the Opening
Plenary at the 2015 Parliament
Mary Lou Prince
Dr Mohammad Siddiqi
Delivers 2015 Parliament
Opening Plenary Remarks
Interfaith Prayers at the Opening Ceremony of the Parliament of the World’s Religions
Utah Governor Gary Herbert
Welcomes 2015 Parliament
to Salt Lake City in Opening
Plenary
Sikh Prayers, Lord Dr. Indarjit
Singh at the Opening
Ceremony of the Parliament
Elder Clayton Addresses the
Opening Plenary at the 2015
Parliament
Mayor Ralph Becker
Addresses the Opening
Plenary at the 2015 Parliament
Mayor Ben McAdams
Addresses the Opening
Plenary at the 2015 Parliament
of the World’s Religions
Major Speakers of the Faith in Women Plenary
16 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Gallery
17
Parliament by numbers
The Global Interfaith Movement
35-64
(56%)
< 35
(20%)
> 65
(22%)
Age
61.1%
Female
38.2%
Male
Gender
Afghanistan
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Bangladesh
Belgium
Bosnia and
Herzegovina
Brazil
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Chile
China
Colombia
The Democratic
Republic of the Congo
Denmark
Egypt
Ethiopia
Finland
France
Germany
Ghana
Guatemala
Haiti
Hong Kong
India
Islamic Republic of Iran
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Kenya
Korea
Lithuania
Malawi
Malaysia
Mexico
Namibia
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nigeria
Oman
Pakistan
State of Palestine
Peru
Philippines
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Russian Federation
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
United Republic of
Tanzania
Thailand
Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey
Tuvalu
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
United States Minor
Outlying Islands
Zimbabwe
10,359
TOTAL PARTICIPANTS
3500
Inaugural Women
Assembly Participants
75
Countries
18 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
• Sanatan • Saraswat Brahmins • Saryupareen Brahmins • Science Of Mind • Science Of Spirituality • Secular Humanism •
Shaiva Advaita Siddhanta • Shaiva Siddhanta • Shaktism • Shamanic Dianic • Shamanic Mesa Tradition • Shamanic, Buddhist
• Shamanism • Shanti Mission • Shia • Shin Buddhism • Shinnyo-En • Shirdi Sai Temple • Shree Krishna Pranami Faith • Siam
Nikaya • Sindhi Su • Soka Gakkai • Spiritism • Su • Su • Sunni • Swedenborgianism • Theravada Tibetan Tibitian • Toltec
Unicationism Unitarian Universalism Unity Urantia Unity Worldwide Ministries Universal Universal Mysticism
Universal Peace • Universal Sacred Spirit • Unitarian Universalist • Universal Susm • Universal • Worship • Unknown Urantia •
Urglaawe • VaikhÄnasa • Vaisnava Hindu • Vedenta Society • Vedic Vishista Advaita • Vinaya • Vipassana Movement • Wicca
Women’s Spirituality • Yoruba • Zen
Advaita Vedanta • Adventist • Aetherius Society • Agnostic • Ahmadiyya • Anglican/Episcopal • Animist • Anthroposophy •
Apostolic St Thomas Tamil Christianity • Asatru • Aumism • Baptist • Bön Buddhist • Celtic • Chan • Charismatic • Christian
Church (Disciples Of Christ) • Christian Mystical Traditional • Christian Science • Christian Unitarian • Church Of The East •
Church Of The Nazarene • Community Of Christ • Congregationalist • Conservative Judaism • Correllian • Cultural Beliefs •
Cultural Catholic • Diest • Divine Life Society Of South Africa • Druid • Dutch Reform • Eastern Orthodox • Eckankar • Esoteric
Christian Evangelical Family Federation For World Peace And Unication Fellowship Of Isis Feraferia Feri Gaudiya
Vaishnava Gelug Gnostic Goddessian Greek Orthodox • Hatian Vodun/Voodoo Hellenic Catholic Ismaili • Jewish
Renewal • Jodo Shinshu • Jogye Seon • Jonang • Kagyu • Kashmir Shaivism • Kemetism • Latter-Day Saint (Mormon) • Lucimi
Lutheran Madhyamaka Maha Nikaya Mahayana Mennonite Church USA Metaphysical Methodist Mevlevi Su
Nation Of Islam Native American Neo-Sannyas Nichiren Nyingma Orthodox Judaism Pentecostal Pietism And
Holiness Movement • Plymouth Brethren And Free Evangelical • Presbyterian • Pure Land Quaker • Quranist • Ramakrishna
Mission • Reclaiming And Feri Witchcraft • Reconstructionist Judaism • Reform Judaism • Reformed • Religious Naturalist
Religious Science Renewal Rime Roman Catholic Rudra Sampradaya Ruhaniat Ruhaniat Su Saivam Sakya
Atheism/Agnosticism • Multi-Faith • Humanism • Theosophy • Brahma Kumaris • Caodaism • Taoism/
Daoism • Zoroastrianism • African Traditional • Afro-Caribbean • Druze • Confucianism • Shinto • Thelema
• Christianity • Other • Spiritual • Buddhism • Islam • New Thought • Unitarian Universalist • Hinduism •
Judaism • Sikhism • Interfaith/Pluralism • Paganism • Baha’i • Jainism • Indigenous • None
30 Major Religions
212 subTraditions
855
Programs
75
Countries
30
Religions
With 212 Sub -Traditions
1,977
Presenters
1,280
Students
5,774
Devices
19
The PLENARY
Jimmy Carter, former President of the United
States and global humanitarian hero, selected the
Melbourne Parliament in 2009 to state for the rst
time (and in no uncertain terms) that the world’s
religions must be the catalyst to remedy centuries-
long oppression of women and girls, and blaze the
trail toward real human rights in the world.
“Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Woman”
- Bishop Barbara King
At the Faith In Women plenary on Friday, October
16th, the Parliament stage continued to spotlight
the women rising to this call.
Each keynote address escalated the energy
in the already-electric room. Parliament Youth
Representative to the United Nations, Sara Rahim,
commanded the stage as she reected on her
feminist understanding of her Muslim faith, stating
condently that her faith is her call to action. And
author and spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson
brought a clarion call to the plenary with this
powerful truth:
“Passionate and free thinking women have never
been deeply appreciated by the great religions
of the world. Because passionate, free thinking
women raise passionate, free thinking children.
And passionate, free thinking children grow up to
be passionate, free thinking adults. And passionate,
free thinking adults are very difcult to manipulate
and almost impossible to control.
“That Kind of Love is Revolutionary…”
- Valarie Kaur
President of the Union Theological Seminary Serene
Jones, feminist Hindu environmentalist Dr. Vandana
Shiva, and Sikh activist, lawyer and lmmaker Valarie
Kaur each went straight to the heart of why women’s
leadership is revolutionary.
faith in women
20 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Diverse but complementary expressions of women’s
equality framed the reading of the Parliament
Declaration of the Human Rights and Dignity of
Women, which would go on to be a touchstone of
the next days of the Women’s Initiative.
“We call upon all religious leaders and
adherents to acknowledge and emphasize the
positive messages of dignity and equality that
the world’s faiths share.
We call upon all religious leaders and
adherents to embrace their moral responsibility
and collectively commit to ensuring that
women are fully and equally involved in
decision-making within religions and in every
sphere that involves their lives.
We call upon the world’s religions to honor
and uphold the dignity, well-being, and human
rights of women and girls.
We commit ourselves to this collective
undertaking to heal the heart of our humanity
by releasing women, girls, men, and boys from
the bondage of gender-based discrimination
and violence. We do so with hope and with
faith in our future.
“Grounded: The Spiritual Revolution Changing How We
Think About God“ from renowned author Diana Butler
Bass
“Shakti and Prakriti: The Power of the Divine Feminine
for Sustainability and Preservation of Mother Earth and
Mother Nature”
“Intrafaith Women’s Negotiation and Understanding
Shariah”
Women’s Program initiative highlights religious evolution
“One Billion Rising” Came to the Parliament:
In 2012-2013, it was determined by statisticians and civil
rights groups that due to the population on Earth, over
one billion women would be raped, beaten or murdered in
their lifetime. That number continues to increase, and it is a
sobering tragedy. However, it was determined that if there
would be One Billion Rising, that would be a revolution!
Since then, One Billion Rising dance has been celebrated
simultaneously in over 207 countries, usually on Valentine’s
Day. It is also celebrated on International Women’s Day and
other days, where appropriate. This is the perfect dance that
engaged women (and also men) to begin the Parliament.
One Billion Rising offered a powerful opening through dance. SHEROES United has put this on
in downtown Salt Lake City every year since its inception, and joined together trained facilitators,
dance instructors, interfaith and women community leaders.
21
Dr. Vandana Shiva Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Sara Rahim Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Bishop Barbara King Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Katie Jo Welch-Performance
Rev. Dr. Serene Jones Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
xxx Delivers Parliament
Keynote Address
Anse Tamara Gray Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Mother Maya Tiwari Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Marianne Williamson Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Phyllis Curott Delivers
“Declaration for the Dignity
and Human Rights of Women”
Grandmother Mary Lyons
Delivers Parliament Addresses
Valarie Kaur Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Audrey Kitagawa Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Professor Mara Lynn Keller
Delivers Parliament Keynote
Address
Major Speakers of the Faith in Women Plenary
22 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Gallery
23
Listening to
the voice of
emerging Leaders
Who are the Emerging Leaders?
It was tting that President of Rotary International K.R.
Ravindran highlighted his hero, Paul Harris, in his keynote
address to the Parliament Emerging Leaders plenary by
suggesting people measure “others by their deeds, not by
their creeds.” This ethos drives the younger generations
whose interest in the interfaith movement depends upon the
promotion of cooperative action and service.
Emerging leaders arrived with a multiplicity of concerns,
visions, and facets of identity. Representing the widest range
of traditions and faiths: from Atheist and Secular Humanist,
“Nones” (25% of the Parliaments, emerging leaders are
unafliated with any religious or spiritual tradition) to
Zoroastrians, this generation believes that peacebuilding and
the end of war, terrorism and hate are the most important
objectives of interfaith organizing.
24 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
“This is the way school should be. You can
go anywhere and learn anything you want.”
- Spencer Wirick, Grade 11
The Plenary
The most renowned Parliament speech in history
happened in 1893 when Swami Vivekananda, a
Hindu monk from India, opened the rst World
Parliament of Religions by calling upon his “Sisters
and Brothers of America.” He was 30 years old.
On Friday, October 16, 2015 with a sixth Parliament
in full swing, attendees swarmed the plenary hall
and were invited by Co-Emcees Eboo Patel and
Dawn Maracle to be “transported to the planet of
interfaith cooperation.
For the rst time, a full major track of
Parliament programming was devoted
to emerging leaders, drawing upon the
captivating energy and diverse gifts of
rising interfaith stars. And the promises of
the young adults, now re-conceiving what
the interfaith movement could and should
be, were incredibly convincing on the night
of the plenary.
