Program (37th WRC)

Saturday November 4, 2017

J. G. Hagey Hall (Humanities Theatre), University of Waterloo

THEME: My Faith and Canadian Values


10:30 AM : Doors Open

— Welcome and Registration

— Visit to World Religions Displays

11:00 AM : Welcome by the Moderator - Councillor Melissa Durrell

11:02 AM : Opening Reading from a Holy Scripture

11:04 AM : Opening Ceremony

— Unveiling of the World Religions Conference Plaque

— National Anthem of Canada - Grand Philharmonic Children’s Choir

— Introduction of Speakers and Dignitaries

11:12 AM : Introductory Remarks - Mohammad Aamir Shiekh

— Vice President, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada

11:15 AM : Messages and Greetings from Guest Dignitaries

— Honourable Bardish Chagger, Member of Parliament for the Riding of Waterloo

— Mayor Dave Jaworsky of the City of Waterloo

— Karen Redman, Regional Councillor, Region of Waterloo

— Phil Allt, Councillor, City of Guelph

— Elder Kevin Pearson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

— Gehan Sabry, Chair of Cross Cultures

THEME SESSION - "Faith and Canadian Values"

Speakers present his/her view of their respective faith on the theme (15 minutes each). Each presentation will be preceded by a scripture recitation (2 minutes).

11:35 AM : Introduction to the Theme Session — Moderator - Councillor Melissa Durrell

11:37 AM : Indigenous Spirituality Presentation

11:39 AM : Indigenous Traditions and Canadian Values – Amy Smoke

11:54 AM : Presentation of Secular Principles

11:56 AM : Humanism and Canadian Values – Doug Thomas

12:11 PM : Christian Holy Scripture Recitation

12:13 PM : Christianity and Canadian Values – Very Reverend Andrew Asbil

12:28 PM : Lunch and Social

 1:20 PM : Sikh Holy Scripture Recitation

 1:22 PM : Sikh Faith and Canadian Values – Dr. Jaspreet Kaur Bal

 1:37 PM : Jewish Holy Scripture Recitation

 1:39 PM : Judaism and Canadian Values – Dr. Daniel Maoz

 1:54 PM : Hindu Holy Scripture Recitation

 1:56 PM : Hinduism and Canadian Values – Swami Chidghan-anand Parivrajak

 2:11 PM : Islamic Holy Scripture Recitation

 2:13 PM : Islam and Canadian Values – Imam Imtiaz Ahmed

 2:28 PM : Coffee Break and Social



 2:50 PM :  Introduction to the Questions & Answers Session - Moderator - Councillor Melissa Durrell

 2:52 PM : Question and Answer Session (conducted by the Moderator)

(Panel with all speakers of different faiths and philosophies represented)

 3:32 PM : Vote of Thanks ­ Recognition of Speakers and Volunteers 

 3:35 PM : Closing Remarks — Moderator & Chair

 3:37 PM : Silent Multi­Faith Prayer — All Faiths

 3:40 PM : Adjournment and Social

(* The order of presentations was determined via random draw at the last World Religions Conference, held November 20, 2016)



Venue and Directions (37th WRC)

Humanities Theatre
J. G. Hagey Hall
University of Waterloo

200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1

The GPS coordinates: 43.4723° N, 80.5449° W

Venue of the 37th World Religions Conference : Canada 150 Special Event


The "Humanities Theatre" is located at the J.G. Hagey Hall of the University of Waterloo
in City of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

The twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo are located less than one hour west of Toronto -- Canada's largest city -- and a couple of hours from the American cities of Detroit and Buffalo via highway 401.


World Religions Conference Complementary Parking Arrangement

Sunday, November 4, 2017

Parking Lot H of the University of Waterloo.

The World Religions Conference organizing committee has made special arrangements with the University of Waterloo parking services to provide free parking to all attendees and volunteers of the conference at Parking Lot H, located directly across from the Humanities Theatre, J. G. Hagey Hall. Follow posted "World Religions Conference" parking signs to be directed to the parking lot. Vehicles with passengers my use the drop off location at the gate of Humanities Theatre, but should park in Lot 'H' as noted in the map below. 


About the Humanities Theatre:

The Humanities Theatre located in the J. G. Hagey Hall of the University of Waterloo is a state of the art, prestigious and signature performing arts centre. The World Religions Conference has been hosted in this theatre numerous years since 2001. 



Speaker Profiles (37th WRC)

Following is a line up distinguished speakers and scholars chosen to represent different faiths & philosophies at the upcoming 37th World Religions Conference on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at the Humanities Theatre, University of Waterloo. The theme for this year's event is "My Faith & Canadian Values".

Presided and Moderated by

Councillor Melissa Durrell – Waterloo

Councillor of the City of Waterloo and a brilliant event moderator. An award-winning TV anchor. Runs her own communications company. A strong believer in good communication, economic development and fiscal responsibility.  Passionate about helping people and giving them a platform to communicate their concerns. Melissa wants to make Waterloo one of the most livable cities in the world and is working hard to make that happen.

