Parliament of the World’s Religion Report

November 28, 2015
Jennifer, Nina, Princess and Elizabeth

Most of us know that the Parliament of the World’s Religion is the oldest, the largest, and the most inclusive gathering of people of all faith and traditions. Yearly, 10,000 people from 80 nations and 50 different faiths gather together to discuss importance of peace, leadership, and spirituality at the Parliament. They reflect the cultural and spiritual diversity that marks the interfaith movement that leads to global understanding and wellbeing. The Parliament has invited in the past as plenary speakers like Nelson Mandela, President Jimmy Carter, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, Karen Armstrong, and Rabbi David Saperstein.  However, until you experience it you don’t realize what a great event it is. I was impressed how so many people with so many different backgrounds and from so many different cultures can come together and respect each other differences peacefully for the length of the conference. I realized that this happened because they all had one goal in mind - peace and respect for one another.

Langar lunchFor five days there were sessions from early morning to late evening. Sometimes it was hard to figure out which session you would like to go and see because there were just so many very interesting presentations (at least 20 sessions each hour and half). During these sessions, the monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery were creating a Mandala Sand Painting while there was Langar hosted by the Sikhs. A Langar is a free lunch that the Sikhs offered in order to ensure that all people, regardless of their dietary restrictions and religion can eat as equals. 

photo opIn addition to these sessions and events happening, there were also Plenaries. There were about a total of 8 Plenaries including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Just to name a few some of the Plenaries topics were Focus on Women, Spotlight on Emerging Leaders, Focus on War, Violence and Hate Speech, and Spotlight on Indigenous Peoples. All these Plenaries were lead by a number of spiritual leaders and well-known peace activists who were really inspirational to listen to. Plenaries were something that you didn’t want to miss. In fact, during one of the Plenaries, Princess and I took a picture with the Native American people.

As we enjoyed our time at the Parliament we also had to be prepared for our presentation on Monday. Our presentation on Youth Activism started at 8:30am on the last day of the event so we weren’t sure how many people were going to show up, but there were about 60+ people who showed interest in our topic. The presentation started with a video explaining who and what Children of the Earth is and does. Afterwards, Nina Meyerhof (President) talked about Children of the Earth’s mission of inspiring and uniting young people through personal and social transformation, to create a peaceful and sustainable world by exploring their inner life, to be socially responsible and unite in peace building. Her speech had a beautiful message. Additionally, Nina explained what inspired her to start Children of the Earth 25 years ago. After that, Princess Ukaga (Director) talked about COE and what COE has done so far all around the world. She then continued to explain that COE’s work is not about building projects but about finding our inner self and how it helps us to do various things in different parts of the world. In fact she mentioned that youth are the change markers. Then she continued to talk about her work One Peaceful Africa. Afterwards, Jimmy Lama talked about his work in Nepal and the schools that he built, especially after the recent Earthquake in Nepal. Additionally, Jimmy talked about COE’s three main tools of reflect, act, and connect. I (Elizabeth Khosravi) talked about what inspired me to start my project in India and what I have been able to do so far with the small idea that I had when I was 15 years old. Last but not least, Jennifer talked about synthesizing the vision of CEO with the stories that were presented. Then she mentioned how people can be involved in COE and COE’s future plans.

Watch the COE Presentation

The conference ended with The Board of the Parliament of the World’s Religion mentioning that they have decided that the next Parliament will be in 2017, however the location is still undecided. So we’ll wait until then to see which country will get the privilege to host it.

Written by
Elizabeth Khosravi
High School Senior

Sand Painting

Monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery creating a Mandala Sand Painting 

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