Speaker Profiles (30th WRC)

Event Moderator: Gary Doyle
K-W's Famous Radio Host

A 34-year veteran of the airwaves, Gary is heard daily in Kitchener-Waterloo on 570 News. “The Gary Doyle Show” is known as the voice of the Waterloo Region. Gary brings an engaging yet non-confrontational approach to a variety of topics including lifestyle, religion, money, health, finance and more. The father of two grown sons, Gary and his wife Brenda plan on traveling and spending more time together. When it comes to his show "great conversation trumps interviewing anytime."


The following is the line-up of speakers representing various faiths and philosophical traditions selected for the 30th World Religions Conference on the theme "Keeping Faith Alive in Contemporary Society", scheduled for October 16, 2010 at the prestigious Humanities Theatre, J. G. Hagey Hall, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The Order of speakers was determined via random draw held during the last event on October 24, 2009 at the University of Waterloo. The speakers are listed in this determined order.

1. Chander Khanna - Toronto

Representing Hinduism

Scholar on Hinduism, Chander Khanna is the VP of the Hindu Institute of Learning. Serves on the Spiritual Committee of the Associations of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies. Convener of the Sanskrit Vidya Parishad Lectures Founding member of the Toronto Local Societies Initiative under a Templeton Foundation Grant. Contributing Editor of the Interfaith Unity News. Given key-note addresses on Eastern Philosophical traditions and has participated in international symposiums in several countries.

2. Stuart Bechman - California, USA

Representing Humanism (Atheists and Agnostics)

Scholar and speaker on the western Enlightenment and the rise of reason and modernity, Stuart serves as president of Atheist Alliance International, an umbrella organization of national freethought organizations around the world. Serves as a board member of the Secular Coalition for America as well as on the National Adivsory Council of Americans United. Holds Master’s degree in Sociology from California State University with specialization in Religion and Large Organizations.

3. Dr. Daniel Maoz Kitchener

Representing Judaism

Engaging speaker and Jewish scholar, Daniel is member of both Orthodox and Reform Jewish communities of Kitchener-Waterloo. Professor of two university Jewish Studies programs. An active volunteer for the Chevra Kadisha (ritual burial) and for the YMCA Cross-Cultural Host Program over the past several years. Holds a Ph.D from France and M.A. in History. Widely published and internationally presents his research in Jewish Studies.

4. Charles Van Alphen - Waterloo

Representing Christianity

An accomplished presenter and academic. Charles is a retired elementary teacher and school principal. Taught courses for the Faculty of Education and served as a religion consultant. Presently at St. Michael RC Parish in Waterloo as a parish school liaison. Leads retreats for the reception of sacraments. Prison chaplain at the Grand Valley Institution for Women. Married to Debby and is a proud father of six children and 3 grandchildren.

5. Dr. Christopher Ross - Waterloo

Representing Buddhism

Recognized academic scholar. Dr. Ross, PhD is a counselling psychologist and associate professor in the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University, in the field of the psychology of religion with a special interest in how individuals' personalities influence what they look for in religion. A lifelong meditator, eleven years ago Chris took a Buddhist turn, learning first Vipassana and then receiving teachings in Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

6. Walter Cooke - Hamilton

Representing Aboriginal Spirituality

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 20 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.

7. Mubarak A. Nazir - Toronto

Representing Islam

Vice President and Missionary Incharge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Canada. Prolific speaker who regularly appears on broadcast media, and has lectured at numerous forums explaining contemporary Islamic issues. Mubarak is a graduate with a scientific background. After dedicating his life, served as Missionary both in Africa and Canada. Principal of various Ahmadiyya Islamic Schools in Africa and most recently of the Ahmadiyya Islamic Institute in Canada.

8. Kulvir Singh Gill - Toronto

Representing Sikh Religion

Brilliant speaker and scholar. Kulvir works as a Management Consultant, running his own independent consulting and coaching practice. Worked in the local Sikh-Canadian community with the Sikh Centennial Foundation, Spinning Wheel Film Festival, and Toronto Sikh Youth Retreats. Currently launching the Sikh Arts Council and the Seva Food Bank. Serves on the Board of Directors for the William Osler Health System Foundation and Habitat For Humanity in Brampton.