Salt Lake 2015: Inaugural Women's Assembly
Meet the leading voices of the Women's Initiative for Global Advancement at the 2015 Parliament! Join us on October 15 - 19 at the Inaugural Women's Assembly and Program Initiative to make history and work together to break the stained glass ceiling!
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The Women's Assembly will provide an important opportunity for women to address and discuss two areas of vital interest:
- the responsibility of the world’s religions to affirm women’s dignity and human rights
- religious and spiritual inspiration for women’s empowerment
Meet the Speakers
Mother Maya Tiwari serves humanity by awakening the spirit of ahimsa, or harmony, in every person whose life she touches. She is an Ayurveda pioneer working in the field for more than 30 years. She established the first Ayurvedic school in North America in 1981, the Wise Earth School of Ayurveda. Tiwari is also founder of the the Mother Om Mission and the Living Ahimsa Foundation. Through her global work at Living Ahimsa, participants are taught to spread practices that promote peace and create inner harmony. Tiwari is also the recipient of AAPNA’s Rishi Award for her outstanding work in Ayurvedic medicine.
Terry Tempest Williams is an author, conservationist and activist. Much of her writing is influenced by her native Utah and Mormon culture, braching into issues of ecology and wilderness preservation, women's health, as well as the human relationship to culture and nature. She has authored several books, including Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, An Unspoken Hunger, Stories from the Field, and more. Williams is the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah, a columnist for The Progressive, and an instructor at Dartmouth College.
Dr. Vandana Shiva is an esteemed Hindu author and environmental justice activist. Based in Delhi, India, Shiva often lectures on environmental issues such as agricultural and fair trade practices. She has authored 30 books on these topics, and is a fierce advocate of eco-feminist philosophies and principles.
Ruth W. Messinger is president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the world’s leading Jewish organization working to end poverty and realize human rights in the developing world. She came to AJWS in 1998, after a 20-year career in public service in New York City. As an activist for human rights around the globe, Ruth currently sits on the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group and co-chairs the Sub-Working Group on Social Justice.
Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Marianne has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America and Charlie Rose. Six of her eleven published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1 New York Times Best Sellers. In 1989, she founded Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area. Today, Project Angel Food serves over 1,000 people daily. Marianne also co-founded the Peace Alliance. And she serves on the Board of Directors of the RESULTS organization, working to end the worst ravages of hunger and poverty throughout the world.
Ilyasah Shabazz, the esteemed daughter of Malcom X and Dr. Betty Shabazz, is an author, producer, and motivational speaker. Her coming-of-age Random House publication, Growing Up X, won critical acclaim, including an NAACP Image Award nomination, BET best book list, and United Press International book of the week. Ilyasah served as a member of the U.S. delegation that accompanied President Bill Clinton to South Africa to commemorate election of President Nelson Mandela. She retraced her father’s footsteps to the Holy City of Mecca and is included in the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World. She has participated in interfaith dialogue study programs and served as a member of the American Interfaith Leadership delegation that participated with the Malaria No More Foundation to provide 2 million bed nets. She also received NAACP Image Award 2014 for her book, MALCOLM LITTLE the Boy who would grow up to become MALCOLM X (Simon and Schuster). Currently, her novel "X,a Novel" (released 2015) (Candlewick Press) was on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Arikirangi Rose Pere is a Tohuna and a teacher of the Kura Huna, the traditional mystery school of the Maori. She is the elder of several major tribes and a Guardian of Earth Mother. Internationally sought after as a speaker and spiritual authority, Rose has spent her life as an educator of immense stature working in the world of Maori and non-Maori. She was the Young Maori Woman of the Year in 1972, awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration medal. C.M. and became a Commander of the British Empire receiving her C.B.E. in 1996.
Jean Shinoda Bolen, M. D, is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, internationally known author of thirteen influential books in eighty-five foreign translations; a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and retired clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco. She is in the Academy-Award winning anti-nuclear proliferation film Women—For America, For the World, the Canadian Film Board's Goddess Remembered and Femme: Women Healing the World. The Millionth Circle Initiative was inspired by her book and led to her going to the UN and becoming an advocate for a UN 5th World Conference on Women.
Ms Lokawua Margaret is a Karamojong indigenous woman from Uganda trained in the field of human rights specializing in conflict resolution. Ms. Lokawua a coordinator or an indigenous women's organization the Northeastern part of Uganda and a former member of The UN Permanent forum on indigenous issues. She is also the Chairperson for Civil Society for Indigenous Organizations in Karamonja, as well as the Director of the Indigenous Women Environmental Conservation Project.
