Greetings from Arthur Potts, MPP (35th WRC)

November 1, 2015

To the Participants and Organizers of the 35th World Religions Conference

I am sorry I cannot join you on what promises to be a very special day. I am humbled by your invitation to participate, and I thank you for the opportunity to send greetings on behalf of the Province of Ontario, and the people of Beaches-East York.

I commend the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at – a group with a strong and constructive presence in my riding – for hosting such a unique event, a multi-faith event that brings together people from the world’s major religions to speak on a common topic from the point of view of their respective traditions, faith, and philosophies, all in a spirit of peace, understanding, and, most importantly, mutual respect: in short, “Love for all, Hatred for none.”

Such communal exploration and cross-cultural discussions encourage better understanding among citizens, and promote a harmonious co-existence among the members of Ontario’s and Canada's cultural mosaic.

I hope you all enjoy and benefit from this wonderful opportunity to exchange views and learn from each other. 

On behalf of my government and my constituents, I wish you all a wonderful conference!

 

Arthur Potts, MPP

Beaches-East York

Speaker Profiles (35th WRC)

Following is a line up distinguished speakers and scholars chosen to represent different faiths & philosophies at the upcoming 35th World Religions Conference on Sunday, November 1, 2015 at the River Run Centre. The theme for this year's event is "Tackling Radicalization in Faiths"

Presided and Moderated by

Craig Norris (Radio Host)

Craig Norris currently hosts the highly-rated CBC Radio 1 shows, The Morning Edition and In The Key of C. His 15-year broadcasting career began at CTV where he co-hosted The Chatroom, and was a music reporter for etalk! At CBC, he's also hosted The Craig Norris Hour, The R330, Laugh Out Loud!, CBC Radio 2 Drive, As It Happens and critically-acclaimed current affairs show, Know Your Rights.

Representing Humanism (Atheists and Agnostics)

Doug Thomas - Elmira

An extensive writer, Doug is a life-long agnostic and an active Secular Humanist since 2002. As Past President of The Society of Ontario Freethinkers, and President of Secular Connexion Séculière, he advocates consistently for humanist rights and separation of church and state. He also works advocates for the inclusion and equitable treatment of atheist students in local schools. In 2013, he was nominated, for the J.S. Woodsworth Award for Human Rights and Equity.

Representing Sikhism
Simerneet Singh - Chicago (USA)

Brilliant Orator. Born and raised in Chicago, Simer studied and learned the practical and spiritual applications of Sat Sri Guru Granth Sahib under Sikh elders through the practice of meditation, known as Simran. Travels extensively throughout North America teaching English-speaking audiences (both Sikh and non-Sikhs), about Simran through the teachings in Sat Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Works full-time as President of Jojo Modern Pets, an ecommerce and manufacturing company.

Representing Islam
Imam Farhan Iqbal - Toronto

Articulate and powerful. Farhan is the Imam of Bai'tul Islam, one of the largest Mosques in Canada. Graduated in Islamic Theology and Comparative Religions (2010) from the Ahmadiyya Institute of Islamic studies. Served as Missionary of Islam in USA and Ghana. Represented Islam in various interfaith events in Canada. Routinely hosts a live phone-in Islamic radio program, as well as hosted programs on Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International.

Representing Christianity
Rev. John Buttars – Guelph


Cultured Raconteur. Minister (retired) of Harcourt United Church in Guelph with an academic background in history and theology as well as hospital chaplaincy. John served for over 30 years as a Minister where he sought to deepen spiritual and communal life within Harcourt and social justice in the wider community. After semiretirement since 2006, he continues along the same focus. His immediate family traces ancestry to Europe and India.

Representing Aboriginals
Walter Cooke - Hamilton


Inspiring Speaker. Walter, an Elder/Counsellor, Ojibway-Cree of the Bear Clan. He works for De dwa da dehs nyes Aboriginal Health Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. Has been doing traditional healing work for over 25 years. His teachings come from listening to elders and in large, from his own way of life and that of his parents. Facilitates a Healing Journey Program at the Aboriginal Health Centre. Addressed numerous interfaith events.

Representing Judaism
Dr. Daniel Maoz – Cambridge


Engaging speaker and Jewish scholar. Daniel is member of both Orthodox and Reform Jewish communities in Kitchener-Waterloo. Scholar-in- Residence at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Wilfrid Laurier University and a Research Associate for Concordia University, Montreal. Holds a Ph.D. from France and M.A. in History. Widely published and internationally presents his research in Jewish Studies.

Representing Hinduism
Dr. Praveen Saxena – Guelph

Brilliant Presenter. Professor at the University of Guelph and the director of the Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation, which specializes in saving endangered plant species from extinction. Praveen also researches interconnections among nature, science and spirituality. As the Hindu representative of the Multi-Faith Resource Team of the University of Guelph and the Hindu Society of Guelph, he organizes interactive discussions on the philosophy and science of Hinduism.

 

2015: Tackling Radicalization in Faiths

35th World Religions Conference

Held Sunday, November 1, 2015 | River Run Centre, Guelph, Ontario, Canada                         

Videos of the Entire Conference are available here

Singing O'Canada at the Opening Ceremony: 35th World Religions Conference

National President Lal Khan Malik Delivering Introductory Remarks: 35th World Religions Conference

 

Canada's Largest Multi Faith Event

The 35th World Religions Conference was successfully held on November 1, 2015 at the River Run Centre, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.  Scholars from various religions and philosophical traditions participated.

