Speaker Profiles (29th WRC)

Event Moderator: Denise Baker

As experienced and appealing event moderator in many fields, Denise is an integral part of many community and social events within Southern Ontario and abroad. Recently, The Canadian Consulate in Naples, Italy requested her to be the Canadian Ambassador for the Terry Fox Run - a very high honour. Denise is a sought-after entertainer who is refreshing and honest. With two international releases to her credit, her interpretations remind people of a more simplistic world.

The following is the line-up of speakers representing various faiths and philosophical traditions at the 29th World Religions Conference on the theme "Is God Relevant in Today's World", held October 24, 2009 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 26, 2008 at the University of Waterloo. The speakers are listed in this determined order.

1. Steve Higgins - Waterloo

Representing Buddhism

A lay practitioner of Buddhism. Steve originally took Refuge at the Toronto Zen Temple and trained at Riwoche Pemavajra Buddhist Temple. Also, studied at the T'ai Chi Farm in New York. A master of Yang style Taijiquan (T'ai Chi) and of various forms of energy meditations. Chief Instructor at Cold Mountain Internal Arts in K-W, and is on the executive of various Taijiquan organizations in North America. Published numerous articles internationally.

2. Dan Barker - Madison, WI, USA

Representing Humanism (Atheists and Agnostics)

A prominent American atheist activist who served as a Christian preacher and musician for 19 years, but left Christianity in 1984. Dan is the co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, an American civil rights organization that advocates free-thought and state and church separation. In addition to his humanitarian efforts with Amnesty International, Dan has appeared in dozens of TV and Radio forums debating issues related to atheism.

3. Dr. Malcolm Saulis - Waterloo

Representing Aboriginal Spirituality

A Well-famed Traditional Aboriginal Spiritual Teacher and Speaker. Malcolm Saulis is a Malecite Indian from the Tobique First Nation. A social work educator at Wilfrid Laurier. Professor for 25 years and a researcher of aboriginal interest. Recognized as Circle Keeper and received teachings from many Elders. Worked with churches, government and communities around issues of restorative justice, residential school issues, child welfare, health, suicide and many healing strategies.

4. Dr. Richard Crossman - Waterloo

Representing Christianity

An accomplished presenter and academic. Richard is the retired dean of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary and is celebrated for his cross-disciplinary work which includes significant forays into the world of science and religion. Qualifications include membership on the Faith and Witness Commission of the Canadian Council of Churches and being selected as a representative of that Council to the 2007 World Council of Churches international biotechnology conference in South Africa.

5. Hari Nam Singh Khalsa - Toronto

Representing Sikhism

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. Founded the Khalsa Academy of Sikh Education and Gurdwara Miri Piri Sahib in Mississauga. His mission is to uplift the truth, well-being, peace and the natural essence of all people.

6. Rabbi Lori Cohen - Toronto

Representing Judaism

A Jewish scholar and a strong advocate of interfaith relations, Lori received ordination from Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and Cincinnati, Ohio. Former Associate Rabbi at Temple Sinai Congregation. Presently teaching at several positions at: Tannenbaum CHAT, Temple Shalom in Waterloo; Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care; Jewish Information Course of Toronto. Co-chaired Habitat for Humanity's Women's Faith Build.

7. Naseem Mahdi - Toronto

Representing Islam

Naseem is the Missionary In-charge and Senior Vice President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at, Canada. Graduate of Islamic Studies, with a keen interest in world religions. Served the Muslim Communities in Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Canada. Chief Editor of the Ahmadiyya Gazette. Recipient of Governor General's Award for Community service. Strong proponent of interfaith dialogue, who has traveled across Canada each year to participate in multi-faith events.

8. Chandrakant Kothari - Guelph

Representing Hinduism

A businessman, who has been involved in the local social, economic, cultural, spiritual and political issues. President of Brahmarishi Mission of Canada, founding member of Spiritual Heritage Education Network, a long time Rotarian, and an executive of the Guelph Provincial PC Party. Regular column writer on spirituality in Guelph Mercury. Received numerous awards from the Lions International, Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce and from Governor General for Outstanding Community Service.



2009: Is God Relevant in Today's World

Is God Relevant in Today's World

29th World Religions Conference

Held Saturday, October 24, 2009 (10:00 am ~ 6:00 pm)
Humanities Theatre, J. G. Hagey Hall, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Speakers of the 29th World Religions Conference.