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2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions Luminaries Are Champions of Change

March 20, 2018

Announcing the first line-up of luminaries who will address the global interfaith stage at the Parliament in November of this year.
Recognizing the immense value the religious, spiritual, and secular constituencies – together – offer the world’s movements of peace, justice and sustainability – several change agents from global institutions are planning to address the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Today, it is an honor to release the first line-up of keynote speakers who will share across the assembly stages their insider’s look at some of the most complex challenges we face as humanity today, and how they, and interfaith communities, have and will continue to make a difference.
Between now and November, our journey to Toronto will be filled with joyous news and soul-shaking reminders of the imperatives we share in coming together at the Parliament.
We invite you to join us in welcoming to the Parliament of the World’s Religions these exceptional living examples of the promise of inclusion and the power of love:

Ms. Christiana Figueres
The Parliament of the World’s Religions welcomes for the first time Ms. Christiana Figueres, Convenor of Mission 2020 and Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to our Climate Action Assembly stage! A  daughter of Costa Rica, Figueres is especially renowned for her achievements in leading the Paris Climate Agreement at the COP21 conference in 2015.

Payam Akhavan
A Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague and 2017 Massey Lecturer, Payam Akhavan will be featured in the Assembly on Countering War & Violence in his first appearance at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Akhavan is a McGill University professor of international law whose career in human rights has been shaped by his own experience of religious persecution. A member of the Baha’i faith, he fled from Iran to Canada in the 1970’s.

Armene Modi
The 2nd Women’s Assembly of the Parliament of the World’s Religions will present the esteemed Armene Modi, a gender justice champion noted for her intervention programs serving adolescent girls living in rural villages in the Pune region of India. As founder of the not-for-profit Ashta No Ka, Modi utilizes innovative means of education and empowerment that redirects the lives of young women from the paths toward early marriages toward using their voices to promote changemaking shifts for women in their communities.

Subhi Nahas
Subhi Nahas – a survivor refugee of the Syrian Civil War and LGBTQIA+ advocate – has a message that will electrify the Justice Assembly stage of the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions.  As founder and Chair of the board of the organization Nahas dedicates his advocacy to supporting LGBTQIA+ refugee populations whose lives are critically endangered by extremist groups throughout the world.

Ms. Habiba Dahir
Habiba Dahir is a Nairobi-based program officer for Women in International Security – Horn of Africa (HoA).  Habiba is driven by her passion to promote the increased participation of women in peace processes towards achieving a conflict-free horn of Africa. Her research and programming actively focuses on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), particularly in post-conflict African regions. Originally from Somalia, Habiba’s family migrated to Kenya to escape the conflict. Since then, her interfaith advocacy work in peace and security has driven her across the globe. The Parliament of the World’s Religions is proud to feature Habiba as a keynote speaker in its 2018 Next Gen Assembly in Toronto.

Hugh Locke
Hugh Locke began his career directing a nation-wide tree planting program for Katimavik, Canada’s national youth service organization, before going into development work with governments, NGO’S, corporations, and UN agencies focused on social, environmental, and economic programs. He now serves as President of the Haitian-based Smallholder Farmers Alliance, which he co-founded. His first-ever Parliament address will take place as a part of the 2nd Women’s Assembly.