The contingent of “Emerging Leaders” (Parliament
attendees under 35 years of age) represented a
rising generation of interfaith practitioners whose
interests dwell in religious literacy and social action,
interests made evident in the robust models of
diverse youth organizations like PeaceJam and
Interfaith Youth Core. The principle organizing
model? Diligent service inspired by faith and
strengthened by interfaith.
Patel said, “It is no small thing to get 10,000 peace-
loving people in the Salt Palace to practice their
loving peacefulness.” It was truly a remarkable
moment; almost 2,500 young adults gathered at
the Parliament had stage dedicated to their voices,
perspective, wisdom, expertise and achievements
with the full support of all Parliament attendees.
Faatimah Knight delivered a somber and
sophisticated keynote on Black Churches Burning
and the perspective of Christian-on-Christian
crime, sharing why she, a Muslim, African-
American woman, chose to raise awareness
through fundraising to support these devastated
communities. Knight’s keynote address helped
the Parliament see a tangible expression of
thought leadership, embodied solidarity, and
exemplication of faith in practice.
For millennials, everyday activities can provide
opportunity for interfaith realities. Mutual
understanding across religious differences is
especially prevalent through community service
and recreational activities like sports. Yonatan
Belik, a Jewish-Australian motivational speaker and
member of “Peace Team”, shared the story of teens
divided by walls in Israel and Palestine but united
through their different faiths, who have led by
example in their peacebuilding rugby league.
In 2015, the Parliaments breakout star was also the
youngest to ever deliver a keynote speech. 14-year
old Ta’Kaiya Blaney, an activist, singer and actress
from Canada’s Tla’Amin First Nation, was a face
of each critical constituency (Women, Emerging
Leaders, and Indigenous Peoples) and channeled
the power of all three: a treasure of the indigenous
communities, a sage emerging leader articulating
ancient wisdom far beyond her years, and a
paragon of rising feminine leadership. Ta’Kaiya
was prolic across the Parliament programs and
plenaries and a prime representative of the growing
interest in youth leadership on the world’s most
critical issues.
25
...We call upon youth and young adults everywhere
to acknowledge that we can and must help shape the
world that we will all inhabit. We ask that we dedicate
our energies to search for solutions to global
problems.
We challenge Millennials and Generation Z to use our
voices to inuence change, both within and beyond
our own demographic.
As we amplify our voices we likewise promise to
open our ears because we know there is wisdom to
be gained from listening to each other and to the
generations that precede us. We pledge to adjust our
lifestyles to reect these commitments.
A Declaration from the Emerging Leaders
Eboo Patel not only contributed his dazzling charm
to the Parliament by co-hosting the evening plenary,
but he also spoke as the rst featured expert in
a customized Massive Open Online Course in
Interreligious Studies, co-produced by the Utah
Valley University and the Parliament of the World’s
Religions for participating students.
The Emerging Leaders Track
The Parliaments Emerging Leaders convened
outside of plenary programming in earnest,
authentic ways. Through Family Groups led by
PeaceJam, young adults met each evening to form
bonds around the critical issues and constituencies
of the 2015 Parliament. These cohorts made
commitments on each track and pledged to remain
connected in order to remain accountable in their
plans on each issue. To enrich the experience of
young people and expand the intergenerational
dynamic of the gathering, a Fellowship Program
mentored by Brian Birch (Chair of the Emerging
Leaders Task Force) rallied student volunteers from
Utah universities to engage in critical conversations
with visiting scholars.
26 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
The Rise of Interreligious
Studies
John Kerry has famously and publicly claimed
that, were he to go back to college all over
again, he would have elected religious studies
as the subject that would have best prepared
him to serve in his appointment as the United
States Secretary of State.
Claremont Lincoln University understands
that need. As the rst graduate school wholly
dedicated to transforming professionals
into interfaith leaders across sectors, CLU
generously committed itself as a primary
sponsor of the Parliament.
It was timely. In 2015, religious literacy and
interfaith action also merged into the ethos
of undergraduate majors at United States
universities, expanding the eld of interreligious
studies previously limited to academic minors,
graduate schools and seminaries.
The curricula and methodology has been at the
forefront of Parliament work for nearly a decade.
Phase 1 of the Parliaments Educating Religious
Leaders for a Multi-Religious World project
took shape at the 2009 Parliament in the form
of a task force, whose mission it was to perfect
syllabi and study the impact of interreligious
studies on seminary students who traveled to
Melbourne.
Phase II sought to expand the scope from the
Abrahamic faiths to a wider range of traditions
exploring how leadership skills are imparted
and certied.
A report documenting the ndings of Phase
II was released at the 2015 Parliament in a
program and reception, chaired by Parliament
Trustee and Emerging Religious Leaders
Committee Chair Rev. John Pawlikowski OSM,
and staffed by Dr. Mary Nelson, the Parliaments
Executive Consultant.
Educating Religious
Leaders For a Multi-
Religious World
PHASE II: Expanding The Frame
Religious leaders, our seminaries, and the interfaith movement
have a responsibility to develop teaching and training
opportunities to cultivate the next generation of religious leaders.
Through this, we can continue to transform our diverse world into
one that is just, peaceful, and sustainable.
Imam Malik Mujahid,
Chair of the Board, Parliament of the World’s Religions, 2010 - 2015
We are in a new era of leadership. Religious leadership (and
therefore the training needed) is less about professional full
time religious leaders, and more about equipping lay emerging
leadership who are in training for other careers, to be able to both
know their faith and to be able to relate to other faiths. We need
to explore what opportunities there are in this arena to permeate
non-religious training settings (but academic ones) to help equip
emerging leaders for a multi-religious world.
Dr. Mary Nelson,
Executive Director, Parliament of the World’s Religions, 2012 - 2015
Educating religious leaders for a multi-religious world
27
Pardeep Singh Kaleka Delivers
Inspiring Parliament Keynote
Heba El Hindi Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Yonatan Belik Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
K. R. Ravindran Opens
“Emerging Leaders” Plenary
Donovan Arthen Shows us
the Sacred Power of Water in
Parliament Keynote
Zach Hunter Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Andrea Zucker Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Dr. Suzanne Barakat
Addresses the Parliament in a
Moving Keynote
Dr. Eboo Patel Emcees
Emerging Leaders Plenary at
2015 Parliament of the World’s
Religions
Faatimah Knight Demonstrates
Real Interfaith Cooperation in
Parliament Keynote
Ta’Kaiya Blaney Delivers
Inspiring Parliament Keynote
Honey and the Sting Beautiful
Musical Performance at
Parliament
Major Speakers of the emerging leaders Plenary
28 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Gallery
29
Income Inequality,
Consuming Less,
Sharing More
The PLENARY
The release of a disheartening report from Oxfam
International coincided with the 2015 Parliament of
the World’s Religions. In it, the researchers warned
that by the 2016, the world’s wealthiest 1 percent
would control as much of the planets assets as
the other 99 percent. Out of the Income Inequality
plenary’s nuanced responses to these pervasive
symptoms of economic and environmental injustice,
one mantra emerged:
“Consume less and share more.”
World-renowned speakers shared prophetically,
many of them dusting off central-but-often-
ignored tenets of religious texts. Their assertion
was undeniable; that, if heeded, spiritual teachings
could radically reduce the widening wealth gap,
greed, extreme poverty, and hunger endangering
most of earth’s inhabitants.
Comprehensive self- and community-wide
examination would take place in exploring
economic justice at the intersections of race, caste,
and other socioeconomic constructs.
“What if White Christians were
more Christian than White?”
Attendees were challenged to look introspectively
at their own privileges, whether they stemmed
from belonging to a region’s majority religious
group or a powerfully protected caste, to being
born with a particular color of skin. It was a night
of contrasts as each person in the crowd identied
their own advantages; ambitious students buried by
insurmountable student loan debt sat shoulder-to-
shoulder with indigenous peoples whose already-
slight rights and property are constantly being
threatened, and with refugees deprived of home
and country. Attendees became keenly aware that
there always exists someone with less; a difcult
truth that sits at the heart of inequality.
So the Parliament line-up of Income Inequality
experts sought to present some common spiritual
sense.
Sojourners President and author, Rev. Jim
Wallis, immediately leaned into one of the most
confrontational questions of the night, asking,
“What if White Christians were more Christian
than White?“
30 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Moral Imperatives
Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank
Group, addressed the plenary via video by sharing
the “Moral Imperative to End Extreme Poverty,
an initiative led by the World Bank Group after
convening religious and spiritual leaders to develop
a global statement and plan of action.
Kim recalled amazing feats accomplished on global
crises through the leadership of faith-inspired
revolutionaries, achievements such as halving the
number of people living in extreme poverty over
just two decades.
Pointing to the transformative inuence of interfaith
action on extreme poverty on the world and on the
World Bank itself, he said,
“Mobilizing for the poorest is a powerful
way to pursue the Parliament’s theme
of reclaiming the heart of our humanity.
Faith leaders have so often fueled social
movements with righteous results.
“You’ve turned seemingly impossible goals like
ending Apartheid and Jim Crow segregation into
inevitable outcomes...We’re committed to working
with you to do this once again. Together we can
accomplish what I believe will be one of humanity’s
greatest achievements:
“Ending Extreme Poverty in a Generation.
...As most traditions afrm, accumulating wealth does not
bring happiness; rather, increasing inequality erodes the
moral fabric of our societies. Religions also remind us to
embrace lifestyles of simplicity, compassion, and generosity.
They encourage us to engage in strategies of just distribution
that uplift the common good and foster human ourishing.
Expert studies of happiness and a growing international
consensus on human development conrm this age-old
wisdom.
Parliament Declaration on Income
Inequality and the Widening Wealth Gap
31
Income Inequality programs
showcase change
Karen Armstrong reminded the world that
practicing compassion is supposed to be
“uncomfortable.” For this reason, compassion was
the means test for many Parliament programs on
wealth gap, greed, and privilege, by and through
which presenters stunned the Parliament with
innovative solutions.
Salt Lake City’s Pamela Atkinson shared how
a community working in cooperation with
business leaders, religious groups, nonprot
organizations, and government ofces can
approach homelessness compassionately and
curb its prevalence by fty percent.
On Food Waste and Consumption, interfaith
activists from Philadelphia shared how religious
cooperatives decided to end hunger in their city.
On a widely-attended panel, Rev. William
Barber of Moral Mondays said white privilege
and plantation capitalism are the roots of the
movement for black lives.
Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith
Discusses Income Inequality in
Keynote Address
DaLai Lama Delivers
Parliament Addresses
Kim Delivers Parliament
Addresses
Kathy Kelly Discusses the Link
between War and Poverty in
Parliament Keynote
Rami Nashashibi Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Rev. Jim Wallis Examines
the Roots of Inequality in
Parliament Keynote
major Speakers on Income Inequality
Emcee Rev. Chloe Breyer
Describes the Local Face of
Poverty
32 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Gallery
33
Confronting
War, Violence &
Hate with Love
and Compassion
The global situation in 2015 brought into focus
the responsibility of all people of all faiths to work
toward ending:
Almost Fifty Armed Conicts
Innumerable Hate Crimes
Pervasive Episodes of Hate Speech
One of the fastest and most efcient ways to
combat prejudice is to humanize groups of
people; to put faces to cultures, to religions, to
ethnicities. The 2015 Parliament explicitly addressed
humanization throughout its “War, Violence, and
Hate Speech” track, with preeminent scholars,
religious leaders, and activists delving deep into the
roots of hate and conict. From stories of individual,
personal encounters with hate to state-effected acts
of genocide, one factor remained constant- the
failure to see one another as human.
Keynote speakers delivered timely, concise
messages about what it takes to create a world
of peace. While it is often difcult for individuals
to change policy or to affect legislation, the 2015
Parliament called out the fact that the capacity to
change the way we view our neighbors can start
in a community, in a place of worship, and in a
household; It is something that we can do on a
daily basis, even if our resources are limited or our
inuence is minimal.
While the “War, Violence, and Hate Speech”
programming track was a microcosm of this
concept, in reality, the entire Parliament exemplied
the idea of humanizing one another. Tribal religions
from Northern Africa gave signs of peace to
adherents of Shinto, Mormons ate meals next to
Muslims, Sikhs meditated with Buddhists. Scholars
shared peace strategies with young students and
world renowned speakers laughed with grassroots
organizers. Humans from 75 countries occupied the
same space, and instead of throwing sparks off of
one another, they t together like a jigsaw puzzle;
creating a picture through their togetherness that
could never have been achieved on their own.
Equipped with the inspiring words from keynote
speakers and practical toolkits from program
presenters, attendees left the Parliament with a new
perspective on their global neighbors and a desire
to share the earth with them.
34 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
The War, Violence and Hate Speech Plenary t
perfectly into the lattice of similar programming
at the Parliament, proving that the attendees and
program presenters carried with them a devotion
to peace and a spirit of equality. Medea Benjamin’s
words at the plenary were bolstered by a lively and
convicting panel on Drone Warfare earlier that day,
and especially timely words decrying Islamophobia
echoed through Parliament programs.
war, violence and hate speech
program presenters spoke truth
to power
Describing Islamophobia more than once
throughout the week as the “okay racism of
our time called attention to the blatant double
standard that runs rampant in countries across
the world. Discrimination based on appearance
suddenly becomes “okay” when it is tied to a
religion or creed. Programs and plenary speakers
provided a strong counter-narrative.
Turning upside-down the preconceived notion
that religion is responsible for war was the
panel “Kill them (Qu’ran), Do Not Spare Them
(Torah), and Cast Them Into Everlasting Fire (New
Testament): Context of Difcult Religious Texts.
This - the best attended panel discussion at the
Parliament - examined the violent passages of
each of the Abrahamic holy books, calling to
attention the historical context and dangers of
misinterpretation.
After Parliament attendees were thoroughly
schooled in the ways hate, violence and terror
are interrelated, cyclical phenomena, the
challenge of peacebuilding remained. City
mayors from across towns in North America and
Europe converged to train attendees on ways of
engaging government with peacebuilding plans.
KAICIID delivered intensive training sessions on
leveraging traditional and social media to create
change and goodwill amidst disagreement and
volatile relationships caused by divides.
Respect for the dignity and human rights of
LGBTQI communities, a subject often tiptoed
around in global interfaith settings, was
repeatedly raised in the call to reclaim the heart
of our humanity.
Implementing the Parliaments call to “engage
guiding institutions,” an eminent panel of military
strategists, international law experts and religious
leaders took up the challenge of responding
to drone violence from an interfaith stance,
enlisting participants to help draft a declaration
denouncing drone warfare to the United States
government.
The Parliament was honored to host Dr. Suzanne
Barakat and Pardeep Kaleka, who are surviving
members of families that have endured high-
prole hate massacres in the United States. Each
have dedicated their lives to raising awareness
and educating important audiences about
the anatomy of hate in our society. These and
additional guests with similar stories sent a
powerful message to the world: recovering from
hate can direct grieving families down a road of
forgiveness, service and reconciliation.
35
major Speakers of the WAR, Violence and hate speech plenary
Nobel Laureate Mairead
Maguire Delivers Parliament
Keynote Address
Robert Pape Addresses
the War, Violence and Hate
Speech at the 2015 Parliament
Dr. Jane Goodall Gives
Amazing Parliament Keynote
Address
His Holiness Pujay Vasanth
Vijayji Maharaj Addresses
the War, Violence and Hate
Speech Plenary
Medea Benjamin Addresses
the War, Violence and Hate
Speech at the 2015 Parliament
Karen Armstrong Receives
Paul Carus Award & Addresses
the 2015 Parliament
Allan Boesak Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
John L Esposito Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Dr. Vishwanath Karad Delivers
Parliament Keynote Address
Dr. Tariq Ramadan Discusses
the Roots of Hate at the 2015
Parliament of the World’s
Religions
36 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Gallery
37
Climate Change:
Protecting
the Only Earth
We Have
In an address at the Religion’s for the Earth
Summit in September, 2014, the Parliament Board
Chair made a public commitment that the 2015
Parliament would emphasize climate issues and
sustainable living as a prime focus.
As promised, the care for our common home was
a priority that permeated every plenary and area of
programming.
The subject commanded focus in each track. Giving
an interview preceding the plenary session, United
Nations Messenger of Peace and Anthropologist Dr.
Jane Goodall warned that the razing of forests and
polluting of waterways will play a direct role in the
conicts of the future:
“[Even] If we could have everybody lay
down their weapons, they’d soon pick
them up again to be ghting over the last
water if we don’t do something for the
environment.”
Goodall joined another climate keynote speaker,
Global Security Institute President Jonathan Granoff,
on a panel exploring the most critical man-made
threat to creation in the threat of nuclear weapons.
The indigenous peoples of the Great Basin, whose
inuence and spirit ran through and strengthened
the entire Parliament, brought with them an ancient
connection to, and communion with, the land and a
concern for its degradation.
38 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
In 2015, Pope Francis wrote and published his second papal
encyclical Laudato si’: On Care for Our Common Home, which
made sustainability and creation care a priority for the 1.2
billion Catholics in the world, as well as many members of
the interfaith community. Multiple programs at the Parliament
addressed the encyclical, most prominently in a speech at
the Climate Change plenary from Permanent Observer of the
Holy See to the United Nations Archbishop Bernadito Auza
stating,
The time to redirect our steps has passed, but it is never too late to take it
now. Let’s take it now in the path that we must take, the path that leads to
achieving in Paris something beautiful for our common home, and for the
entire humanity, today and for all generations to come.
2015 is a critical year for climate action. Later
this year the leaders of governments from
every nation from the world will meet in Paris
to try to nally to secure global agreement to
solve the climate crisis. We need support from
everyone, including the grassroots activism
to encourage and to insure that the necessary actions are taken by the
leaders attending these talks.
– Former Vice-President and Founder of the Climate Project, Al Gore
Joined by her father, Al Gore, Parliament Special
Ambassador on Climate Change Karenna Gore presents
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a letter detailing the
Parliaments plea for a sustainable future at the 2015 United
Nations Climate Change conference in Paris, November,
2015.
39
The Plenary
Of the Parliaments mission to achieve a more
peaceful, just and sustainable world, no issue
pressed for more urgent action in 2015 than
climate change. Participants surveyed prior to the
convention agreed, stating it would be their primary
reason for attending.
Contrary to popular opinion, religious communities
and faith-based partnerships have been leading
animated environmental initiatives for decades.
The Climate Change plenary would express why
scientic and spiritual teachings on climate equally
call for investment in and stewardship of the earth.
Efforts of interfaith partnerships make lasting global
contributions.
The Green World Campaign opened the 2015
Parliament plenary on climate change, “Protecting
the Only Earth We Have,” by uplifting attendees with
a hopeful story from Director Marc Barasch about
how a simple gesture of planting trees yielded
tremendous benets for a community. In the
preceding year, 500,000 trees planted in Kenya and
100 school programs were maintained through the
promotion of green compassion.
Karenna Gore, Director of the Center for Earth
Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, served as
emcee for the plenary which also featured an
excusive video address from her father, former
United States Vice-President Al Gore. Upon closure
of the Parliament, Karenna Gore accepted a role
as the ofcial Parliament of the World’s Religions
Ambassador on Climate Change.
Chief Arvol Looking Horse (leader of the Lakota)
and Dene elder Francois Paulette reminded us that
spiritual traditions have been interwoven with the
care of the earth since the beginning of history,
and that sustainable living can be found at the
root of every religion. Now, we are starting to see
more noticeable action from organizations around
the world working together to combat climate
change from a distinctly religious framework. At the
Climate Change Plenary, we sought to mirror this
model by bringing together the best of science and
spirituality.
Katharine Hayhoe, a Texas-based professor,
shattered myths that Evangelical Christians or
women cannot contribute on the frontlines of
climate science and activism. Transforming what
she dubbed the “airplane-hanger” plenary hall into
a college classroom, Hayhoe’s keynote served a
stream of digestible statistics that helped put to rest
any climate skepticism remaining in the room.
In his rst visit to the United States since the attacks
of September 11th, 2001, Sheikh Saleh Abdullah
bin Humaid, Imam of the the Grand Mosque of
Mecca, shared these words: (translated)
“Material greed has meant that the environment
which God created in perfect balance to provide
mankind with all the natural resources he needs,
has become of little importance, creating windows
for disorder and a negative impact on the life of
human beings and animals alike.
The Sheikh’s home country of Saudi Arabia is the
top oil producing country in the world. His message
was a reminder that, even in the midst of a country
whose very infrastructure rejects sustainability,
voices of faith have the power to rise.
Karenna Gore moderated addresses from Brian
D. McLaren, Jonathan Granoff, Marc Ian Barasch,
Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Arvol Lookinghorse,
Francois Paulette, and His Excellency Dr. Saleh
Abdullah M. Bin Humaid. The plenary also featured
a video message from former Vice-President Al
Gore.
The Parliament’s Declaration on Climate
Change was delivered, pledging individual
and collective action to:
To take all possible measures to reduce greenhouse gases.
To transition to clean, safe, and renewable energy in
developed countries.
To adopt a green energy path of development in
developing countries, with needed nancial support and
technical assistance.
To greatly increase energy efciency at all levels.
To stop deforestation and pursue re-forestation worldwide.
To cease pollution of oceans and damage to their
ecosystems.
To make the required changes in our consumption and
lifestyles.
To end poverty and achieve the UN Sustainable
Development Goals.
40 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Sustainability in Action
Speaking in the program “From Worship to WASH: Religious Leaders Come Together in the
Name of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene,” Sanjay Wijesekera, Associate Director of W.A.S.H.
