Parliament of World Religions stresses world peace


By Matters India Reporter

Toronto, Nov. 8, 2018: There is a greater need to make the world more sustainable, peaceful and loving, says an Indian participant of the seventh Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada.

“The Parliament of World’s Religions ended after an amazing experience of spiritual power that radiated among more than 7,500 people from 80 countries,” Sister Cynthia Anna Mathew, a human rights activist, told Matters India on November 7.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions, an international interfaith conference, took place November 1–7.

The real challenge for the participants is to take the experience from the parliament to “our countries, communities and act to make this world more sustainable, peaceful and loving,” says Sister Mathew, a member of the Congregation of Jesus who had earlier worked in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

For its 2018 theme, the parliament drew from movements of goodwill and cross-cultural respect embodied in the spirit of the interfaith movement: “The Promise of Inclusion, the Power of Love: Pursuing Global Understanding, Reconciliation, and Change.”

Among several key speakers was the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun Gandhi, who has built his life’s work around the pursuit of understanding, service to others, and nonviolence.

Speaking on “Peace and Love, Not War, Hate and Violence Assembly,” he recalled the vision of the parliament: the dignity of people belonging to diverse faith and spiritual traditions must be respected and celebrated in the pursuit of common goal of a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.

The parliament had six major tracks: The women’s track: the dignity of women across the world’s wisdom traditions; countering war, hate and violence track: peace and love: not war, hate and violence; climate action track: care for our earth, responsibility for our future; the indigenous peoples’ track: the spiritual evolution of humanity and healing our mother earth; the next generations track: interfaith has no age, youth voices for change; justice: advancing concrete change toward a just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

The international event had more than 500 programs and workshops, as well as music, dance, art and photography exhibitions, presented by the world’s religious communities and cultural institutions.

Since the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, modern parliaments have attracted participants from more than 200 diverse religious, indigenous, and secular beliefs and more than 80 nations to its international gatherings. The parliament events are the world’s oldest, largest, and most inclusive gatherings of the global interfaith movement.

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.

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