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Announcing the First Lineup of Luminaries of the 2021 Parliament

May 17, 2021

The 2021 Parliament of the World’s Religions hosted this upcoming Fall will join the ranks of historic interfaith Convenings bringing together peoples of faith and conscience around the world. As we countdown to October 17th and 18th, please remember that June 15th is the last day to take advantage of the Super Saver Registration Rate and the last day to submit a proposal on the Call for Programs.

The Parliament is excited to announce the first round of luminaries that will be addressing the 2021 Parliament of the World’s Religions in celebration of the mission of the Parliament, the historic sacredness of our movement, and the critical importance of this year’s theme.

As we prepare to come together once again, it is apropos that the founder of the Charter for Compassion would join the Parliament in celebrating the theme of “Opening Our Hearts to the World: Compassion in Action” at the 2021 Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Karen Armstrong, OBE FRSL

Karen Armstrong, OBE FRSL is the author of numerous books on religion, including A History of God, which became an international bestseller. Her other works include The Battle for God, A History of Fundamentalism; Islam; Buddha; The Great Transformation; The Case for God; Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence; as well as a memoir, The Spiral Staircase. Her most recent work, published in 2019, is The Lost Art of Scripture; Rescuing the Sacred Texts. Her books have been translated into 45 languages. She is currently working on another book entitled Sacred Nature – The Recovery of Integrity.

She has addressed members of the US Congress on three occasions and lectured to policy makers at the US State Department. In 2006, she was invited by Kofi Anan to join the High-Level Group of the new UN Alliance of Civilisations; in 2008; She was awarded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal; in 2009, she won the TED Prize and with TED founded the Charter for Compassion, which is now a global movement. From 2008- 2016, she was a Trustee of the British Museum; in 2013, she was awarded the inaugural British Academy Al-Rodhan Prize for Improving Intercultural Relations; and in 2017, she was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences.

The 2021 Parliament is historic for a number of reasons, primarily because it will be the first Parliament of the World’s Religions to be hosted virtually. The Parliament is no stranger to history; the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions was the historic birthplace of the modern interfaith movement. It was in 1893 that Swami Vivekananda, of the Ramakrishna Order, delivered a rousing keynote that highlighted the extraordinary meeting of faiths between the East and the West.

128 years since that first Parliament we gather once again, with over 100 of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions, to celebrate another historic first. It is befitting to have a preeminent Swami of the Ramakrishna Order of India join us once again.

Swami Sarvapriyananda

Swami Sarvapriyananda is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order of India, serving currently as the Minister in charge of the Vedanta Society of New York.

Though a relatively young monk of Ramakrishna Order, he has a significant presence in the world of Hinduism, mainly through the popularity of his talks on Vedanta. The Swami’s talks regularly attract hundreds of thousands of views online. His talk “Who am I?” at IIT Kanpur, a prestigious engineering college in India, alone has over 3 million views.

Swami Sarvapriyananda was appointed as Minister and Spiritual Leader of the Vedanta Society of New York, and assumed his duties here on January 6, 2017. Prior to this, he served as assistant minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern California for 13 months, beginning on December 3, 2015.

Swami joined the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in 1994 and received Sannyas in 2004. Before being posted to the VSSC’s Hollywood Temple, Swami served as an acharya (teacher) of the monastic probationers’ training center at Belur Math.

He has served the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in various capacities including being the Vice Principal of the Deoghar Vidyapith Higher Secondary School, Principal of the Shikshana Mandira Teacher Education College at Belur Math, and the first Registrar of the Vivekananda University at Belur Math.

The 1893 Parliament was historic but it was also shortsighted in its inclusiveness. No Indigenous peoples were invited to participate in the World’s Parliament of Religions. 100 years later at the 1993 Parliament, and in the decades since, the Parliament has remained committed in the acknowledgment and recognition of the sacred importance of Indigenous peoples and spiritual traditions in the global interfaith movement.

At the 2021 Parliament, we will continue to celebrate the wisdom of our Elders, the sacredness of Indigenous traditions, and the critical preservation of the world for the next generations. In keeping with these goals, we will be joined by an Indigenous Grandmother dedicated to the conservation and distribution of seeds for future generations.

Grandmother Flordemayo

Flordemayo is a Curandera Espiritu, or a healer of divine spirit. As a seer, she has the ability to see other realms of color, light, and sound. In addition, she has the ability to see the effects of existing imbalances on the physical, emotional and spiritual realms within a person’s energy system. She was born and raised in the highlands of Central America by her mother, a midwife, and in a family of Mayan healers . She travels the globe to share her healings and to foster a more spiritual understanding among humanity.

She founded The Path an organization dedicated to the conservation and preservation of heirloom and heritage seeds. She is a regular contributor of workshops to The Shift Network.

She is a founding member of the Church of the Spiritual Path, the Confederation of Indigenous Elders of the America, Institute of Natural and Traditional Knowledge, The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, Grandmothers of the Sacred We, and The Mother Earth Delegation of United Indigenous Nations.

Don’t miss this historic Convening! New luminaries will be announced in the weeks to come. Sign up now to take advantage of a substantially discounted rate, the Super Saver Rate expires on June 15th!