UNICEF New York, illuminated the global water crisis and the work of faiths to overcome it. In
his remarks, he stated:
“The scale of the issue is truly staggering
- about one billion people in the world do
not use any kind of toilet. So that is a huge
number, about 1 in 5 people. Sanitation and
water are basic human rights, so without
adequate water sanitation and hygiene,
the survival and development of children is
greatly compromised and the very gains that
have been made on health, on nutrition and
education are being undermined...
...Governments can do really good things.
Government can create an environment
where good things can happen, and that is
very important, but its people who actually
make things happen and do things - in
countries, in communities in households...
Its you- faith leaders and members of
faith- you touch people’s everyday lives and
impact on their behaviors and practices,
things can be life-saving and life-enriching in
ways that few other or no other institutions
can do.
So we ask that you do three things, or that
you consider three things:
The rst thing is to motivate and create demand
for toilets in every household. Find ways to get this
message across because it saves lives.
Secondly to help us to harness social movements
that support and enable those who are most
vulnerable to access the changes that we all want
to see.
And nally, in doing these things, challenge
decision makers to make sure that the basic rights
needs of children and women are met.
These three things when brought together
will bring signicant and lasting change, it
will save lives and help children reach their
full potential.
41
Chief Arvol Lookinghorse
Talks Climate Change at the
2015 Parliament
Francois Paulette talks
Climate Change at the 2015
Parliament
Marc Barasch talks Climate
Change at 2015 Parliament
Sheikh Saleh Abdullah bin
Humaid talks Climate Change
at the 2015 Parliament
Cultivation of Harmony Award
- Dr. Zarni
Katharine Hayhoe talks
Climate Change at the 2015
Parliament
Brian McLaren talks Climate
Change at the 2015
Parliament
Bernardito Auza talks
Climate Change at the 2015
Parliament
Jonathan Granoff talks
Climate Change at the 2015
Parliament
Major Speakers of THE CLIMATE CHANGE PLENARY
42 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Gallery
43
Solidarity with
Indigenous
Communities
the programs by and for the
indigenous peoples at the
parliament
It was told long ago that the spiritual leaders of the
Indigenous Nations would join on spiritual grounds
with religious, faith, and spiritual leaders from
around the world. Shoulder to shoulder in a great
council, they would commit to work for peace and
the Protection of Mother Earth.
The Parliament was honored to share and learn from
the wisdom of the Indigenous Nations of the world
and Utah. The Indigenous Nations from the Great
Salt Lake region, the Great Basin, and the State of
Utah extended a warm welcome to the people of
the world into their spiritual and ancestral home, the
ancient and sacred gathering place that is the Great
Salt Lake.
The 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions
Program was a rst class and unique opportunity to
share in and learn with the spiritual leaders of the
Indigenous Nations gathered at the Parliament. “The
Parliament has a unique relationship with indigenous
people not just in Utah but around the world,” said
Lewis Cardinal, Trustee of the Parliament and Chair
of the Indigenous Peoples’ Task Force.
More than 30 Indigenous-led Panels and Workshops
were presented throughout the Parliament, each with
various topics in relations to the Parliament theme.
40 or more indigenous communities were
represented in the 2015 Parliaments indigenous
programs from around the world.
Indigenous participants were an intentionally
omnipresent dynamic of this Parliament, offering
myriad spaces and activities around the Sacred Fire,
throughout presentations and open mic sessions.
Parliaments have become a distinct venue for
Indigenous communities to connect with each other
and to convene around pressing and urgent issues.
To build bonds of solidarity at the 2015 Parliament,
spiritual leaders of the Indigenous Nations held
a 3-day long program called the “Indigenous
Dialogues.
We began by going through a ‘smudge’ purication
ritual ociated by a kindly Paiute elder, and then
making an oering of tobacco to the Sacred Fire . It
was good to start the Parliament by acknowledging
the Spiritual Ecology of the First Peoples of this land.
-From “Deep Roots, Entwined Branches: Reections on
the Parliament of the World’s Religions” by Jason M.
Brown
44 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
The Plenary
The crescendo of the Salt Lake Parliament happened
on its nal day when the Indigenous Communities
of the world treated participants to an intrepid
four-hour plenary. Concern for peace and justice,
earth’s preservation, and disparity of resources was
palpable.
“You Can Do Anything to Me, But I Will Still
Love You.” - Maori Grandmother Rose Pere
from New Zealand
Universal truths were told on that stage. Survival was
intertwined with the sustainability of the earth. One
simple credo could solve all of our shared problems:
that we understand what it means to live with respect
for all peoples.
The testimony of wisdom keepers recalled how
indigenous communities told of the threats of
climate change long before the rest of the world
would listen. And although through conquest and
modern pursuits the Indigenous Nations have
endured the worst disenfranchisement and violations
of human rights, the spiritual leaders of Indigenous
traditions held out their hands in generosity.
The Indigenous Peoples Declaration for Action
called for:
Recognition and Respect of Indigenous’ Peoples
Rights to Exist
An End to the Desecration of Sacred Sites
Love Our Earth Mother
Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery
End of Violence Against Indigenous Women
The End of Violence Against Indigenous Peoples
repudiation of THE DOCTRINE
OF DISCOVERY
One of the major connections made at the
2015 Parliament between indigenous peoples
and attendees of other national and religious
backgrounds happened in programs exploring the
“Doctrine of Discovery.” Steven Newcomb’s keynote
helped crystallize the commitments sought by all
attendees when he stated:
...It is time for the Christians and the Churches that
are doing so to stop lying about our ceremonies.
They need to stop telling our young people and
others that our ceremonies are satanic or the work
of the devil. This is killing many our young people
who, deprived of their cultural and spiritual identity,
in the traumatic wake of the boarding schools and
residential schools of domination, are ending their
lives prematurely.
Additionally, the governments and the churches
need to begin putting as much time, effort, energy,
and money into assisting with the revitalization of
our languages, cultures, and spiritual traditions as
they put into attempting to destroy them and our
Sacred Places to begin with. Our Original Nations
don’t need reconciliation, we need decolonization!
We and the planet need healing from the trauma
brought on by ongoing and chronic patterns of
domination and greed.
Thank you to all the Christian churches and
Christians who have expressed support for our
efforts. We deeply appreciate it. We invite you to
walk with us on the Sacred Path, in honor of the rst
principle of our Original Nations: “Respect the Earth
as our Mother and have a Sacred Regard for All
Living Things. End the domination. All Our Relations.
Wanishi.
Steven Newcomb (Shawnee, Lenape) is co-founder
and co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute, and
author of Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding
the Doctrine of Christian Discovery(Fulcrum, 2008).
He is a producer of the documentary movie, The
Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination
Code, directed and produced by Sheldon Wolfchild
(Dakota), with narration by Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree).
45
Chief Oren Lyons Gives
Keynote Address at the 2015
Parliament of the World’s
Religions
Inija Trinkuniene, Krive of
Lithuania’s Romuva Religion
Addresses 2015 Parliament
Indigenous Plenary
Lakota Leader Chief Arvol
Lookinghorse Addresses 2015
Parliament
Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq
“Uncle” Inspires at the 2015
Parliament of the World’s
Religions
Wándé Abímbólá Brings
Greetings from West Africa in
Indigenous Keynote at 2015
Parliament
Maori Elder Rose Pere Speaks
and Sings for the 2015
Parliament Indigenous Plenary
Arnold W. Thomas Addresses
2015 Parliament on Sacred
Ground
Navajo Dr. Wilson Aronilth Jr.
Delivers Keynote at the 2015
Parliament
Ta’Kaiya Blaney Delivers
Prophetic Indigenous Keynote
on Culture and Environment at
2015 Parliament
Goshute-Shoshone Member
Rupert Steele Gives Spiritual
Keynote to Indigenous Plenary
Darlene St. Clair Delivers
Keynote on Protecting Sacred
Sites at 2015 Parliament
Major Speakers of THE Indigenous PLENARY
Mayan Indigenous
Grandmother Flordemayo
Delivers Keynote at 2015
Parliament
46 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Gallery
47
CONNECTING THE WORLD
“May I please be heard
saying how grateful I
am to listen to all these
diverse, global voices in
a language I understand.
#2015Parliament” - @drz0
#2015Parliament, #Parliament2015,
#SLCPowr and #FaithInWomen were the
top four hashtags... reaching over 23
million people around the globe through
Twitter alone during the week of the
Parliament!
Social Media, LiveStream and
The parliament App
The Parliament of the World’s Religions brings
together the diverse religious traditions of the world
in a very tangible way. But in 2015, this convergence
of faiths is no longer limited to a single, physical
event; the Parliament and its ideals live on through
its platforms on the web, social media, and the
Parliament App.
For the rst time in its long history, the Parliament
livestreamed the plenaries, as well as a selection
of over 100 major programs, through its newly
relaunched website.
A combined total of 15,500 hours were spent on the
Parliament App during the 5-day event! Attendees
were able to view and search day-to-day schedules
of all programs and create their own personalized
schedules, receive up-to-the-minute alerts schedule
changes and special announcements, rate sessions
and post their own pictures of those sessions to the
app, learn about each speaker through bios, and
gain access to detailed maps of Salt Lake City, the
Salt Palace, and the Exhibit Hall. Most importantly,
the app allowed individuals to connect with other
Parliament attendees.
The Mobile App enabled its users to share content
from the app to their favorite social media networks
and friends, fullling the Parliaments objective
of engaging media as one of the world’s guiding
institutions.
For the rst time at a Parliament, hashtags were
used to organize and track real-time storylines of
the experience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and
Google+ pages.
#2015Parliament #Parliament2015 and #SLCPowr
and #FaithInWomen were the top four hashtags,
reaching over 23 million people around the globe
through Twitter alone during the week of the
Parliament.) Attendees lled up albums with photos
snapped in Salt Lake, depicting encounters - casual,
profound, and transformative- that can only be
experienced by attending the Parliament. Through
new connections on Facebook, these encounters
stretched past the short week in Salt Lake City,
eventually growing into future collaborations and an
ever-strengthening global interfaith network born in
the hallways of the Salt Palace.
48 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Parliament
in the Press
On engaging media, the
Parliament of the World’s
Religions means business.
On the opening page of the 2015 Parliament
Commitment Book there is an appeal to all
attendees, asking them to make more concerted
efforts to engage media; to help the world
reimagine global interreligious relationships,
to move from hellre to hope and break down
stereotypes by enlisting the media as a genuine
partner in peacebuilding.
The media has the power to tell stories that
demonstrate interfaith harmony, and the interfaith
movement is poised to provide those stories.
By its opening day, the Parliament had already
broken into international newsfeeds with a Forbes
magazine prole of a major Parliament guest,
President of Rotary International K.R. Ravindran,
whose view on global development and the role of
religions is catching re across the business world.
A now-evergreen Time Magazine Op-Ed “How
Religious Women Can Fix Sexual Politics,” (October
14, 2015) dug into the vision of the Women’s
Assembly and the Declaration on the Human Rights
and Dignity of Women, giving worldwide readers
a view of the event through the eyes of its author
and organizer, Phyllis Curott, Vice-Chair of the
Parliament and the Chair of the Parliament Women’s
Task Force.