Phyllis Curott is an attorney, author and Wiccan priestess. An interfaith activist and advocate of religious liberties for minority faiths in the courts and media, Jane Magazine honored her as one of the Ten Gutsiest Women of the Year, New York Magazine described her as one of the "culture's most intellectually cutting-edge thinkers," and Beliefnet has featured her in their video series Preachers and Teachers. Curott is founder and president of the international Temple of Ara and president emerita of the Covenant of the Goddess.
Diana Butler Bass is the author of nine books on American religion, including Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution (October 2015) and Christianity After Religion (2012). She holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Duke University, has taught at the college and graduate level, and is currently an independent scholar. She was a columnist for the New York Times Syndicate, and blogs for the Huffington Post and the Washington Post on issues of religion, spirituality, and culture. Bass is a popular speaker at conferences, colleges and universities, and churches across North America. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband, daughter, and dog.
Mallika Chopra is a mom, media entrepreneur, public speaker and published author. Her most recent book, Living With Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy, was published in April 2015.
Mallika is the founder of Intent.com, a website and app focused on personal, social and global wellness. Her intent is to harness the power of social media to connect people from around the world to improve their own lives, their communities and the planet.
Valarie Kaur is a Sikh activist, award-winning filmmaker, civil rights advocate, and founder of two faith-based social justice organizations, Groundswell Movement and Faithful Internet. Kaur utilizes storytelling to shed light on topics including hate crimes against Muslim and Sikhs, racial profiling, immigration detention and more. She has contributed to several media outlets including National Public Radio, MSNBC, PBS, The Washington Post and the New York Times and others.
The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones is the 16th President of the historic Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. The first woman to head the 179-year-old interdenominational seminary, Jones occupies the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy and has formed Union’s Institute for Women, Religion and Globalization as well as the Institute for Art, Religion and Social Justice. Jones came to Union after seventeen years at Yale University, where she was the Titus Street Professor of Theology at the Divinity School, and chair of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In 2016, she will be the president of the American Academy of Religion. She holds degrees from the University of Oklahoma, Yale Divinity School and Yale University. Jones is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. The author of several books including Calvin and the Rhetoric of Piety and Trauma and Grace, Jones is a leading theologian who regularly contributes to scholarly and public discussions on matters of faith, social justice, and public life.
Mara Lynn Keller, PhD (Philosophy, Yale University) is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Women's Spirituality, and past Director of the Women's Spirituality MA and PhD program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she teaches courses on the Eleusinian Mysteries in which the rites are re-enacted; and on the Goddess and God Civilization of Ancient Crete.She is a philosopher and thealogian, who has written articles about the Goddesses of Greece and Crete; including "Sacred Arts and Ritual in Crete of the Mother Goddess" and "The Eleusinian Mysteries' Ritual Path of Initiation." She is interested in promoting dialogue between Goddess people and God people. She is a co-founder of the OCHRE Journal of Women's Spirituality. And she has promoted many special events at CIIS celebrating women's sacred arts and scholarship, most recently Ïneffable/Woman: a Bi-coastal Conversation" with CERES Gallery in New York.
Charlene Spretnak is one of the founding mothers of the Women's Spirituality movement in the US, which her anthology The Politics of Women's Spirituality (1982) helped to frame.She is also the author of several books on religion and spirituality, eco-social issues, and cultural history, including States of Grace: The Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age; The Spiritual Dimension of Green Politics; The Resurgence of the Real; Lost Goddesses of Early Greece; Missing Mary; Relational Reality; and most recently The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art. She was a speaker at the Parliament in Chicago in 1993. She is a professor emerita and lives in Ojai, California.
Kiran Bali, MBE, JP is the Global Chair of United Religions Initiative. She is a practicing Hindu and has led at the global interfaith level for many years. An environmental activist, Kiran has been involved with grassroots projects to tackling climate action. She gave the Hindu opening words for the One Earth, OneFamily multi-faith climate march calling for all religions to join hands to create a more sustainable future. Kiran was honored by Queen Elizabeth II and has received a number of international awards. She is a regular keynote speaker at international events and has also addressed the UN General Assembly.
Lynn Gottlieb is a pioneer feminist rabbi, storyteller, percussionist, peace educator, writer, ceremonialist, community activist and clown. She is deeply committed to a life grounded in the creativity, joy and wisdom of the Torah (teachings) of Nonviolence. Her journey includes life long activism with The Fellowship of Reconciliation and ongoing pursuit of Israeli Palestinian conflict transformation based on principles of active nonviolence.
