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Press Release

Faith and Civic Leaders to Serve on the Board of Trustees for the Parliament of the World’s Religions

CHICAGO, IL – The Parliament of the World’s Religions (PoWR), the world’s premier interfaith convening organization, welcomes nine faith, spiritual, and civic leaders to serve as members of the Board of Trustees. Rev. Traci Blackmon, Dolly Dastoor, David Hales, R. Sidney M. Helbraun, Dr. Laurel Kearns, Congressman Bobby Rush, Sharan Singh, Ann Smith, and Prof. Michael Trice began their two-year term as members of the Board of Trustees of PoWR on January 1, 2023.

These newly elected members join a diverse and dynamic group of interfaith leaders currently organizing the 9th global convening of the Parliament of the World’s Religions—the oldest, largest, and most inclusive interfaith gathering in the world—taking place in the birthplace of the modern interfaith movement, the City of Chicago, from August 14th through August 18th, 2023. The 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions is a landmark convening, celebrating the 130th anniversary of the first World Parliament of Religions and the 30th anniversary of the centennial celebration in 1993, exploring the theme of “A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom & Human Rights”.

The theme of the 2023 Convening was especially timely for Congressman Bobby Rush, the former representative of the 1st Congressional District of Illinois and a legendary figure in modern African American politics, “In the spirit of the inaugural World’s Parliament of Religions, we once again celebrate Chicago as the birthplace of the global interfaith movement. The legacy of the Parliament lives on in the City of Chicago and around the world, and I am honored to be invited to be part of this legacy. The call to conscience at the August Parliament Convening is especially timely for me, and I am sure it will resonate with communities across Chicago and the world.”

The newly elected members of the Board of Trustees join the efforts of the organization and the global interfaith community in the advancement of a mission towards a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world through interfaith dialogue. In a statement to the United Church of Christ Rev. Traci Blackmon, the Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries of The United Church of Christ affirmed this shared mission as the reason she accepted the nomination, “At the root of some of our most harmful actions against one another and creation is religious discord and misunderstanding. At that same root, healing is possible, if we seek to understand one another and unite around the universal values and principles shared by people throughout the globe, religious or not.”

The Parliament of the World’s Religions invites people of faith, conscience, and goodwill to answer the call to conscience at the 2023 Parliament Convening. Individuals and communities can register, exhibit, and sign up to volunteer for the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions today. Learn more at

Follow the Parliament on Twitter @InterfaithWorld, Instagram @InterfaithWorld and Facebook @Parliament of Religions

About The Parliament of the World’s Religions: The Parliament of the World’s Religions cultivates harmony among the world’s spiritual traditions and fosters their engagement with guiding institutions in order to achieve a more peaceful, just and sustainable world. Its origins are rooted to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where the historic first convening of the World Parliament of Religions created a global platform for engagement of religions of the east and west. Headquartered in Chicago, Il, USA, the Parliament of the World’s Religions is an international 501(c)3 NGO affiliated to the United Nations Department of Public Information.