Rev. Barber, Dr. Shiva, Lord Bilimoria & Dharma Master Cheng Yen to Join 2021 Parliament as Featured Luminaries

The Parliament of the World's Religions is excited to announce that Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBE; Dharma Master Cheng Yen; Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II; and Dr. Vandana Shiva will be featured luminaries at the 2021 Parliament of World's Religions.

Hosted this October 16-18, the 2021 Parliament features over 500 programs, more than 100 global luminaries, and countless opportunities to connect with the global interfaith movement. These Voices of PoWR will share their deep commitment for service to humanity, action-based change and a better world for communities around the world.

Amongst the luminaries is a groundbreaking Lord, the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBE

Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE, DL is the founder of Cobra Beer, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Limited, a Joint Venture with Molson Coors, and Chairman of Molson Coors Cobra India. Lord Bilimoria is the Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, a former Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London); he was the youngest University Chancellor in the UK when appointed. Karan was a former Senior Non-Executive Director of the Booker Group now TESCO PLC (2007-2016); he is one of the first two visiting entrepreneurs at the University of Cambridge; he is a founding member of the Prime Minister of India’s Global Advisory Council.

In 2006, Karan Bilimoria was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, making him the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords. Since 2017 Lord Bilimoria has been a Bynum Tudor Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford.

An inspiring spiritual leader, the founder of the world-renowned Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation.

Dharma Master Cheng Yen

Dharma Master Cheng Yen was born in 1937 in a small town in Taichung County, Taiwan. When she was twenty-three years old, she left home to become a Buddhist nun. Her mentor, Venerable Master Yin Shun, instructed her to work “for Buddha’s teachings for sentient beings.”

In 1966, she founded a charity which later became the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. Its purpose was to “help the poor and educate the rich” – to give material aid to the needy and inspire love and humanitarian spirit in both the giver and receiver. 

In recent years, Master Cheng Yen’s contributions have been increasingly recognized by the global community. In 2011, she received the Roosevelt Institute’s FDR Distinguished Public Service Award and was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by TIME Magazine, and in 2014, she was presented with the Rotary International Award of Honor in recognition of her humanitarian efforts and contributions to world peace.

A respected religious and civil-rights leader, the architect of the Moral Movement.

Rev. William J Barber

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is the President & Senior Lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival; Bishop with The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries; Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary; Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and the author of four books: We Are Called To Be A Movement; Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing; The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and The Rise of a New Justice Movement; and Forward Together: A Moral Message For The Nation.

Rev. Dr. Barber is also the architect of the Moral Movement, which began with weekly Moral Monday protests at the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013 and recently relaunched again online in August 2020 under the banner of the Poor People’s Campaign.


And an envirnonmental justice activist, the founder of Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources.

Vandana Shiva

Dr. Vandana Shiva is trained as a Physicist and did her Ph.D. on the subject “Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory” from the University of Western Ontario in Canada.  She later shifted to inter-disciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy, which she carried out at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore.

In 1982, she founded an independent institute, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in Dehra Dun dedicated to high quality and independent research to address the most significant ecological and social issues of our times, in close partnership with local communities and social movements. In 1991, she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seed, the promotion of organic farming and fair trade. In 2004 she started Bija Vidyapeeth, an international college for sustainable living in Doon Valley in collaboration with Schumacher College, U.K.

These are just a few of the diverse Voices of PoWR joining the plenaries at the 2021 Parliament of the World's Religions. Did you know that if you don't want to sit in front of your computer over 2 days, you don't have to? You have 30 days to rewatch all recording programs with your registration and connect with attendees via chat on Accelevents.