What is the Parliament’s Women’s Task Force?
The Parliament’s Women’s Task Force (PWTF) is composed of women Trustees of the Council for the Parliament of the World’s Religions and was created to support women’s leadership and programming at and between Parliaments and at critical institutions, including the United Nations, and to assure that women’s voices are heard at the vital nexus of women’s dignity, human rights, religion and spirituality. The PWTF seeks to create opportunities for women from a broad range of religious and spiritual traditions to engage with one another in interfaith conversations, inspirations and actions that seek to enhance the well-being, dignity and human rights of women of all faiths.
What is the role of the Women’s Task Force at the 2015 Parliament?
The Women’s Task Force is hosting the Inaugural Women’s Assembly and Program Initiative for Global Advancement (the Women’s Initiative) as an integral part of the 2015 Parliament, offering five days of special programming devoted to women, religion and spirituality that will be fully integrated into the overall Parliament.
In 1893, 19 women addressed the first Parliament. The Women’s Task Force is working to assure that thousands of women from diverse religious and spiritual traditions will converge in Salt Lake City, Utah to inspire one another, the Parliament and the world - and to make history. Already, more than 60% of registrants for the 2015 Parliament are women.
What are the goals of the Women’s Initiative for Global Advancement?
The Women’s Initiative will provide an esteemed and global platform for women from diverse religious and spiritual traditions to:
address the critical intersection of women’s dignity, human rights and religion,
celebrate women’s religious and spiritual engagement, inspiration and leadership,
share best practices that address women’s challenges,
build interfaith networks of mutual support and cooperative action, and
expand the transformative impact women have on religion and the modern world.
What is the Inaugural Women’s Assembly and can I participate?
The Women’s Assembly is an historic opportunity for women of diverse religious and spiritual traditions to gather to address two critical areas:
the responsibility of the world’s religions to affirm women’s dignity and human rights,&
share sources of religious and spiritual inspiration for women’s empowerment.
Esteemed women religious, spiritual and global leaders will address the Assembly on these two primary themes which will be further explored by attendees in small group discussions with opportunities to engage with one another as well as the keynote speakers, explore emerging priorities and best practices and create cooperative frameworks for committed action.
Check back for more information about speakers, programming and other Assembly information and watch for updates via email once you’ve registered!
How do I register to participate? And will I be able to attend the rest of the Parliament?
To register for the Women’s Assembly you must register for the overall Parliament. Registration will entitle you to attend all or part of the Women’s Assembly and Program Initiative as well as the entire Parliament.
Register here to participate in the Women’s Assembly, Program Initiative and overall Parliament here.
When is the Women’s Assembly?
The Women’s Assembly will take place on October 15, 2015, at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the full day, and immediately prior to the official opening of the Parliament later that evening.
What is the Women’s Program Initiative and how can I participate?
The Women’s Program Initiative will continue throughout the duration of the Parliament from October 16-19, with diverse programming that shares and celebrates the value of feminine wisdom, inspires with feminine principles in action, strengthens women’s spiritual engagement and leadership and nurtures a global root system of women’s spirituality.
Programming will include panels, presentations, best practices, discussions, academic papers, sermons, prayers, rites, meditations, and other celebratory, innovative and creative expressions of women’s spiritual engagement, interest and concern. Some programs may be for women only. Check back for more information about speakers, programming and other Program Initiative information and watch for updates via email once you’ve registered!
Can I submit a program proposal and how do I do it?
Yes! An open submission process assures diverse programming content and all women are encouraged to submit programs, panels, presentations, or other creative expressions of religious/spiritual engagement at: rfp.parliamentofreligions.org
The submission deadline is March 15, 2015.
Will women have opportunities to worship, pray, meditate, celebrate and ritualize together?
Yes! A Women’s Sacred Space will be available on-site for women’s faith and interfaith religious services, spiritual observances, rites and ceremonies, meditation, reflection and prayer throughout the duration of the Parliament.
How do I submit a proposal for a women’s interfaith or faith service or celebration, sermon, rite, meditation, reflection or other observance?
Women are encouraged to submit a proposal to host a religious or spiritual event in this Space during the Parliament: LINK
Why should I register and will I be able to attend the overall 2015 Parliament if I do?
The Women’s Initiative is anticipated to be a truly historic gathering.
