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Twelve New Luminaries Will Keynote the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions

August 6, 2018

“Religions are different roads converging upon the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads so long as we reach the same goal?” – Dr. Arun Gandhi

Twelve new speakers join the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions as Voices of PoWR, bringing excellence and world-changing ideas to the 7th Parliament this November 1 – 7 in Toronto, Canada.

Among them is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Arun Gandhi, who has built his life’s work around the pursuit of understanding, service to others, and nonviolence. His words call to mind 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 our common goal of a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world. Participants can hear Dr. Gandhi speak at the Peace & Love, Not War, Hate & Violence Assembly. 
In a country as forward-thinking in its approach to the dignity and security of all peoples as our 2018 meeting place, it is a privilege for the Parliament of the World’s Religions to welcome to our stage the nineteenth and first female Prime Minister of Canada. The Right Honourable Kim Campbell will hold court at the Parliament November 6th in a major session with founder and CEO of the Global Security Institute and Honorary Parliament Ambassador on Nuclear Non-proliferation, Jonathan Granoff. 
Another returning luminary to the Parliament is the Rev. Jim Wallis, the founder of Sojourners whose books and activism compel a critical mass of Evangelical Christians (and neighboring communities) to reconcile their faith and their social behaviors, especially concerning the oppression of racial and ethnic minorities. Wallis will appear November 1 in the Opening Ceremony of the Parliament where he will address the theme of the convening: The Promise of Inclusion and the Power of Love. 
Experts and activists alike will be eager to connect with Abubakar Khan, a Next-Gen Assembly leader showcasing the love of our neighbors through platforms and community organizing around issues of Islamophobia and other social problems.
The Assembly on Peace & Love, Not War, Hate & Violence will present the esteemed Dr. PL deSilva, who has worked extensively with combatants and non-combatants of the Sri Lankan Civil War, and has authored and established literature and institutes around healing from psychosocial trauma.
Carol P. Christ finds the spirit within the body and nature while leading Goddess Pilgrimages to Crete and will deepen Jimmy Carter’s insight about the role of religions in sanctifying the abuse of women and girls in her address sponsored by the second Women’s Assembly.
Naomi Lanoi, coming from Kenya’s East African Indigenous Maasai tradition, is a successful and prominent activist for the equality of women in global Indigenous Peoples’ communities and organizations, and will lend her expertise and inspiration to the Parliament in the Indigenous Peoples’ Program Assembly. 
The Parliament wouldn’t be the Parliament without sage and spiritual illumination. Honoring the legacy of Swami Vivekananda at the Parliament of the World’s Religions is the eminent Swami Sarvapriyananda, who travels from the Vedanta Society in New York–first established by Swami Vivekananda after his engagement at the 1893 Parliament. Swami Sarvapriyananda will speak in the Parliament’s Anniversary Banquet. 
The Venerable Dharma Master Hsin Tao–a longtime Parliament friend and supporter–returns from Taiwan, where his Buddhist and social organizations channel great wisdom and love for humanity which he amassed on his path of spiritual healing from a childhood spent suffering in conflict and trauma. 
Dr. Ingrid Mattson, a household name for Muslim intelligencia in North America and beyond, joins the Parliament of the World’s Religions for the first time to address the Climate Action Assembly.

Want to see these world-changers in person, register for the 2018 Parliament today!

Learn More About the Voices of PoWR Speakers at the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions


Dr. Arun Gandhi
Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi, was born into apartheid South Africa in 1934 where he became a victim of violence. His parents and grandparents taught that justice was best sought through transforming an opponent through love and compassion. To enhance his education in nonviolence Arun went to India in 1946 to live with his grandfather and directly benefitted from daily one-to-one lessons.
Arun is the founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and is the Founding President of the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute. This charitable organization currently supports over 1000 children in India with shelter, food, and education.
Read more about Dr. Arun Gandhi >>