49
Parliament in the Press
Associated Press
Business Standard
Cache Valley Daily
Christian Science Monitor
Coeur D’Alene Press (Idaho)
Colorado Springs Gazette
Daily Journal (Indiana)
Economic Times
Edmonton Examiner
Fellowship of Reconciliation
FORBES
Fox 13 Now
Get Religion
Good News Network
Good4Utah
Helena Independent Record
Hindustan Times
Hufngton Post
India Post
India TV News
India West
Indian Country Today Media Network
Intermountain Catholic
International Business Times
Investigative Reporting Workshop
Jewish Voices for Peace
Journal Gazette (Indiana)
Kansas City Star
KSL / KSL.com
KUTV
Lake Geneva Current (Wisconsin)
My Magic Valley/Twin Falls, Idaho
National Catholic Reporter
National Public Radio
New Dimensions Radio
News Oklahoma
NewsOK Oklahoma
NYOOZ.com
OC Register
On Islam
Oye! Times
Pakistan Christian Post
Patheos
From the heartland of the U.S. to
each corner of the globe
Across prominent global news websites, lifestyle
magazines, college weeklies, popular religion blogs,
spiritual readers, the nightly TV news and local
newspapers, coverage of the 2015 Parliament of the
World’s Religions reached an audience of nearly 100
million people.
In the host city, the Parliament was splashed across
the pages of host city papers the Salt Lake Tribune
and Deseret News. Subsequent coverage began to
appropriately contextualize the event, publishing in-
depth reports on programs and featuring city mayors
from around the world to examining the content
of the event, such as the statement by one major
Parliament voice saying that Islamophobia remains
the only “okay” racism of our time.
For ve days, the rst live-tweeted and live-streamed
Parliament turned interfaith into a trending Twitter
topic and, supplemented by stories on Instagram
and Facebook, helped connect audiences nearly four
times the size of those gathered in Salt Lake City.
Beyond Salt Lake, participants of the Parliament did
not disappoint. For weeks and months following the
Parliament, more than 100 opinion pieces published
through the websites of newspapers and magazines
in local communities, especially across the United
States, conveyed positive reviews of the Parliament
experience from attendees. With a call to action
fanning out in every direction, writers explained
why the complex issues discussed at the convention
intersect with the values of religious teachings
and found focus for each unique locale, leading to
strengthened interfaith activities and sparking new
participation.
the parliament made
headlines in a variety
of media, including:
50 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
PBS - Religion and Ethics
Newsweekly
Portland Press Herald
Public News Service
Religion News Service
Salt Lake Tribune
San Jose Examiner
Seattle Times
Sikh 24 News
Sikh Siyasat News
Sojourners
Southern Utah University
Spokane FAVs
(Washington State)
St. George Daily
Spectrum
Stamwood Camano News
(Washington State)
State Register Journal
(Illinois)
Stephens Point Journal
The Asian Age
The Centre Daily Time
The Christian Century
The Concordian
The Daily Herald
(Northwest Suburbs)
The Digital Universe
(Brigham Young
University)
The Fresno Bee
The Garden Island
(Hawaii)
The Interfaith Observer
The Link, Concordia
University
The Recorder
(Massachusetts)
The Republic
The SouthAsian Link
The Southern Illinoisan
The Times of India
The Washington Post
TIME
Toledo Blade
U.S. Building Green
Council
Utah Public Radio
Vestavia Voice (Alabama)
Washington Times
WNCN
World News Report
World Religion News
51
Program Tracks
Bahá’í
The Evolution of Justice: A Spiritual Perspective
Equality: A Spiritual Reality and a Prerequisite for
Peace
Buddhism
Applied Buddhism in the Modern World
Buddhist Liturgy: Ways to Connect with Our
Inherent Wisdom and Compassion
Christianity
The Dynamic Nature of Christianity and Ecology:
Changes Over 20 Years
Evangelicals and Mormons Overcoming Hate
Speech
Hinduism
Food for the Soul - The Power of Sacraments
and Pujas to Change Us and Our World
Classical Yoga, Vedanta, and Ecology: Theories
and Praxis
Religious Observances
Devotional Chanting for the Earth
Hadrat Kodesh: Sacred Chanting for Planetary
Balance and Healing
Islam
Humanity at the Heart of Islam and in the Hearts
of Muslims: Moving Beyond Dialogue
Tension between the Historical (or ISIS) and
Quranic Islam
Jainism
Jain eLibrary - A Portal of a Digital Library
to Foster Creativity and Free Access to all
Knowledge of Jainism
Promoting Peace (Applications of Ahimsa,
Anekantvad, Aparigraha)
Judaism
A Shabbos of Heart, Mind, and Soul: Friday
Evening Kabbalat Shabbat
Reading Sacred Texts of Violence: The Example
of Judaism
Paganism
From Sympathy to Empathy: A Pagan Spiritual
Counselor’s Perspective on the Golden Rule
Applied Theology in Contemporary Paganism
Zoroastrianism
Demonstration of a Zoroastrian Thanksgiving
Ritual – The Jashan Ceremony
Stewardship of the Environment – An imperative
for Zoroastrians
Sikhism
Sikh Intrafaith Session: Addressing Prejudice
and Hate Crimes
Langar: Sikh and Interfaith Perspectives
The Tracks
1,997 people presented in 855 Sessions in 24 different program tracks to create a Parliament where
literally anything could be seen, heard, or felt. From the world premier lms to social debates to Tai Go
drummers, the world truly came to the Salt Palace that October.
The INTRAfaith Tracks
At the 2015 Parliament, interfaith was bolstered and nuanced by “intrafaith.” Faith practitioners were
given the opportunity to meet people from within their own religion, yet from vastly different cultural and
historical contexts. Intrareligious tracks provided an opportunity to learn about the teachings, practices and
dynamics of a wide variety of religious and spiritual communities, the resources and rationales from within
these traditions for interreligious cooperation, and their approaches to major global concerns. Religious
traditions with many such programs were grouped into their own tracks as were all morning spiritual
observances. Major religious traditions and spiritual traditions presented programs; those highlighting
religions include but were not limited to:
52 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
The INTERfaith Tracks
The interreligious tracks focused on structured opportunities for dialogue with a wide range of interfaith
panel discussions, lms, and artistic works and performances from a variety of religious and spiritual
perspectives. A sampling of such programs include:
Arts and Performances
Peace Angels: You’re Not Alone
Alleluia: Music, Prayers and Dances of the
Fourth Way
Panels/Workshops
Abrahamic Reunion: 12 Peacemakers Of
Abrahamic Faiths Of The Holy Land: Tools For
Peacemaking From The Different Traditions
Healing Moral Injury in Returning Veterans and
Families
Major Speakers
Liberating America from Jim Crow: The Third
Reconstruction
Compassion and Law Enforcement
Multidisciplinary
The Five Stages of Interfaith Dialogue: Moving
Beyond Platitudes, Pursuing Peace
A Return to God: the Spiritual Journey of the
Former Eastern Block
Film
“I Am”
“No Asylum: The Untold Chapter of Anne
Frank’s Story”
Sacred Space
The Architecture of Faith: A Global Interreligious
Pilgrimage from Hopewell Earthworks to
Frank Lloyd Wrights Unity Temple, in Twelve
Architectural Steps
Sharing Sacred Spaces, A Program of
Interreligious community-building based in
Chicago
Salt Lake City
Mormonism Among the World’s Religions
Women on the Move: Engaging in Religious
Social Justice Action
Trainings
KAICIID: Intensive Course on Interreligious
Peacebuilding
Faith-Rooted Organizing
Critical Issues
The Critical Issues tracks:
Climate Change
The Papal Encyclical on the Environment and
Climate Change
Celebrating the Water of Life
War/Hate/Violence
#BlackLivesMatter
Living In The Tension: LGBTQ Inclusion in Faith
Communities
Wealth Gap
A 2015 Compassionate Call to Global Action On
Hunger and Thirst
Combating Inequality and Ending Extreme
Poverty: Perspectives from the Parliament and
the World Bank Group Initiatives.
Critical Constituencies
The Critical Constituencies tracks:
Indigenous Peoples
Healing Our Hearts at Wounded Knee: Toward
Indigenous and Global Healing: Part 1
In Kinship With All Life: The Path We Walk
Women’s Initiative
Breaking the Stained Glass Ceiling
Grandmother Can Transform the World: The
Power of Spirit
Emerging Leaders
Symposium for College Students, Youth
and Young Adults: Interfaith Dialogue,
Interspirituality and Global Leadership
Development
Youth and Religious Extremism
53
ROOM TO CONNECT
The Exhibit Hall
At the physical center of the 2015 Parliament of the
World’s Religions was the Parliament Bazaar. With a
record number of 205 booths, religious traditions,
non-prot groups, and international vendors
showcased a wide variety of items, this was no
ordinary exhibit hall!
In keeping with the intention for all Parliament
spaces, the exhibitors called on people to get
involved; to experience new ideas, to build new
relationships and to taste and feel the textures of
cultural wares from around the world.
The Parliaments generous sponsors were
represented with large and inviting spaces at
the center of the Exhibit Hall. KAICIID welcomed
major speakers and all other attendees to
engage in dialogue while enjoying refreshments,
and Claremont Lincoln University conducted
live interviews so that people could share their
Parliament experience in real time.
At the Parliaments own booth, major speakers
stopped by to sign books and invite casual
conversations. Parliament staff members were
on hand to answer questions and sign up new
members to the Parliament. The Parliaments Sacred
Spaces Ambassador, Suzanne Morgan, displayed
the winning models of an architecture competition
in partnership with the University of Utah to create
the sacred in public space.
As great as it was to meet a favorite author, to
learn more about an unfamiliar tradition, or to buy
something special as a reminder of the Parliament,
it was the shared conversations and newly-formed
relationships that made the Parliament Bazaar so
powerful.
Faith Spaces
Gathering 10,000 people around faith necessitates
making room for prayer. With the talents of local
Utah religious communities, 12 sacred spaces
were curated to host visitors for worship and
engagement programs, meditation, lectures, and
workshops. Dedicated havens made space for
Hinduism, Judaism, Jainism, Islam, Buddhism,
Baha’i, Indigenous Peoples, Pagans, Christians,
Sikhs, in addition to the Women’s Sacred Space
and an Interfaith Prayer Room. These sanctuaries
became a real-world “neighborhood of religions”
far exceeding the efforts made to accommodate
religious diversity inherent in other world-class
international meetings. For comparison, the 2016
Rio Olympics built a multifaith center limited to just
ve major world faiths (Islam, Christianity, Judaism,
Hinduism, and Buddhism).
54 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
The Gathering Place
& Cultural Hall
Connected to the main lobby of the Salt Palace, the
bright and airy space was comfortably furnished
through a generous partnership between Salt Lake
City and its local chapter of Rotary International.
