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Happy New Year! A Message from the Chair of the Parliament

Written by Nitin Ajmera
December 29, 2022

Image Source: Chris Smith via Flickr

Dear Friends,

Jai Jinendra.  It has been my honor to serve as Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions this year and support the work of our growing Staff and Board. I will continue to serve in this role in 2023 alongside our re-elected officers: our Vice Chairs, Rev. Dr. Scott Stearman and James A. Lynch, Jr.; our Secretary, Rev. Charline Manuel; and our Treasurer, Imam Saffet Abid Catovic. It is also my great pleasure to welcome and congratulate the newly elected members of the Board who begin their term on January 1, 2023: Rev. Traci Blackmon, Dolly Dastoor, David Hales, R. Sidney M. Helbraun, Dr. Laurel Kearns, Congressman Bobby Rush, Sharan Singh, Ann Smith, and Michael Trice. All of our voices and commitment to the mission of the Parliament of the World’s Religions are an important pillar of the success of our organization.

Another important pillar of our work has been the support of the founding members of the Circle of Patrons, who in 2022 fulfilled their first year of patronage. My deepest gratitude to Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia OBE KSG, The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation: Founded by Dharma Master Cheng Yen, The Circle of Friends for VRG Vision, and The Guru Nanak Sikh Interfaith Committee. Your support ensures the continued sustainability of the Parliament’s vision of interfaith understanding and our mission.

As we prepare to celebrate the new year, I want to take this opportunity to commemorate the Parliament’s work this year. In 2022, the Parliament of the World’s Religions has been working diligently to advance our mission to a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. The organization affirmed its ethical directives, as outlined by The Global Ethic, by responding to the pressing issues of our time through direct participation and statements affirming the inherent dignity and human rights of people around the world. This year the Parliament responded to hate speech in India, violence in sacred spaces in Jerusalem, threats to religious freedom in the United States, challenges to civil society in Egypt, human rights violations in Iran, and supported the right to a healthy environment around the world. At the international level the Parliament has served as an organizer and as a critical partner in faith-based action in support of Ukraine, COP27, COP15, and was represented at the UK launch of the Peace Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation at the House of Lords in London. Additional highlights from this year’s work will be available on our 2022 Annual Report, you can look forward to that in January.

I also want to celebrate the incredible efforts of our Trustees, Staff, and our global community to build up for the 9th global convening of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. 2023 is an incredibly important year for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. It marks 130 years since the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions and our return to the birthplace of the interfaith movement for the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, USA from August 14-18. As the world prepares to welcome 2023, our community has been building up towards the success of the 2023 Convening. I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has already registered, proposed a program, booked an exhibit, signed up to volunteer, and helped spread the call to conscience to their networks. Thank you all.

I invite you to join me in serving as a building block of the Parliament and make a gift today.

On behalf of the myself and Board of Trustees, I want to wish you a very happy new year 2023.

With deep gratitude,

Mr. Nitin Ajmera
Chair of the Board
The Parliament of the World’s Religions