Right Honourable Kim Campbell
The Right Honourable Kim Campbell PC, CC, OBC, QC is the nineteenth and first female Prime Minister of Canada (1993). She had held cabinet portfolios including Minister of State for Indian Affairs, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and Minister of National Defence and Veterans’ Affairs. She has served as Canadian Consul General in L.A., taught at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Chaired the Council of Women World Leaders. Earlier, she served as International Women’s Forum President, and was a founding member and later Secretary General of the Club of Madrid, an organization of former presidents and prime ministers. As Founding Principal, the Rt. Honourable Kim Campbell designed and launched a ground-breaking leadership program at the University of Alberta, the Peter Lougheed Leadership College. 
Read more about the Right Honourable Kim Campbell >>

The Venerable Dharma Master Hsin Tao
The Venerable Dharma Master Hsin Tao is a Buddhist monk who combines his religious practices with the care for our planet Earth and all beings living on it. In addition to his daily monastic practices, Hsin Tao has focused on three issues: the promotion of peace; the encouragement of interfaith dialogue; and preservation of the Earth. Hsin Tao was born in Myanmar in 1948 to ethnic Chinese. At the age of four, he was left orphaned after his parents were killed in war. At the age of nine, Hsin Tao was forced to become a child soldier in the Burmese guerilla movement. Six years later, he fled to Taiwan. Exposed to the destruction of war and seeking spiritual guidance, Hsin Tao turned to Buddhism for answers. At the age of twenty-five, Hsin Tao became a monk spending the next two years fasting and meditating in a cave high atop Ling Jiou Mountain in northern Taiwan. Upon his emergence from the cave, Hsin Tao established the Wu Sheng Buddhist Monastery at the site of his meditation. In subsequent years, he has formed other organizations, including the Museum of World Religions, to promote a number of projects as well as to perform charitable services.
Read more about Dharma Master Hsin Tao >>

Dr. Kanwaljit Kaur
Dr. Kanwaljit Kaur OBE, is the President of Global Sikh Council. She is also President of British Sikh Education Council, President of Sikh Women’s Support Group, Deputy Director for Network of Sikh Organisations, and member of Lambeth Statutory Agreed Council for Religious Education.
She is a writer, educator and broadcaster who strongly believes in international community cohesion through religious literacy. To this effect, she has worked closely with British Government agencies to write non-statutory guidance for religious education for schools in the U.K., which has be in force since 1993. She received an award of OBE from the British Queen for services to education and interfaith relations. She passionately believes in the equal rights of women speaks on equality and raises concerns about violence against women nationally and internationally.
Read more about Dr. Kanwaljit Kaur >>

Dr. PL de Silva
Dr. PL de Silva has over 20 years experience of back-room diplomacy, mediation, and negotiation. He has taught Politics/International Relations in several graduate/undergraduate programs at universities in New York, New Jersey, Long Island and Queen’s University of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Dr de Silva’s publications include Postmodern Insurgencies: Political Violence, Identity Formation, and Peacemaking in Comparative Perspective. He is a co-founder with Professor WD Lakshman (former Vice Chancellor University of Colombo) of the International War-related Trauma & Humanitarian Intervention Trust (IWTHI Trust) setting up psycho-social training programs for practitioners serving combatants/non-combatants during Sri Lanka’s civil war.
Read more about Dr. PL de Silva >>

Naomi Lanoi
Naomi comes from the Indigenous Maasai community of East Africa- Kenya. She is married and a proud Mother of two children aged 10 and 13 years.
Throughout her career, Naomi’s goal has been to secure the social inclusion of Indigenous women into empowerment programs and activities.
Naomi is currently implementing a project on women land and property rights in Kenya. The project focuses on advocating for effective implementation of Constitutional provisions for secure Women’s Land Rights.
Read more about Naomi Lanoi >>

