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

Sacred Sites, Sacred Solidarity

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The complete Sacred Sites, Sacred Solidarity and Teachings of the Traditions exhibits are available in pdf form (7.3M)
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Throughout the span of human history, civilisations, societies and communities have grounded their religious beliefs and practices with sacred spaces – with sites of worship, commemoration, contemplation and pilgrimage.  From shrines and sanctuaries to holy cities and sacred mountains, these sites reflect a diverse spiritual landscape of vast significance, both to the traditions that revere them and to a world concerned with preserving its precious heritage.

As globalisation sweeps across the planet and contact among diverse peoples grows, so do opportunities to target the sacred sites – both ancient and modern – of spiritual communities and traditions for misguided sectarian and political purposes.  This happens in cities large and small, and is expressed through the vandalism and desecration of places of worship and practice.  Sacred sites also face threats and challenges associated with the impact of urban, industrial and recreational development.

In response to the increasing necessity to protect these often-fragile links between the physical and the spiritual, there is a growing international interest in establishing a preservation protocol for sacred sites of religious and spiritual communities.  This symposium will bring together representatives of many diverse traditions and organisations to develop ways of talking about sacred sites and working together to protect them.  They will provide examples of solidarity and safeguarding practices, as well as inspiring interdisciplinary perspectives on how this mutual relationship between place and culture can heal, ground and nurture future generations.  These programs will feature the recent initiatives, their evolving character and the ways in which concerned individuals, groups, communities and institutions can join forces within this area of profound and universal concern to properly protect and respect the revered places of worship and practice of diverse spiritual traditions. 

Practical ways for interested parties to join with current initiatives will be discussed.  Ways to expand current efforts will be explored.  The use of websites and cutting-edge social networking vehicles to link partners together – across town and across the globe – will also be presented. 

Symposium Schedule:

Sacred Sites, Sacred Solidarity: The Time is Now
4 Dec    2:30-4:00pm    Room 106

Sacred Sites, Sacred Solidarity: Stories from the Frontlines
5 Dec    2:30-4:00pm    Room 106

Sacred Sites, Sacred Solidarity: Teachings of the Traditions
6 Dec    2:30-4:00pm    Room 106

Sacred Sites, Sacred Solidarity: Current Initiatives
7 Dec    2:30-4:00pm    Room 106

Sacred Sites, Sacred Solidarity: A Call for Collaboration
8 Dec    2:30-4:00pm    Room 219

This symposium and exhibition are presented by the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions with the thoughtful and generous support of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha.

Special thanks to the Sacred Land Film Project, the Bahá’í National Office of Australia, Plum Village of the Unified Buddhist Church, Dr. Jennie R. Joe, Rohinton Rivetna, Dr. Pallan Ichaporia, Andras Corban Arthen, Naresh Jain and Kirit Daftary for their knowledgeable assistance with this exhibition.