Representing Indigenous Spirituality

Amy Smoke – Waterloo

Phenomenal Mohawk member of the Turtle clan from the Six Nations of The Grand River. A mother, daughter, mature student, public speaker and active First Nations member. Speaks of her own journey with substance abuse, homelessness, incarceration, and domestic violence. Recipient of "Leading Women Building Communities" award through MPP Fife’s office. Continues to advocate for First Nations students while serving as the event coordinator at the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Center at UW.


Representing Humanism

Doug Thomas – Elmira

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

Representing Christianity

Reverend Andrew J. Asbil - Toronto

Awe-inspiring and a passionate story teller, Rev Asbil is an Ordained Anglican Priest serving as the incumbent of Church of the Redeemer in Toronto. Master of Divinity degree from University of Western Ontario. Formerly, served as parish prienst in Guelph, Acton and Oakville. Served on numerous community and Diocesan boards in both Niagara and Toronto. Considerable experience as a keynote speaker and workshop leader for Church and community conferences.

Representing Sikh Faith

Dr. Jaspreet Kaur Bal - Toronto

Professor in the Child and Youth Care program at Humber College in Toronto. She holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queen’s University, where her research focused on children’s rights and education. She is a practitioner of Sikhi. As a part of her practice she is a musician, a speaker at Sikh retreats, a community organizer and serves on the Board of Directors of the Sikh Feminist Research Institute and Kaurs United International.

Representing Judaism

Dr. Daniel Maoz - Cambridge

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

Representing Hinduism

Swami Chidghan-anand – Orlando Florida USA

Highly accomplished yogi, Swami Chidgan-anand is affiliated with the International Brahm Rishi Mission (IBM) since 1980 and with Canada Kitchener branch since 1997. Currently the Head and Spiritual Leader for Shri Shiv Dham Hindu Temple and Yoga Ashram, Orlando Florida. Formerly served as preacher at the Brahmrishi Mission of Canada and Holland. Extensively studied main Hindu scriptures such as Veda, Upanishads , Ramayana, Bhagwat Gita, Purina’s and yoga philosophy.


Representing Islam

Imam Imtiaz Ahmed – Toronto

Engaging and influential speaker and writer. Imtiaz is the Imam of Bai’tul Islam, one of the largest Mosques in Canada. Graduated in Islamic Theology and Comparative Religions (2010) in Canada. Served as a Missionary in Ghana, Africa and Ottawa, Canada. Working persistently to bridge relations at Interfaith events and appearing in media interviews. Named as the 25 most influential young Canadians by the Power and Influence Magazine.


2017: My Faith and Canadian Values

37th World Religions Conference - My Faith and Canadian Values              

Successfully held on Saturday, November 4, 2017, Humanities Theatre, University of Waterloo, Ontario

Canada is recognized globally for its values such as openness, diversity, compassion, equality and justice. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary we explored how Canadian values relate to the teachings of different faiths and philosophies. Scholars deliberated on how their respective faith or philosophy promotes and shapes values that Canada stands for.

 Moderator (37th WRC)

Message from Dignitaries (37th WRC)

Press Release - (37th WRC)

Electronic Poster (37th WRC)

Program (37th WRC)

Speaker Profiles (37th WRC)

National Anthem - (37th WRC)



National Anthem - (37th WRC)

Singing of O'Canada : National Anthem of Canada

at the 37th World Religions Conference: Canada 150 Special Event

Grand Philharmonic Children's Choir of Kitchener


The Grand Philharmonic Children’s Choir (GPCC) provides an opportunity for children to learn a variety of types of music from classical to folk to modern, and music that is representative of many countries and cultures. The children receive training in music literacy, voice production, vocal and choral techniques, and personal development.  The choir is known for its excellence in tone and musicianship. Many singers remain with the choir throughout their school years and are consistently motivated and inspired by the variety and quality of opportunities provided.

The GPCC was founded in 1987 to provide an opportunity for young children ages 7-14 to love and appreciate choral music. The children’s choir is divided into two sections: Viva for our youngest singers, ages 7-9; and, Voce for singers ages 10-14 (end of Grade 8). 

The choir holds its own concert series and regularly performs with the Grand Philharmonic Choir. The choir has also performed with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, the K-W Chamber Orchestra, Canadian tenor John McDermott, Pink Floyd, Kenny Rogers, K’naan and has performed for radio and television audiences. In the past, the choir has toured in Ontario, Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, Washington D.C., Florida, and has sung at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. 

The choir has competed at the Ontario Vocal Festival and the Kitchener-Waterloo Kiwanis Music Festival and was recommended to the National Music Festival where they received a silver. They have participated in the Queen City Children’s Music Festival in Cincinnati. The GPCC’s second CD was produced in 2013 with their own original composition, penned with Jim Papoulis, as the title track, I Will Find an Answer. The GPCC collaborated with the GPC Youth Choir in 2016 to produce A GRAND Christmas CD.

We are pleased to learn that the group has graciously agreed to perform O'Canada at the Canada 150 special World Religions Conference on Nov 4, 2017.