Swami Sarvapriyananda
Swami Sarvapriyananda is the Minister-in-Charge of The Vedanta Society of the City of New York, first established by Swami Vivekananda after the 1893 World Parliament of the World’s Religions. He is an ordained monk of The Ramakrishna Order of India. Vedanta accepts all the religions of the world and reveres the great prophets, teachers, and sons of God, because it recognizes the same divine inspiration in all. 
Swami Sarvapriyananda joined the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in 1994 and received Sannyas (ordination) in 2004. Before being posted in 2015 to the Vedanta Society of Southern California as Assistant Minister, he served the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in various capacities as Vice Principal of the Deoghar Vidyapith Higher Secondary School, as Principal of the Shikshana Mandira Teacher Education College at Belur Math, and as the first Registrar of the Vivekananda University at Belur Math.
Swami Sarvapriyananda assumed the leadership of the Vedanta Society of the City of New York in January 2017. He is a world-renowned expert and exponent of the Philosophy of Vedanta, and his video lectures on YouTube have garnered a large worldwide audience and are extremely popular.
Read more about Swami Sarvapriyananda>>

Dr. Ingrid Mattson 
Ingrid Mattson, PhD, is a scholar of Islamic Studies, an expert in interfaith relations and a Muslim religious leader. In 2012 she became the inaugural Chair of Islamic Studies at Huron University College; previously she taught in the US and was president of ISNA, the largest Muslim organization in the country.
Read more about Dr. Ingrid Mattson >>


Jonathan Granoff
Jonathan Granoff is an international lawyer, advocate, scholar, and award winning screenwriter who serves as President of the Global Security Institute, United Nations Representative of the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and Ambassador for Peace, Security and Nuclear Disarmament of The Parliament of the World’s Religions. Mr. Granoff will join Rt. Honourable Kim Campbell at one of the Parliament’s major sessions.
Read more about Jonathan Granoff >>


Dr. Carol P. Christ
Dr. Carol P. Christ’s activism helped to found the study of Women and Religion in the academy, her widely published keynote address “Why Women Need the Goddess” helped to launch the Goddess movement, and her first book Womanspirit Rising brought new ideas to a large audience. She holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale and has taught at Columbia University, Pomona College, Harvard Divinity School, and San Jose State. Her other books are Goddess and God in the World, A Serpentine Path, She Who Changes, Rebirth of the Goddess, Laughter of Aphrodite, Diving Deep and Surfacing, and Weaving the Visions. Born in California, she lives in Greece, has run for office with the Green Party Greece, and worked for decades to protect Natura wetlands in Lesbos. She leads the Goddess Pilgrimage to Greece in spring and fall.
Read more about Carol Christ >>


Abubakar Khan
Abubakar Khan is a young American, Canadian, Pakistani Muslim. He is the co-founder of The Chosen Khan, an online platform that highlights diversity, interfaith and creative dialogue. He is the chairman of Social Sport, a charity that helps to integrate refugee youth through the power of team sports. He is also a member of Vancouver Helping Hands, a group that helps members of the DTES by providing them with care packages and conversations.
He has planned multiple rallies such as the Love Over Fear Rally against Islamophobia and the Love Over Fear Rally against Racial Discrimination, which in turn led him to co-founding the Love Over Fear clothing line.
Read more about Abubakar Khan>>


Jim Wallis
Jim Wallis is president and founder of Sojourners in Washington, DC. a non-profit faith-based organization, network, and movement whose mission statement calls for “putting faith into action for social justice.” He is editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine and web site which has a combined print and electronic media readership of more than a quarter million people with several million unique visitors to the website,, each year.  Wallis is a bestselling author, public theologian, national preacher, social activist, and international commentator on ethics and public life. His latest book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America was released in January 2016. Wallis has written eleven previous books, including The (Un)Common Good and the New York Times bestsellers God’s Politics and The Great Awakening. He is a frequent speaker in the United States and abroad, has written for major newspapers, does regular columns for Huffington Post and, and appears frequently on ABC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and NPR; on shows from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show to the O’Reilly Factor and Sunday shows like This Week and Meet the Press. Wallis also teaches at Georgetown University and has taught at Harvard University. He served on President Obama’s first White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and as the chair of the Global Agenda Council on Values of the World Economic Forum.
Read more about Rev. Jim Wallis>>