Speaker Profiles (31st WRC)

Speaker Profiles

Distinguished Scholars of the World’s Religions and Philosophies

Presided and Moderated by
Jeff Allan
K-W’s Famous Radio Host

Famous talk radio host. Jeff has years of experience on air. Started at Toronto in 1987 and then went on to work on morning radio in Owen Sound, London, Winnipeg, Regina, Ottawa and now in Kitchener. Each day, listeners to 570 News can count on Jeff to bring the news stories everyone is talking about to the table with opinion, passion and the big questions listeners want answered.


Representing Judaism
Dr. Allan Gould - Toronto

Outstanding speaker and scholar of Judaism. Allan has a Masters in Theatre from New York University, and a Doctorate in English from York University. Has taught at York and U. of T. for a decade, and authored 42 books, published by 16 international publishers, including the highly-regarded anthology, What Did They Think of the Jews? Lectures frequently across North America on Jewish topics.


Representing Hinduism
Swami Bhagwan Shanker- Hamilton

A devout disciple and lecturer of Shri Ashutosh Maharaj who is the Head of the world-wide mission, Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan with head office in India. Born in Guyana, and migrated during early secondary school to Canada. Through guidance of his Master, Ashutosh ji, he regularly engages in spiritual discourses in many parts of the world. Electrical mechanical contractor by profession while simultaneously pursuing a path in Sanathan Dharma (Hinduism).


Representing Sikhism
Hari Nam Singh Khalsa - Toronto

Spiritual Leader, Mentor, Author, and Teacher not only within the Sikh Faith but to all people. Hari Nam Singh Khalsa hosts a nationally aired weekly TV program, “Insight Into Sikhism”, the only regularly scheduled English-language television program about Sikhism. His mission is to uplift the truth and well-being of all people. Author of  “Wisdom Shared” & “Aquarian Consciousness”,  Mr. Khalsa teaches individuals to expand beyond their self-imposed limitations.


Representing Humanism
Doug Thomas - Elmira

Retired teacher, Canadian historical fiction novelist, Doug Thomas is the President of the Society of Ontario Freethinkers and founding President of Secular Connexion Séculaire, a new advocacy group for Canadian Humanists. He is publishing editor of Canadian Freethinker magazine with essays published internationally in The United States, Europe and India. A respected Agnostic Humanist, Doug actively promotes open secularism as a means of separating Church from State in Canada.


Representing Islam
Muhammad Afzal Mirza - Mississauga

Prolific speaker and a learned scholar of world religions. Takes keen interest in youth welfare. Regularly hosts a live phone-in radio program explaining contemporary Islamic issues. Graduated from the Ahmadiyya Islamic University in 1976. Worked as an Islamic Missionary in various cities in Pakistan, USA and now in Canada. Former Vice President of the Institute of Islamic Studies in Mississauga. Presented at numerous interfaith forums throughout Canada.


Representing Christianity
Pastor Rick Pryce - Kitchener

An ordained Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, currently serving with St. Philip Lutheran Church in Kitchener. Very involved with multi-faith work, and recently appointed to the Steering Committee of Interfaith Grand River.  Represented Christianity at various multi-faith events and performed spiritual presentations at previous World Religions Conferences.  Recently published in the Lutheran Journal Consensus.  Working on his Doctor of Ministry Degree at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.


Representing Aboriginal Spirituality
Gerard Sagassige - Kitchener

Aboriginal spiritual and cultural Advisor. Gerard works within Healing of the Seven Generations, a community healing strategy and support program in Kitchener-Waterloo. An Ojibwe of the Great Mississauga Nation. Raised with belief, faith and prayers and still maintains a guidance structure from a circle of Aboriginal Elders. Life's priority focus is to seed one's healing path for the legacies of residential school era and the 60's scoop of Aboriginals.


Representing Buddhism
Sister Thich nu Tinh Quang - Hamilton

Excellent teacher. Acquired a B.A. in Philosophy, a Diploma in Human Services, majoring in Addictions and Mental Health.  Post-graduate training was at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto. Spends several months a year in Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Vietnam, with her teachers.  Her training has been in Korean and Vietnamese Zen. Sister was ordained in Vietnam by her Master, Most Venerable Thich Nhat Lien.


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