Theme “Healing a Polarized World”
Event: Our world is becoming increasingly polarized. May it be politically, religiously, economically, or socially. This is resulting in lack of empathy, intolerance, hatred, conflicts and even wars! This could quickly escalate into a global war and major catastrophe which could be devastating for humanity. How can we heal our polarized world?
Around 800 delegates including academia, representatives from local, provincial, and national governments as well as associates of various faith organizations are expected to gather for Canada’s largest and longest running multi-faith conference – 41st World Religions Conference (WRC).
The conference is organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada with the partnership of many others. It aims to explore the teachings and practices of different religious and philosophical traditions, with the hope that such mutual exploration will encourage better understanding and promote harmonious coexistence among the members of the society.
The event will be moderated by MP Mike Morris of Kitchener. Scholars representing Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous spirituality, and Humanism will present their perspectives. and participate in a Q/A session from the audience. Faith groups will present recitations from their Holy Scriptures and set up displays.
Local, provincial and national leaders are expected to bring greetings of Canada’s virtues of multiculturalism, tolerance, acceptance of diverse faiths and humanity being above all at the opening ceremony of the conference. Following is a brief description of the moderator and speakers lineup from different faith and philosophical traditions:
Moderator: Mike Morrice (MP) - Kitchener
MP for Kitchener Centre. Spent his career bringing people together with a proven record of introducing ambitious ideas. Founder of Sustainable Waterloo Region, Climate Action WR, and Canada’s first Green Economy Hub. Named Young Alumnus of the Year by Laurier.
Representing Buddhism: Ven. Kalubowila Ananda – Cambridge
A profound thinker, Explored meditation and philosophy under the guidance of various Buddhist monks and Vedic scholars. Currently, he serves as a resident monk and a director at the Waterloo Wellington Buddhist Monastery.
Representing Islam: Imam Aizaz Khan – Vaughan
Prolific speaker and a learned scholar of Islam. Imam of Baitul Islam Mosque, one of the largest mosques in North America located in Vaughan. Frequently appears in interfaith discussion and events across Canada.
Representing Sikhism: Prof. Komal Kaur – Cambridge
Spiritually attuned and culturally curious explorer. Prof. Kaur is committed to bridging cultures and communities through education. Enjoys serving the local Sikh community and singing hymns from the Sikh Scriptures.
Representing Judaism: Dr. Karen Mock - Toronto
Engaging speaker, Human Rights Consultant and educational psychologist, Karen was the Executive Director, Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith. Active with Canadian Assoc. of Jews and Muslims and Arab Jewish Dialogue.
Representing Christianity: Dr. John Milloy - Conestoga
Accomplished writer and scholar, John is the Director of the Centre for Public Ethics at Martin Luther University College. Former Ontario Cabinet Minister. A frequent commentator on Christianity and politics, particularly in our divided nation.
Representing Hinduism: Chander Khanna – Toronto
Scholar on Hinduism, Chander is the VP of the Hindu Institute of Learning. Serves on the Spiritual Committee of the Associations of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies. Convener of the Sanskrit Vidya Parishad Lectures. Given keynote addresses on Eastern Philosophical traditions and has participated in symposiums in several countries.
Representing Indigenous Faiths: Prof. Malcolm Saulis - Ottawa
A Well-famed Traditional Aboriginal Spiritual Teacher and Speaker. Malcolm is a Wolostoquk (Maliseet) person from the Tarique First Nation. Has worked with churches and government around issues of healing and reconciliation, restorative justice, residential school survivors and indigenization.
Representing Humanism (Atheist & Agnostics): Katherine Dimou - Waterloo
Dedicated to Humanist principles and social justice. Katherine's work is reflected in her work as a licensed Humanist Officiant. President of the Society of Freethinkers, and as a past Humanist Canada Board Director.
Admission for the general public to the event is free, which includes parking, refreshments and dinner, however seating is limited. The entire conference will also be streamed live at the conference website.
When: Sunday, November 26, 2023 from 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Where: Prestigious Lazaridis Auditorium, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario