Event Schedule: Tuesday, December 8th

Programming for Tuesday, 8th December included:

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The Most Venerable
Thich Nhat Hanh

A Collective Awakening for the Future of Our Planet.


The Most Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh

At the 2009 Parliament, The Most Venerable Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh gave a special talk directly to the Paliament of the World's Religions from Plum Village in France by video. The world renowned Teacher and Peace Activist referred to the importance of this conference of religious leaders and that of the Copenhagen Summit the next week. In an intimate but powerful talk, Thich Nhat Hanh presented a Buddhist vision of True Happiness and a Global Ethic based on the Five Mindfulness Trainings.



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President Jimmy Carter

The Religious Imperative for the Equality of Women & Girls


President Jimmy Carter

President Carter addressed the Parliament via video, addressing issues of equality for women and girls.

Convocation of Hindu Spiritual Leaders

HH Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami 
HH Yogini Sri Chandra Kali Prasada Mataji 
HH Swami Amarananda 
HH Sri Karunamayi Vijayeswari Devi 
HH Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji 
HH Sri Swami Mayatitananda Saraswati (Mother Maya) 
HH Sri Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj 
HH Swami Sandeep Chaitanya 
HH Dada J. P. Vaswani 
HH Dadi Janki

A special feature of the Melbourne Parliament was an assembly of a number of the most outstanding Hindu spiritual leaders of India. The convocation of saints began with Vedic chanting, prayers, meditation and music. These opening observances were followed by a number of eminent speakers on universal themes, such as spiritual values and peace, as well as current issues such as humanitarian work, education, and the environment.




Uncle Bob Randall, Aboriginal Elder, Uluru, Central Australia

KANYINI is a story told by an Aboriginal man, Bob Randall, who lives beside the greatest monolith in the world, Uluru in Central Australia. A tale of Indigenous wisdom clashing with materialist notions of progress, this is not only a story of one man and his people but the story of the human race.


Hearing the Other: How Can Cultural Organisations Best Work with Indigenous Communities?


Caroline Martin, Traditional Owner of Boon Wurrung Country, Manager, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum

Bunjilaka, the Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum, was developed to empower Aboriginal people to interpret their own cultural heritage. This institution holds Aboriginal cultural heritage items from one of the world's most significant collections. This program highlighted how cultural organizations can enable Aboriginal people to retain ownership of the Aboriginal cultural heritage and actively and directly contribute to the preservation of their culture.


Veneration of the Ancestors


Baba Wande Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria), Kehinde Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria), Taiwa Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria), Kolapo Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria), Adetokunbe Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria), Ifaboyede Michelle Abimbola (Yoruba: Nigeria)

The Yoruba belief system values relational responsibilities, which includes respecting and venerating one’s ancestors. These responsibilities include reciprocity between the ancestors and the living members of each Yoruba family. This panel addressed various aspects of a spirituality that includes the veneration of ancestors.


Aboriginal Women - Healing the Land and its People


Aunty Lois and Pat Roberts, Bunjalung ministers; Min Mia, Aboriginal Elder

Our land was aggressively invaded by the British, which not only traumatised our people but the land itself. This program included the work of three AboriginalWomen, Elders and healers. Bunjalung ministers Aunty Pat and Aunty Lois work tirelessly to break ancestral curses that have been passed down from generation to generation. Aboriginal people believe that serious physical ailments can be cured at a spiritual level first and foremost, and the presenters described how they identify the need of their people and address it at this level. Min Mia, an Aboriginal Elder, discussed her life’s journey assisting people to understand the emotional effects that the colonisation and invasion of Australia had on the aboriginal people over successive generations. Min provided examples of her healing work and Indigenous ways.


The Centrality of Spirituality in Australian Indigenous Education


Dr. Nereda White, Gooreng Gooreng woman, Australian Catholic University; Aunty Joan Hendricks, Ngugi people, co-chair, Reconciliation Australia

While we have seen significant growth in the number of Indigenous people attending university in recent years, unsatisfactory outcomes, as compared with other Australian students, raise concerns about whether we are meeting the full needs of Indigenous students and whether we need to place more emphasis on both the spiritual and intellectual growth. Dr. Nereda White and Aunty Joan Hendriks explored the interconnectedness of spirituality and leadership drawing on their extensive experience in education, community and family life. Their insights from post colonial Indigenous women’s perspectives reflects on the challenges and opportunities faced by Australia’s Indigenous Communities, drawing from their experiences at Australian Catholic University where the challenge is to support indigenous learners on both an academic and spiritual journey.


Sport as a Tool for Peace – Youth Session


Tanya Oziel, Executive Director, Peres Centre for Peace – Australian Chapter; Nick Hatzoglou, Multicultural Project Officer, AFL; Kamal Aboalthom, Palestinian co-captain, 2008 AFL Peace Team; Robert 'Dipper' DiPierdomenico, coach, 2008 AFL Peace Team

We all know the Middle East is a troubled region. But how often do we hear good news stories about that part of the world? In this session participants heard the inspirational stories of the coach, the players, and the people who made it possible for 30 young men from Israel and Palestine to come together for the sake of Australian Rules football – and peace for the world.


Sustaining Spiritual Practices in a Changing World – Youth Session


Leo Killsback (Northern Cheyenne:USA), Arturas Sinkevicius (Romva:Lithuania)

Colonization and other societal pressures have weakened the traditional spiritual practices of indigenous peoples. The ability of indigenous communities to foster an appreciation for their spiritual traditions among their younger people has been particularly challenging. Young people on this panel discussed how they have managed to maintain their indigenous beliefs systems.



Evening Plenary:


Melbourne Plenary

At the 2009 Parliament, this plenary included presentations and performances celebrating Melbourne's religious and spiritual diversity and its vision for interfaith dialogue and cooperation.



Performances included:


Simone (!)


Samantha Bews, actor; Lorender Freeman, writer and director

The year 2009 marked the centenary of the birth of Simone Weil, the French radical, philosopher and mystic. At the 2009 Parliament, this one-woman play presented an intense, one-sided conversation in which Weil’s courageous political, philosophical, and spiritual journey is laid bare.


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Yasus Afari

Revolution Chapter 1


Yasus Afari

This performance was a uniquely rare opportunity for youth and adults alike to enjoy a Rastafarian musical performance by Yasus Afari, who is one of the leading Rastafarians in the world and recognised as the Indigenous specialist on Rastafarianism. Yasus Afari’s Rastafarian music carries influences in poetry, philosophy and Reggae music.




Films included:


The Episcopal Church Confronts Racism: Traces of the Trade


Denise Yarbrough

In the documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, filmmaker Katrina Browne discovers that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine cousins retrace the Triangle Trade and gain a powerful new perspective on the black/white divide. This program also shows how the Episcopal Church USA has worked to heal the pain of its participation in the pervasive racism in the history of the United States.


Tackling Peace


Marc Radomsky

This film tells the inspirational story of Israeli and Palestinian youths who unite over the game of Australian football. Overcoming difficulties in travel and differences in language and diet, the young men from different worlds form a bond under the banner of sport. The film goes behind the scenes as athletes from either side of a bloody war set aside a lifetime of prejudice and hostility to compete as a team.


A Course in Miracles Unleashed: A Direct Encounter with Jesus Christ in the Evolution and Enlightenment of the Human Species


Cameron and Ellie Kennedy, Kristen and Elbert Kloostra

The film takes the viewer on a journey into the universal process of spiritual enlightenment, through the experience of over 100 ordinary men and women from around the world who are awakened and illuminated by the Course in Miracles. The film producer and other participants from the film will then witness to and facilitate the immediacy and inevitability of this transformation in all of us.