It was the perfect place to catch up with an old
colleague, meet a new friend, or hold a small group.
Next door, exhibits displayed selections that
bridged medium and genres, coming together in
some of the most relevant historic memorials and
cultural masterpieces in the world today. These
works served to orient participants to sensitive
subject matter; the expressions of different groups
often unaware of their own historically similar
experiences.
A Gandhi, King, Ikeda Exhibit from Morehouse
College explored the heroism of nonviolent
mobilizing and peacemaking in the 20th
century, while urgent lessons about nuclear
warfare were found in works from the Hiroshima
Peace Museum.
An authentic wagon driven westward during
the migration of Mormon pioneers (who would
settle in Utah) highlighted the suffering born
of social persecution and “othering”, a history
shared by many traditions.
Dharma Master Hsin Tao shared collections from
the Taipei-based Museum of World Religions.
The F-Word: Stories of Forgiveness” project
presented generation-spanning stories rising
from atrocities and genocides to educate,
encourage, empower, and explore the nature
of forgiveness and alternatives to conict and
revenge.
From Salt Palace to Sacred
Space: Pop-Up Spiritual Stations
A Buddhist Mandala begins with a few grains of
sand. Sands dyed different colors, meticulously
placed by monks, begin to morph into a beautiful
canvas of unity, love and understanding; a stark
visual representation of what it means to attend a
Parliament conference.
An inux of people from different ethnicities,
nationalities, and beliefs. Alone they are individual
stories, but together they represent what makes
the Parliament unique. Just like the mandala,
once completed, admired and observed in all it’s
greatness, the Parliament breaks back down to
its individual grains of sand - people, changed
from this monumental experience of belonging
and ready to re-enter the world to foster the spirit
of sharing and understanding learned at the
Parliament.
That spirit was enriched by surprises placed
around every corner of the Salt Palace. A perfect
model reconstruction of a Jain Temple anked
the otherwise quiet help desk, a marvelous
display and reminder of the teachings ofahimsa”
(nonviolence). Ornately woven banners hung
throughout the center and lled the Salt Palace
with symbols of the world’s faiths and natural
beauty. Paper birds ew from the ceiling canopy
straight into another hallway adorned with
handmade textiles of Goddesses. Participants
found themselves enveloped by art and music at
each turn, where installations like the Parliaments
Meditation Cube reected light into the crowds.
Interactive booths drew passers-by in to learn, to
add their signature to a commemorative Climate
Change display, or to share their personal life
stories with lmmakers and archivists.
55
Sacred Music Night and the
Song and Dance throughout the
Parliament
The music of the Parliament took on its own
signicance for many guests who attended,
enhancing the scope of multicultural exhibition
through exquisite creative expressions. Through the
generosity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
Day Saints, the Mormon Tabernacle, an acoustically
perfect venue, opened its majestic doors to the
Parliament for a night of Sacred Music organized
by a committee of talented Salt Lake volunteers.
The concert took the audience around the world,
from the beats of the Taiwanese Tai-go drummers
choreographed with dazzling swordsmen, to the
highland hymnals of Ancient Scotland, to the
crystal-clear voices of children from the religions of
the world.
A rst-time Parliament choir spent their Parliament
afternoons rehearsing to offer the original Cantata
for the Earth at the closing ceremonies. Voices in
harmony were a mainstay throughout the plenaries,
especially in the anthemic “Peace, Salaam Shalom”
in the plenary session on confronting War, Hate and
Violence.
Instruments and dance added to the chorus of
voices. A Salt Lake orchestra visited the Parliament
for a moving afternoon concert. Programs like
Universal Dances of Peace trained participants
interested in a traditional Su group dance, which
would echo throughout the Salt Palace until the
doors closed on the last day. A ash mob organized
by Sheroes invited women to reclaim ownership
of their bodies and embrace sisterhood in motion.
And no Parliament is complete without a glittering
group of traditional Hindu dancers transforming a
plenary stage in an homage of the rich bonds of
Eastern-Western connections built at the original
Parliament.
ROOM TO CONNECT
56 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Golden Banquet
On Sunday October 18, approximately a thousand
Parliament attendees and special guests gathered
for the Golden Banquet, a benet luncheon for the
Parliament of the World’s Religions sponsored in
partnership with Claremont Lincoln University.
Guests enjoyed a special exclusive interview with
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and learned about the
incredible activities of Claremont Lincoln from its
President, Eileen Aranda, and founder Mr. David
Lincoln.
The “emPOWR” Film Festival
Adjacent to the Salt Palace Convention Center is the Utah
Museum of Contemporary Arts (UMOCA) which would serve
as the ofcial movie theatre of the 2015 Parliament. Guests
were treated to discussions with the creators of the 12 lms
by attending panels featuring directors, producers and
actors, including members of the Oprah Winfrey Network and
indigenous lmmaker and activist Stephen Newcomb
The Harvard University Pluralism Project took notice of the
lm fest, reporting later that the festival featured lms like
“Standing on Sacred Ground, a four-part series about the work
of indigenous people around the world working to preserve their sacred lands, and Born into Brothels:
Calcuttas Red Light Kids, a documentary about the sons and daughters of prostitutes in the city of Calcutta.
In addition to the emPOWR Film Festival, the Parliament also featured a screening and panel discussion
of Belief, a production of the Oprah Winfrey Network which aired for the rst time on October 18, 2015.
Parliament guests were treated to a video message directly from Ms, Oprah Winfrey!
57
The Legacy of Langar
A cherished part of Parliament lore is the legacy of
langar.
The story goes like this. Guru Nanak, the founder of
Sikhism and the rst Sikh Guru, taught his followers
to value equality, and the dignity and signicance
shared by all human beings. Inherent in that
teaching was the idea that each and every person
deserved to eat, regardless of gender, race, creed,
or caste. Eating together and feeding those who
were hungry was a public display of that ethic of
equality.
The tradition birthed from Guru Nanak’s teaching
is more than ever today an essential observance
for the adherents of the fth largest religion in
the world - a mealtime in the temple when all are
welcomed and all are served.
For anyone who has been to a Parliament, langar is
more than just a meal. For rst-timers, it is a solemn
ritual to which they arrive hungry, nervous, and
curious. They depart on a full stomach, yet feeling
somehow lighter, having shed a little bit of ego.
Though sacred, langar feels joyful and communal.
Balanced. Rejuvenating. A reminder that we’re all
navigating this world together.
So it was a dream-come-true for organizers of the
2015 Parliament when the langar tradition was
brought back by a multitude of enthusiastic Sikhs,
who dedicated a year of planning to coordinate
with the leadership of UK-based Guru Nanak
Nishkam Sewak Jatha, international volunteers, Salt
Lake City’s local gurdwara, and Parliament Board
Trustee Manohar Singh Grewal.
At the Barcelona Parliament a decade earlier, Sikhs
fed thousands, including both convention attendees
and walk-ins from the street. What an inspirational
experience to see global members of the interfaith
movement and the local community alike, entering
the sacred langar space lured in by the sounds and
aromas, removing their shoes, covering their heads
and taking their place on the oor, all seated in
rows, all humans equal.
At the rst U.S. Parliament in over twenty years -
especially during a time when members of the Sikh
community are experiencing rising xenophobia
and bias-motivated violence (including beatings,
murders and mass killings) - langar beautifully
united Sikhs and their neighbors in this heart-
centered act of faith.
The langar at the Salt Lake City Parliament
served unlimited helpings of healthy,
satisfying, and scrumptious vegetarian
food to upwards of 7000 people every day.
Over 1000 volunteers took on cooking
and ladling out delicious Indian fare,
prepared in Utah’s main gurdwara and the
Salt Palace. By the end, volunteer shifts
exceeded 300.
While local volunteers representing many faith
traditions jumped in to help with Langar, some of
the Sikh volunteers traveled from across the globe
to contribute. There were 60 volunteers from the
United Kingdom alone!
At the end of each day’s langar service, meals were
donated to the homeless of Salt Lake City, ensuring
that the Parliaments message of religious harmony
and service to all would reach those in the most
need.
The effort cost at least $100,000 according to
Jagdish Gill, a Sikh Utahn who serves as Vice
Chairman for this gathering’s langar.
The Salt Lake Parliament langar also won the hearts
of global media who often entered the hall to cover
the action, hear from the international attendees,
and eat. The Salt Lake Tribune reported,
Diners sit in lines on the oor and are served by
volunteers — people of all faiths — who walk up and
The Legacy of Langar
58 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
down the aisles dishing out
rice, yogurt, chickpeas, pasta
and fruit in large tin buckets.
They provide water to drink.
“Everyone sits on the oor,
Gill says, “to show that there
are no differences among us.
No caste, no rich or poor. We
are all equal human beings.
In addition to langar, food
pop-ups within the Salt
Palace took on careful menu
planning to ensure that dietary
offerings would span the
spiritual spectrum and satisfy
needs like Halal, Kosher, and
vegan preferences.
With the gratitude came a bit
of competition, too, as dozens
of faith leaders left wondering
what their tradition could
uniquely offer to match the
incredible magic of langar in
Parliaments to come.
There will be many breads to
break.
59
Honorees
of the 2015
parliament
Faith Against Hate Award:
for an exceptional contribution to countering hate within the
global community
In the wake of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting
on August 5th, 2012, Serve 2 Unite emerged in a spirit
of deance. The hate behind the murders was met with
an ongoing practice of fearless, creative, compassion.
Rooted in the principles of service to others, and
relentless optimism in the face of adversity, Serve 2 Unite
today engages young people of all backgrounds to value
humanity and the aspiration of living a genuine, honest
life as a peacemaker. Accepted by Pardeep Kaleka, Rahul
Dubey, and Arno Michaelis.
Outstanding Journalist Award:
Recognizing distinguished and outstanding contributions to justice and peace through journalism
Patrice O’Neill is a lmmaker, journalist and leader
of Not In Our Town, a community-based movement
of people working to stop hate together. She has
produced the successful Not In Our Town national
series on PBS and led a multi-platform approach that
utilizes documentary lm, social networking, outreach
and organizing efforts to encourage dialogue and
community action. The series began as a half-hour
PBS special and turned into a dynamic movement that
continues to thrive in communities across the U.S. and
around the world.
Honoree
Honoree
Serve2Unite Receives Parliament
Faith Against Hate Award
Patrice O’Neill Receives Parliament
Outstanding Journalist Award
60 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Ahimsa Award
For an exceptional contribution that enhances and strengthens
the interfaith community through non-violence, sponsored by
Jain communities around the world
Charter for Compassion was created by Karen
Armstrong and the Council of Conscience in 2009, and
inherits a conuence of contributions made by TED.
com, the Compassionate Action Network, the Fetzer
Institute, and many others. Charter for Compassion
International provides an umbrella for people to engage
in collaborative partnerships worldwide. The Charter
mission is to bring to life the principles articulated in
the Charter for Compassion through concrete, practical
action in a myriad of sectors. Accepted by the Rev. Dr.
Joan Brown Campbell.