When the 2015 Parliament convenes, thousands of people will converge in Salt Lake City to seek and share spiritual inspiration and practical solutions for the urgent and unprecedented crises our planet faces. Increasingly, people recognize that these challenges are the consequence of a world radically out of balance and that meaningful and tangible solutions will only emerge through women’s wisdom and leadership. But at the same time, the most serious, pervasive and ignored violations of basic human rights are those against women, due in part to distorted religious texts and extremism and the devaluation of the feminine.
It is crucial that women from around the world, representing diverse religious, spiritual and cultural traditions, have the opportunity to address the vital nexus of women’s issues and religion, to share and strengthen their wisdom and work, and to have their voices heard and their presence visible to inspire the world with new models of spiritual engagement and leadership. It is especially important that they have the opportunity to do so from the Parliament’s esteemed platform. It is important that YOU have that opportunity.
And we believe that the participation of women from the world’s faith and spiritual traditions is essential to achieve the Parliament’s all-inclusive mission to cultivate harmony among the world's religious and spiritual communities to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world. The Women’s Task Force is responding to this challenge by ensuring that women’s voices are heard at the 2015 Parliament, and therefore throughout the world. We hope yours will be one of those voices.
Registering for the Women’s Initiative means registering to make history! And yes, you must register for the 2015 Parliament in order to attend the Assembly. Registration entitles you to attend the entire 2015 Parliament, including the Assembly and the Women’s Program Initiative which will be an integral part of the 2015 Parliament.
Are there other ways to get involved?
Special Events Women are also encouraged to submit proposals for special events to occur simultaneously and globally during the Parliament: rfp.parliamentofreligions.org
Pre-Parliament Women’s Events - These are events to bring women together in their local communities, to explore, celebrate, educate and engage.
A Pre-Parliament gathering of 60 religiously diverse women convened in Fall, 2014 in Salt Lake, and this group is continuing to meet to help bring the Parliament and the Women’s Initiative to Salt Lake City.
Check the PWTF page for listing of future events.
A second SLC Women’s Pre-Parliament event will be held in April, 2015.
The Women’s Task Force will host a parallel event on Women’s Rights and Religion at the United Nations CSW, NYC March 17, 2015. Check the PWTF page for more information about time and location.
Post-Parliament Gatherings and Actions – Events to sustain and support social justice and interfaith engagement on behalf of women.
Can I volunteer to make the Women’s Initiative a success?
Yes! There are plenty of volunteer opportunities before, during and after the Parliament.
If you’re interested in helping out, please get in touch with us at : [email protected]
Are there any local Salt Lake City Women’s Initiative programs or events?
Yes! A Pre-Parliament gathering of 60 religiously diverse women convened in Fall, 2014 in Salt Lake, and this group is continuing to meet to help bring the Parliament and the Women’s Initiative to Salt Lake City. A second SLC Women’s Pre-Parliament event will be held in April, 2015.
If you are interested in participating, or just finding out what’s going on in SLC, you can contact local organizer, Susan Soleil [email protected] 801-554-9495
What if I need financial assistance in order to participate?
The Global Sisters Fund has been established by the Women’s Task Force and is receiving donations to further assist women’s participation by providing assistance with scholarships and travel expenses for women who are frequently under-represented in important conversations and conferences about women’s rights, spirituality and leadership including:
· Elder (ages 60 and over) and young women (ages 16-30)
· Indigenous and First Nations women
· Low income women
· Religiously, spiritually, culturally and internationally diverse women, especially those leading innovative and effective programs
· Women whose program proposals have been accepted and who require financial aid to attend.
Please check back with us soon to learn about the funding assistance application process.
And if you can afford to help out, please contribute to the Global Sisters Fund here.
Who is the Leadership and staffing of the Women’s Task Force?
The Women’s Task Force provides leadership for the Women’s Initiative and a diverse and expanding group of prominent women leaders serves as Advisors. There is also staff, an expanding Volunteer Working Group and a Salt Lake City Women’s Initiative Volunteer Group.
PARLIAMENT WOMEN’S TASK FORCE
Rev. Dr. Phyllis Curott, Parliament Vice Chair, Task Force Chair
Janaan Hashim Esq.,Trustee
Rev. Dr. Anne Benvenuti, Trustee
Maria Volkova, volunteer Program Coordinator
CURRENT ADVISORS TO THE WOMEN’S TASK FORCE
Terry Tempest Williams
Tonya Frichner, Esq.
Dr. Vandana Shiva
Molly Horan, Dir. Communications
Haley St. Paul, PWTF Assistant
Susan Soleil, SLC organizer