The World Religions Conference (WRC) is a multi-faith event which brings together well-known scholars from the world’s major religions to speak on a common topic from the point of view of their respective religious traditions. For thirty years, the WRC has served as an invaluable forum for different religious and ethnic communities to gather in the spirit of tolerance, peace, cooperation, and understanding. The WRC serves the noble purpose of educating members of the community regarding interesting and relevant topics by providing a platform where all major religions can pool their collective wisdom and teachings regarding the topic. Continually on the rise in terms of organizational standards, quality of content, and attendance, the WRC has become the largest multi-faith event of its kind in Canada.

With its ever-growing profile in the Waterloo/Wellington Region and Canadian society in general, the WRC has become a central meeting place for religious leaders and their communities. The conference has had the honour of being recognized by prominent figures including the Prime Minister of Canada, and the Chief Justice of Canada, in addition to dozens of other local, provincial and national leaders.

Participating Religions and Philosophical Traditions:

Aboriginal Spirituality, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, and Humanism (Atheism and Agnostics)

Theme for 2015 conference : Tackling Radicalization in Faiths

Radicalization of followers of faiths and philosophical traditions has become a global issue and concern for all of humanity. The conference explored how different faith and philosophical groups tackle radicalization of the followers. The conference further explored why radicalization is on the rise and what are the underlying causes of this phenomena to occur globally.

Format of Event

This year’s conference ran from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm and consist of three sessions:

(a) Opening Session:  Opening Ceremony, introduction to this year's theme, introduction by the speakers of their respective faiths (3-minutes each) followed by greetings from dignitaries

(b) Theme Session: To discuss the topic wherein each speaker was given 13 minutes followed by a 4-minute recitation from the Holy Scripture presentation by members of the faith group.

(c) Concluding Session: A 45-minute interactive session to allow speakers to respond to questions from the audience.

 

Interfaith Interaction and Social Time: 35th World Religions Conference

 

For more info call:  1-877-INFO-WRC


Program (35th WRC)

Sunday, Novemeber 1, 2015

River Run Centre, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

THEME: Tackling Radicalization in Faiths

Presided and Moderated by Craig Norris (Radio Host)

OPENING SESSION

10:00a Doors Open

— Welcome and Registration
— Complimentary Brunch and Social
— Visit to World Religions Displays

10:30a Opening World Religions Multi Media Presentation

10:40a Welcome by the Presiding Chair

— Craig Norris, Radio Host

10:44a Opening Reading from a Holy Scripture

10:47a Opening Ceremony

— Introduction of Speakers and Dignitaries
— Unveiling of the World Religions Conference Plaque
— Singing of O'Canada - National Anthem of Canada - Lead by Marhee Clifton

11:00a Introductory Remarks

— Lal Khan Malik, National President,

Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada

11:05a Speaker’s Introductory Remarks *

11:06a — Humanism: Doug Thomas – Elmira
11:09a — Sikhism: Simerneet Singh – Chicago
11:12a — Islam: Imam Farhan Iqbal – Toronto
11:15a — Christianity: Rev. John Buttars – Guelph
11:18a — Aboriginals: Walter Cooke – Hamilton
11:21a — Judaism: Dr. Daniel Maoz – Cambridge
11:24a — Hinduism: Dr. Praveen Saxena – Guelph

11:27a Messages and Greetings from Guest Dignitaries (Local, Regional and National Leaders)

— Lloyd Longfield, MP Elect (Guelph)
— Honarable Dave Levac, MPP (Brant) and Speaker of Ontario Assemply
— Bob Delaney, MPP (Mississauga-Streetsville)
— Gila Martow, MPP (Thornhill)
— Councillor Phil Allt - City of Guelph
— Councillor Jan Liggett - City of Cambridge
— Councillor Zeeshan Hamid - City of Milton

12:00p Break Time and Social Interactions

— Complimentary Lunch Service

THEME SESSION - "Tackling Radicalization in Faiths"

Seven World Faith representatives and an Atheist philosopher will present his/her view of their respective faith on the theme (13 minutes each). Each speech will be followed by a spiritual scripture recitation presentation (4 minutes).

1:00p Introduction to the Theme Session — Moderator

1:02p Tackling Radicalization in Humanists — Doug Thomas
1:15p Presentation of Secular Principles — Society of FreeThinkers

1:19p Tackling Radicalization in Sikhs — Simerneet Singh
1:32p Sikh Holy Scripture Recitation — Local Sikh Community

1:36p Tackling Radicalization in Muslims — Imam Farhan Iqbal
1:49p Islamic Holy Scripture Recitation - Ahmadi Muslims

1:53p Tackling Radicalization in Christians — Rev. John Buttars
2:06p Christian Holy Scripture Recitation — Christian Community

2:10p Tackling Radicalization in Aboriginals — Walter Cooke
2:23p Aboriginal Holy Scripture Recitation — Aboriginal Community

2:27p Coffee Break — Complimentary Refreshments and Social

2:52p Tackling Radicalization in Jewish — Dr. Daniel Maoz
3:05p Jewish Holy Scripture Recitation — Local Jewish Community

3:09p Tackling Radicalization in Hindus — Dr. Praveen Saxena
3:22p Hindu Holy Scripture Recitation — Local Hindu Community

INTERACTIVE & CONCLUDING SESSION

3:26p Announcing rules of the Q/A Session — Moderator

3:28p Open Question & Answer Session

— with all speakers of different faiths and philosophies

4:23p Vote of Thanks - Recognition of Speakers and Volunteers

— Fwad Malik, President WRC Organizing Committee

4:27p Closing Remarks — Moderator & Chair

4:29p Silent Multi-Faith Prayer — All Faiths

4:30p Social Interaction and Adjournment

(* The order of speeches was determined via random draw at the last World Religions Conference, held Sept 28, 2014)