Golden Rule Award
For exceptional contributions promoting the “Golden Rule”
Dr. Paul Eppinger graduated from William Jewell
College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and San
Francisco Theological Seminary. He served as a
missionary in Japan, and the pastor of four different
American Baptist Churches. He was the Statewide
Director of the “Victory Together” campaign in 1992 to
establish an AZ Martin Luther King holiday. From 1993
– 2002, he was the Executive Director of the Arizona
Ecumenical Council until he became the Executive
Director of the Arizona Interfaith Movement in 2002.
Honoree
Honoree
Ahimsa Award is Presented to
Charter for Compassion by Holy
Jain Monk at 2015 Parliament
Dr. Paul Eppinger Receives
Parliament Golden Rule Award
61
Cultivation of Harmony Award
recognizing organizations for their outstanding contribution to
interfaith community
Dr. Zarni is a Burmese scholar and activist in exile. He
is a non-resident scholar with the Sluek Rith Institute in
Cambodia, a world renowned genocide documentation
center. He has held visiting research fellowships at
Harvard University, Oxford University, London School
of Economics, University of Malaya and Chulalongkorn
University, He is widely recognized as an outspoken
public intellectual on the issues of Rohingya genocide,
democratization, anti-Muslim racism, human rights and
minority rights.
Paul Carus Award
for outstanding work in the international interreligious
movement
Dr. Karen Armstrong is a British author and
commentator, as well as a former Roman Catholic nun.
A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism,
Christianity and Islam was published in 1993, followed
by a series of books exploring major religions,
compassion and the history of sectarian violence. In
2008, Armstrong was awarded the Ted Prize to launch
the Charter for Compassion, a global campaign to
activate compassion at the center of our lives and
social institutions through collaborative partnerships
worldwide.
Honoree
Honoree
Cultivation of Harmony Award - Dr.
Zarni
Karen Armstrong Receives Paul
Carus Award & Addresses the 2015
Parliament
62 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
63
An ambitious “To-Do” list
opened the commissioning
of the 2015 Parliament of the
World’s Religions, recited by the
evening’s emcee, Rabbi Rachel
Mikva, a Parliament Trustee,
Professor of Jewish Studies and
Director for Christian Jewish and
Islamic Studies at the Chicago
Theological Seminary. She invited
all to join her in the work to:
1. Bring an end to andro-centrism,
patriarchy and oppression of women
2. End extreme poverty by 2030
3. Cultivate cultures of nonviolence
4. Manage the paradigm shift into the
way we relate to the earth and all that
exists in it and on it
5. Bring a little peace, love, joy and
truth to the universe
She related her Parliament
experience to Yom Kippur,
the day of atonement when
Jewish people spend a day
in a synagogue working on
“becoming the human beings
we were created to be, and
developing an amazing sense of
solidarity with those who have
been on the journey with us over
these past days.
And though a jubilant end to a
Parliament, the last words were
also sobering.
John Dayal, an Indian Christian
activist working for the justice
for the “untouchables” of India,
expressed gratitude for the
Parliament, asking that in the
future, the platform widen ever-
further to give greater visibility
to those most marred by the
injustices of our world.
His call to action was joined by
the powerfully charged reminders
of the Imam from Texas, Omar
Suleiman, who asked all to
remember that extremists are
not religious actors, and that
allowing hate to go unchecked
within religious congregations
devalues the traditions that are
helping to shape up and coming
generations in an increasingly
materialistic and secular world.
Abdul Malik Mujahid celebrated
that the majority of speakers
on the plenary stages and
throughout programs were
women, and honored three
women in particular as the
Parliaments guardian angels
during the global recession:
Dr. Mary Nelson, the Parliament
board Vice-Chair who stepped
in with 6 honorary PhDs and
four decades experience as a
community development leader
to serve as Executive Director
for the Parliament organization.
She led it out out of dire nancial
straits and into an era of new
possibilities. Next, the Rev. Phyllis
Curott, who served as the next
Parliament Board Vice-Chair
and championed the Women’s
Assembly, and nally Suzanne
Morgan, the Parliaments Sacred
Space Ambassador whose talents
helped to curate the Parliament’s
most sacred space yet. Morgan,
a signicant contributor, said
that the Parliament was the best
investment of her life.
She smiled to the audience
saying “You are the return on my
investment.
And with that, more than 10,000
people departed for home, tired,
but exhilarated by the challenges
spelled out in their commitment
books, now ever-more active
members of a global interfaith
movement.
With the announcement of a
Parliament to be held every other
year, the clock ticking on the the
Global Goals for Sustainable
Development, and preparation to
act, people of faith found the best
in themselves and one another.
The heart of humanity, reclaimed.
Closing Ceremony
64 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
the final speakers of the 2015 parliament
Bhai Mohinder Singh
Delivers Parliament
Keynote Address
Departing Chair of the Board Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid commended the gathering hailing his
successor in the announcement of Dr. Robert Sellers as incoming Chair of the Parliament Board of
Trustees beginning in 2016. Dr. Sellers proclaimed:
“Let us pledge to live responsibly, interact
respectfully, cooperate regularly, and love
radically in order to demonstrate that people
of multiple spiritual paths can indeed live as
neighbors, can link our lives to address the
common problems that confront the human
family. And when we do, it will surely make a
dierence to our individual worlds, and to the
earth we share.”
‘Til We Meet Again
The Parliament invites the world to add their own experience to the more than 10,359 stories
of the Parliament, each uniquely captured in the memories, social media feeds, news articles,
books in creation now, and those to be written.
These stories continue in the homes, faith houses, communities of those who went into
a post-Parliament reality ready to work with compassion for more peace, justice and
sustainability.
Watch the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions at ParliamentOfReligions.org
Indian Activist Dr. John
Dayal Stands Up for
Marginalized Peoples
at Closing of 2015
Parliament
H H Pujya Swami
Chidanand Saraswatiji
Shaykh Omar Suleiman
Delivers Parliament
Closing Keynote
Address
Dr. Robert Sellers Addresses the 2015
Parliament of the World’s Religions
65
With unparalleled natural beauty, convenient
transportation, and remarkable hospitality, Salt
Lake City was the perfect host city for the 2015
Parliament of the World’s Religions. Salt Lake City
offers a one-of-a-kind combination of metro and
mountain - an urban oasis with a breathtaking alpine
backyard. The Salt Lake City International Airport
is consistently ranked #1 for on-time arrivals and
departures, according to Travel and Leisure. Having
hosted the hugely successful 2002 Winter Olympics,
Salt Lake City is logistically situated to welcome the
world, making it a top destination for tourism and
conventions. The Salt Palace Convention Center
is among the nation’s newest, largest, and most
technologically advanced convention centers. With
6,006 rooftop solar panels, the LEED Certied Salt
Palace generates enough electricity to power 228
homes each year. With nearly 700,000 square feet,
the Salt Palace masterfully welcomed the Parliament
of the World’s Religions in a visually stunning,
environmentally responsible setting.
But what really served to make the 2015 Parliament
the most successful in our history was the
unwavering support of the people of Salt Lake
City. Home to a dynamic interfaith community, the
diversity of Salt Lake City was well represented
in the local working group without whose tireless
efforts, the 2015 Parliament would not have been
possible. The Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable, the
Parliament Welcoming Committee, the Governors
ofce, the mayors of Salt Lake City and Salt Lake
County, the state legislature, and the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints all played a crucial
role in creating a perfect atmosphere for this
inspiring event. Hundreds of volunteers worked
practically around the clock to meet the needs of
over 10,000 participants.
A special thanks goes out to staff of Visit Salt Lake
and the Salt Palace Convention Center, whose
support made all the difference.
The Parliaments vision of a just, peaceful, and
sustainable world is lived out in Salt Lake City in
the powerful work that goes on in the community.
Much of this work was showcased in Parliament
programs and workshops, from cutting edge
solutions to homelessness, to religious freedom,
to the vast humanitarian efforts of the LDS Church.
The Parliament was even able to serve as Salt Lake
City’s introduction to the Compassionate Cities
Campaign. The Parliament simply could not have
had better partners than the people of Salt Lake
City, and we are truly grateful.
Thanking Our Hosts
Salt Lake City Working Group
Led by Susan Soleil
Sub-Committees of the Working Group:
Emerging Leaders/Youth
Brian Birch, Chair
Indigenous Working Committee
Lacee Harris and Cassandra Bia, Co-Chairs
Arts Committee
Bonnie Phillips and Katherine Hawkins, Co-Chairs
Film Committee
Angie Fenimore and Bridget Cook, Co-Chairs
Sacred Music Night Committee
Alan Bachman, Chair
Faith Spaces Committee
Josie Stone and Jan Saeed, Co-Chairs
Housing and Home Stay Coordinators
Dave Robinson and Dan Merkeley, My Host Housing
Local Development Committee
Dave Robinson
Media and Marketing Committee
Luna Banuri, Lauri Neal, Noor Ul-Hasan, Co-Chairs
Sustainability Committee
Daniel Pacheco. Utah Chapter of the U.S. Building
Green Council
66 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
67
Board Emeriti
Dr. Ghulam -Haider Aasi
Dr. Akbar Ahmed
Mrs. Mazher Ahmed
Mr. Syed Ahmed
Mrs. Joyce Allen
Fr. Thomas Baima
Ms. Omie Baldwin
Dr. Gerald Barney
Dr. Arthur Brazier
H. H. Ma Jaya Bhagavati
Ms. Anju Bhargava
Dr. Nelvia Brady
Dr. David Breed
Rev. Bliss Browne
Rabbi Herbert Bronstein
Rev. John M. Buchanan
Rev. Angela Buchanan
Dr. George Cairns
Rev. Dr. Joan Campbell
Dr. Jeffrey Carlson
Mr. M. Blouke Carus
Mr. Nemu Chandaria
Ms. Sandya R. Dandamudi
Dr. Yvonne Delk
Sr. Pratima Desai
Sr. Margaret Diener
Rev. Clay Evans
Rev. Leon D. Finnery, Jr.
Mr. Wilbert Forker
Dr. Arun Gandhi
Dr. Rashmikant Gardi
Ms. Maria Svolos Gebhard
Mr. Douglas George-Kanentiio
Mr. William A. Gifford, Jr.
