On Winning 1st Place: Lessons from Our Friends in Melbourne

On Sunday, February 10th the Parliament gathered to welcome representatives from the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne for the second in our World Interfaith Harmony Week Webinar Series. In On Winning 1st Place, Rev. Helen Summers, the Founder and Director of the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne, was joined by some of the presenters from the award-winning program Who and Where Are We in a Changing World? to share the inspiration for their event, what their success has meant for their center, and what they hope for their future and the future of WIHW in Australia.

Rev. Summers, Swami Sunishthananda from the Vedanta Centre of Melbourne, and Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black from the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change led a lively discussion on what makes a successful interfaith event and the importance of building relationships with community partners.

Here are 3 things we learned about winning 1st Place on the World Interfaith Harmony Week prize and we think you should know:

1.  Focus on building relationships

While financial resources are an important part of organizing any event, organizers can host an event with very low costs or at no cost if the relationships with community partners are already in place. Jonathan recommended connecting with faith leaders who have some flexibility in what they can get involved and support with their time and resources.

2. Select an issue that’s important in your community and focus on the three key principles of WIHW - love of God, love of the good, and love of the neighbor

The program for Who and Where Are We in a Changing World? was developed very strategically to highlight important issues and communities of the host city. Each presenter was asked to speak from their tradition and focus on the key principles of WIHW.

3. Be sure to develop a descriptive and thorough report

Describe the purpose of the celebration and how it relates to the principles of World Interfaith Harmony Week. Be sure to have letters of reference from individuals who are drafting the report and attendees from the event. A well-developed report will make a huge difference if you are interested in being considered for a prize.

Organizers from the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne are experienced interfaith organizers and their successful World Interfaith Harmony Week events come from their understanding of the importance of building relationships and highlighting the diversity of each culture and faith tradition in their community.

Missed the webinar? Watch the recording! Available now on our YouTube Channel


The Parliament's World Interfaith Harmony Week Webinar Series is made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in these webinars are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.

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