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A Word from the Chair of the Board of Trustees

Welcome, dear friends, to the 9th Parliament of the World’s Religions and to the birthplace of our interfaith movement, the City of Chicago. Chicago has been the home base of the Parliament of the World’s Religions for over 30 years, building on a legacy that dates back to the first World Parliament of Religions in 1893. This 9th global convening is a special celebration of 130 years of our legacy around the world and in the landscape of this beautiful city.

The 2023 Parliament convening is a homecoming for the global interfaith movement. For some it’s the first time back since the 1993 Convening, for others it marks the first time visiting Chicago, and for many more it will be the first time gathering in an event of this magnitude since before the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been my privilege to serve as the Chair of the Board of Trustees over the past three years and watch as the City of Chicago and the world celebrates the return of our in-person Parliament event. To each and every one of you, I share my deepest gratitude and appreciation for joining us at this Parliament of the World’s Religions.

In the next five days, you will experience programs, observances, and conversations unlike those happening in any other place in the world. Surrounded by thousands of fellow human beings committed to a shared understanding and a shared mission to better the world, I invite you to reflect on the importance of this opportunity and the often unrecognized freedoms that allow this event to take place. It is with the understanding that the Parliament of the World’s Religions is made possible by freedom of religion and legally protected civil liberties, which are facing direct attacks and erosions around the world, that we convene on the theme of A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom & Human Rights. Beyond a celebration, this Parliament is a place of conscience, of awareness, for the challenges that need breakthrough solutions, and for the work of the dedicated faith communities ready to implement them.

I am honored to have the opportunity to experience the beauty and sanctity of this Parliament of the World’s Religions with you. And I am especially excited to take back to my community and to the world at large, the shared experiences that our dynamic program will offer physically, mentally, and spiritually. May it grow, fostering interfaith dialogue, understanding, and action for the betterment of our shared planet.

My deepest hope, shared by my fellow Board members and our wonderful office team, is that the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions is as life-changing to you as the previous Parliaments have been for us.