Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
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2009 Parliament

Monday, 7th December

3 Dec
4 Dec
5 Dec
6 Dec
7 Dec
8 Dec
9 Dec

Each day of the Parliament will include over 100 programs, including observances, performances, films, plenary sessions and more; we hope you enjoy this brief preview.

Programming for Monday, 7th December will include:

Geraldine Doogue

National ABC TV Live Recording ‘Compass’ Program:

"Creating Social Cohesion in Village and City"

Michael Melchior, Dr Suhair Hassan Al-Qurashi, Rev Tim Costello, Katherine Marshall, Anthony Padovano and Melissa Brickell

11:30am - 1:00pm, Plenary Hall.  As debate rages over how we should deal with refugees we will be asking:  "How can we live together in a pluralistic society?",  "How should we deal with refugees?", and, "How do we maintain social cohesion amid large movements of people with different belief systems?"   The best will be tabled by Geraldine Doogue. This ABC TV program invites people to submit questions to the panelists via their website,

Convening Education Session: Schooling, Young People and Social Exclusion

Captain Genevieve Peterson, Salvation Army ; Maria Minto-Cahill, Catholic Education Office, Melbourne; Dr Helen Butler, Australian Catholic University

Serving the educational and other needs of students from disadvantaged communities requires sophisticated policy responses from both government and non-government schools. The Salvation Army has experience with students who must deal with homelessness, addiction, unemployment, incarceration, single parenthood and sustained poverty. In this seminar, they will connect with the program response of Melbourne’s Catholic Education Office which has developed a graduate teachers' diploma focusing on Student Well-Being in Inclusive Schooling. Leaders and graduates of this program will give an account of their efforts to address the underlying poverty and justice issues

Sustainable Way of Life Through Shumei Natural Agriculture

Shumei International

Shumei International promotes an approach to agriculture that respects and learns from nature. This program will present case studies from Zambia and the Philippines to show how natural agricultural methods reconnect people to the land, while promoting community development and food independence.

Spiritual Practice, The Inner Search

Petrea King, The Quest for Life Foundation

At the heart of every religion lies the concept of stillness whether accessed through prayer, chanting, movement, meditation, ritual, contemplation or other spiritual practice. The instrument of the human body is designed for communion with the Divine by whatever name we may call it. This session will provide the opportunity to understand and experiment with the practice of stillness.

Strangers Becoming Neighbors: Local Interfaith Responses to Interdependence

James DeLange, San Francisco Interfaith Council; Janet Bregar, Village Church in Los Angeles; Rabbi Miriam Hamrell, Ahavat Torah Temple in Los Angeles; Noormalika Chishti, Musallah Tauhid; Rev. Samir Selmanovic, Faith House Manhattan; Carla Mae Streeter, OP, Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls of Greater Metropolitan Saint Louis; Dr. David Oughton, Interfaith Partnership/Faith Beyond Walls of Greater Metropolitan Saint Louis; Paul Strickland, Center for Religious Inquiry; Donald Reid, Edinburgh Festival of Spirituality and Peace; Victor Spence, Edinburgh Festival of Spirituality and Peace

This panel will tell six stories that provide models and lessons learned for interfaith understanding and social cohesion in our communities. Panelists will relate their experiences of creating safe spaces to encounter one another, working side-by-side to build hospitable and safe communities for all, while learning how to honor dignity and humanity. They will also share how, in doing so, they have all been changed.

Conflict Transformation and Peace Building: WCRP Workshop

Dr. Bill Vendley, Secretary-General Religions for Peace, NY; Stein Villumstad, Religions for Peace; Ms. Jaqueline Ogega is the Director of the Women’s Program at the World Conference of Religions for Peace

This Religions for Peace workshop on conflict transformation and peace building will highlight the power of multi-religious cooperation in conflict transformation and share best practices and success stories. Participants will gain a clear understanding of multi-religious approaches to conflict transformation and have an opportunity to share their experiences and contribute to an exchange of ideas to increase awareness of and commitment to multi-religious action to end violent conflict.

Returning to Right Relations between Christians and Indigenous Peoples in North America and Australia as a powerful source of learning

James Scott, United Church of Canada; Denise Davis Taylor, United Church of Canada; Michael Lowe, Initiatives of Change; John Bond, Initiatives of Change; Barbara Pemberton, Ouachita Baptist University

Through efforts to rebuild right relations with Indigenous and Aboriginal peoples, Christian individuals and institutions have experienced an education about their own spiritual values. This panel presents four stories from North America and Australia of those who have committed themselves to this process of reconciliation.

Knowing Home – A Presentation of Indigenous Spirituality

Vicki Walker, Mutthi Mutthi woman, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Melbourne

Vicki Walker a Mutthi Mutthi woman living in the urban setting of Melbourne, is inextricably linked to her country of Mungo National Park, located in South Western NSW. By sharing of part of her journey she invites attendees to enter into her personal world in a way that is a rare gift. Vicki will show a DVD andd give a presentation that discusses the issues of Identity, Belonging, Spirituality and the need for Healing among Indigenous peoples. She will create an emotive and extremely effective tool that promotes understanding of Australian Indigenous spirituality and raises issues of social justice for Indigenous peoples in Australian society.

Does the Media Have Faith? – Youth Session

Barney Zwartz, Religion Editor, The Age; Nazeem Hussain, comedian; Nasya Bahfen, Lecturer in Radio Journalism, RMIT; Dr Anna Halafoff; Monash University; Rabbi Ralph Genende, Caulfield Hebrew Congregation; Erin Williams; Media Coordinator, Interfaith Youth Core

Jewish Rabbis arrested in a corruption scandal. Catholic priests embroiled in abuse allegations. Terrorists blowing up buildings in the name of Islam. It’s fair to say that religion does not get a good rap in the media. Come hear journalists, young religious people in the public sphere, and religious leaders discuss changing the media’s perception – and who must take the first step.


Evening Plenary:

Youth Plenary

Will showcase the work being done by young people around the world in tackling global issues and using creative mediums to effect change.


Observances will include:

Sri Swami Mayatitananda
(Mother Maya)

Living Ahimsa Meditation with Mother Maya

Sri Swami Mayatitananda (Mother Maya)

A Living Ahimsa Meditation observance will be led by Sri Swami Mayatitananda (Mother Maya). She is a renowned spiritual leader, healer, and world-class educator. An authority in Vedanta and Ayurveda, her loving presence and extraordinary work in healing devastating disease and despair has touched and transformed the lives of thousands. Through this award-winning Living Ahimsa practice, Mother guides and teaches us to cultivate harmony in our thoughts, speech and action: In other words, to fulfill a life of non-hurting and nurturance.


Performances will include:

Sacred Music of India

A Double-bill with flautist Natesan Ramani & singer Manjiri Kelkar

Dr Ramani will offer selected compositions of Carnatic (south Indian) music, followed by Manjiri who will sing selected traditional north Indian sacred music ragas, with romantic undertones. They will announce at the time what ragas they have selected, as is customary. The shared program will last for 90 minutes.


Films will include:

Beyond Beliefs – Muslims and Non-Muslims Living in Australia

Dr Pamela Ryan, Issues Deliberation Australia / America (IDA)

Riots in Sydney in 2005 signaled a deepening divide between Muslims and non-Muslims in Australia. In March 2007, some 400 Australians took over Old Parliament House in Canberra for three days to consider how to bridge this divide. This film suggests how the principles of deliberative democracy may be used to build reconciliation, understanding, and social cohesion.


This schedule is subject to change.







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