Dr. Daniel Gomez -Ibanez
Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord
Mr. Mohammed Abdul Hai
Dr. Hamid Hai
Dr. Balwant Singh Hansra
Dr. Ray Hart
Ms. Asayo Horibe
Dr. Dwight N. Hopkins
Dr. Asad Husain
Mr. Naresh Jain
Mr. Preminder Nath Jain (Bawa)
Mrs. Ginny K. Jolly
Dr. Lansine Kaba
The Very Rev. Demitri Kantzavelos
Dr. Solomon Katz
Mr. Jim Kenney
Dr. Irfan Ahmad Khan
Mr. Ron Kidd - Chair Emeritus
Ms. Audrey Kitagawa
Rabbi Peter Knobel
Ven. Bhante Kondanna
Mr. Pasupuleti Krishnayya
Mr. Prem T. Lalvani
Mr. Roy Larson
Ms. Judith Lawrence
Dr. Leo D. Lefebure
Rev. Dr. William Lesher
- Chair Emeritus
Fr. Andrew Luczak
Dr. Richard Luecke
Most Rev. Timothy Lyne
Mr. Stephen Mack
Mr. Rajinder Mago
Mr. Amrish Mahajan
Dr. Dennis McCann
Sr. Joan McGuire
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
The Very Rev. James Parks
Morton
Mr. & Mrs. F. Byron Nahser
Dr. James Nelson
Dr. Mary Nelson
Mr. Charles Nolley - Chair
Emeritus
Mr. Mark Nordenberg
Ms. Carolyn H. Oehler
Rev. Ellen Grace O’Brian
Rev. Koshin Ogui
Imam Rashied Omar
Ms. Aurie Pennick
Rabbi Hayim Purelmuter
Dr. Stephen Perkins
Mr. Christopher Peters
Dr. Pharmaha Chuen Phangcham
Dr. Hemlata Pokharna
Rev. Donald Postema
Dr. Joseph Prabhu
Rev. Dr. David Ramage
- Chair Emeritus
Dr. Biswamay Ray
Dr. Anantanand Rambachan
Dr. Krishna Reddy
Dr. Elizabeth Reneker
Mr. Robert Reneker
Mr. Rohinton Rivetna
Mr. John Roadhouse
Most Rev. Placido Rodriguez
2015 Board of Trustees
Imam A. Malik Mujahid - Chair
Rev. Andras Corban Arthen
Rabbi Michael Balinsky
Dr. Anne Benvenuti
Mr. Brian Birch
Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia
Mr. Lewis Cardinal
Dr. Lawrence Carter
Rev. Phyllis W. Curott, J.D.
Mr. Kirit C. Daftary
Dr. Rahul Deepankar
Dr. Paul Eppinger
Dr. Gianfranco Grande
Dr. Larry Greeneld
Dr. Manohar Singh Grewal
Imam Khalid Griggs
Mrs. S. Janaan Hashim, J.D.
Dr. Robert C. Henderson
Mr. Thomas Lemberg
Rabbi David Levinsky
Rabbi Rachel Mikva
Dr. John Pawlikowski
Dr. Kusumita Pedersen
Dr. Shanta Premawardhana
Dr. Robert P. Sellers
Rev. Donald Senior, C.P.
Dr. Mohammad Ahmadullah
Siddiqi
Mr. Kuldeep Singh
Swami Varadananda
Ms. Crystal McCormick
Acknowledgments
68 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Mr. Theodore Rojahn
Rabbi Brant Rosen
Abbot Leo Ryska
Swami Sarveshananda
Rabbi Herman Schaalman
Ms. Kathe Schaaf
Ms. Kathleen Magill Schuler
Mr. Manish Shah
Mrs. Smita Shah
Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry
Ms. Leilani Smith
Mrs. Helen Spector
Rev. Charles Spivey
Ms. Joyce Strombeck
Mr. Robert Stuart
Dr. Howard Sulkin - Chair
Emeritus
Ms. Jeanne M. Sullivan
Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Syeed
Ms. Sharon Taylor
Br. Wayne Teasdale
Sir John Templeton
Dr. Linda Thomas
Rev. Dr. Margaret Orr Thomas
Rev. Robert Thompson
- Chair Emeritus
Mr. Devendra Trivedi
Dr. Donald Wagner
Dr. James Waits
Dr. Georgene Wilson
Ms. Yael Wurmfeld
Rev. Addie Wyatt
Mr. James Yellowbank
Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf
Program Committee
Dr. Mohammad A Siddiqi - Chair
Rabbi Michael Balinsky
Dr. Anne Benvenuti
Dr. Arun Gandhi
Dr. Suzanne Morgan
Dr. Mary Nelson
Dr. Shanta Premawardhana
Dr. Robert Sellers
Sub-Committees
Faith Groups
Baha’ism
Dr. Bob Henderson - Chair
Buddhism
Dr. Jack Korneld - Chair
Christianity
Dr. Larry Greeneld - Chair
Dr. Leo Lefebure
Dr. Paul Knitter
Dr. Joan McGuire
Dr. Robert P. Sellers
Dr. Donald Senior
Hinduism
Dr. Kusumita Pedersen - Chair
Dr. Arun Gandhi
Swami Varadananda
Jainism
Mr. Kirit Daftary - Chair
Judaism
Rabbi Michael Balinsky - Chair
Dr. Howard Sulkin
Islam
Dr. Ataullah Siddiqui - Chair
Dr. Aslam Abdullah
Imam Khalid Griggs
Sister Tabassum Haleem
Sister Janaan Hashim
Paganism
Rev. Angie Buchanan - Chair
Rev. Andras Corban Arthen
Mrs. Deirdre Pulgram Arthen
Sikhism
Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia - Chair
Mr. Manohar Singh Grewal
Dr. Kuldeep Singh
Other Faiths
& Spiritual Traditions
Dr. Mohammad Siddiqi - Chair
Critical Issues
War, Violence & Hate Speech
Imam Malik Mujahid - Chair
Dr. Larry Greeneld
Rev. Paul Eppinger
Climate Change
& Care for the Earth
Dr. Anne Benvenuti - Chair
Dr. Kusumita Pedersen
Ms. Karenna Gore
Sister Khadeeja Abdullah
Poverty, Hunger
& the Widening Wealth Gap
Dr. Shanta Premawardhana
- Chair
Dr. Gianfranco Grande
Dr. Thomas Lemberg
Critical Constituencies
Women
Phyllis Curott - Chair
Janaan Hashim
Crystal McCormick
Emerging Leaders
Brian Birch - Chair
Ellie Anders
Jem Jebbia
Joe Morrow
Indigenous Peoples
Dr. Lewis Cardinal - Chair
Dr. Mary Nelson
Other Important Areas of Interest
Sacred Space
Dr. Suzanne Morgan - Chair
Ms. Elizabeth Nickerson
Arts & Performances
Professor Amanda Lower - Chair
Multidisciplinary Issues
Dr. John Pawlikowski - Chair
Dr. Lawrence Carter
Dr. Mohammad Siddiqi
Panels, Workshops
Dr. Rob Sellers - Chair
Dr. Mohammad Siddiqi
Plenaries, Keynotes
& Major Speakers
Imam Malik Mujahid - Chair
Dr. Larry Greeneld
Dr. Mary Nelson
Dr. Mohammad Siddiqi
69
Salt Lake City Local
Chris Pieper - Chair
Ellie Anders
Susan Soleil
Stephen Trimble
Religious Observances
Mohammad Siddiqi - Chair
Dr. Mary Nelson - Co-Chair
Program Staff
Stephen Avino
Chelsea Canada
Clara Carrigan
Amali Dabarera
Molly Horan
Donna Lake
Sara Rahim
Austin Sisson
Chicago Staff
Leadership Team
Rev. Dr. Larry Greeneld
Executive Director
Mary Nelson
Executive Consultant
Stephen Avino
Ofce and Data Manager
Molly Horan
Director of Communications
Brian Savage
Development and Logistics
Manager
Tracy Nicholas
Production Manager
Parliament Team
Lindsay Bartolini
Rayna Burke
Chelsea Canada
Amali Dabarera
Michael Donahue
Deborah Holstein
Naa Khan
Mendel Kranz
Amanda Lower
Miriam Quezada Mendez
Mary Newhauser
Haley St. Paul
Sara Rahim
Rangie Sin
Austin Sisson
Daniel Wolff
Daniel Hostetler
Volunteers
Howard Sulkin
Frank Imhoff
Ted Miller
Interns
KC Hooker
Japaris Key
Jacob Smyth
Christian Van Dyke
Women’s Task Force
Phyllis Curott - Chair, & Vice Chair
Janaan Hashim - Esq.
Molly Horan
- Communication Director
Crystal McCormick
Miriam Quezada - Assistant
Haley St. Paul - Assistant
Emerging Leaders Task Force
Crystal McCormick - Chair
Rob Sellers - Co-Chair
Isobel Arthen
Donovan Arthen
Brian Birch
Josh Lipman
Mary Nelson
Mary Newhauser
Sara Rahim
Process Committee
Mary Nelson - Chair
Kay Lindahl
Kathe Schaaf
Indigenous Task Force
Lewis Cardinal - Chair
Wande Abimbola
Andras Arthen
Lacee Harvis
Sandor Iron Rope
Douglas George Kaneutilo
Betty Lyons
Michelle Lynn McElwaine
Mary Nelson
Acknowledgments
70 | ParliamentOfReligions.org
Kusumita Pedersen
Rajvir Singh
Arnold Thomas
United Nations Task Force
Kusumita Pedersen - Chair
Aisha al -Adawiya
Anne Benvenuti
Naresh Jain
Kay Lindahl
Malik Mujahid
John Pawlikowski
Educating Religious Leaders
John Pawlikowski - Chair
Malik Mujahid
Mary Nelson
Shanta Premawardhana
Sara Rahim
Robert Sellers
Kuldeep Singh
Sacred Spaces
Suzanne Morgan - Chair
Phyllis Curott
Gianfranco Grande
Kathy Dale McNair
Malik Mujahid
Hema Pokharna
Peter Rubnitz
Salt Lake City Team
Susan Soleil - Local Coordinator
Geoff Doiron - Volunteer
Coordinator
Luna Banuri - Executive Team
Rebecca Bateman - Executive
Team
Katherine Hawkins - Executive
Team
Lauri Neal - Executive Team
Welcoming Committee
Key leaders in Salt Lake City
offered their expertise to the
Parliament by serving on the
Welcoming Committee. Thanks to
them for their ideas, connections
and leadership!
Co- Chair:
Mayor Ben McAdams
& Julie McAdams
Co -Chair:
Karen Hale & Jon Hale
Consultant:
Pamela Atkinson
Nathan & Laurel Alder
Patrice Arent
Cynthia Buckingham
Forrest and Shauna Cuch
Pastor France Davis
Zeke Dumke III & Angela Dumke
Spencer P. Eccles, Jr. & Kristine
Eccles
Natalie Gochnour
Val Hale
Rev. Jerry & Carmela Hirano
Matthew Holland
Rev. Fr. Elias and Ellen Koucos
Norma Matheson
M. Scott and Lisa Hanson
Mietchen
Gail Miller and Kim Wilson
Dinesh Patel
Jan & Shahab Saeed
Mayor Joann Seghini
Josie Stone
Jerry Summerhays
Rev. Patty Willis & Mary Lou Prince
Randon & Gayle Wilson
W. Richards & Rebecca Woodbury
Sponsors of the 2015 Parliament
DINESH AND KALPANA
PATEL FOUNDATION
71
© 2015 Parliament of the Worlds Religions
© 2015 Parliament of the Worlds Religions
72 | ParliamentOfReligions.org