Thursday, December 3rd

Opening Plenary: 7.30 pm – 9.00 pm

Welcome to the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions!

The 2009 Parliament opened with a ‘Welcome to Country’ from Joy Murphy Wandin, senior elder of the Wurundjeri people, traditional owners of the land on which Melbourne resides. Through a series of blessings and performances, the world’s diverse religious and spiritual traditions were acknowledged and honored. The urgent call to people and communities of faith, spirit and good will to ‘Make a World of Difference’ in the midst of the pressing challenges facing the global community was heard. 


Professor Joy Murphy Wandin, AO

Senior Aboriginal Woman of the Wurundjeri People, Australia

At the 2009 Opening Plenary, Aunty Joy offered a traditional Welcome to the Land, as is her right and traditional role as senior woman of the Wurundjeri People. She also offered her perspectives on current concerns for Aboriginal Australians.

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi founded the Afghan Institute of Learning, a groundbreaking women-led grassroots NGO that supported 80 underground home schools for girls in the 1990s and continues to work to empower girls, women and the disenfranchised across Afghanistan.


The Opening Plenary took place in Plenary Hall, which is located on the ground level of the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.