Speaker Profiles (36th WRC)

Following is a line up distinguished speakers and scholars chosen to represent different faiths & philosophies at the upcoming 36th World Religions Conference on Sunday, November 20, 2016 at the Humanities Theatre, University of Waterloo. The theme for this year's event is "End-of-Life Decisions: Faith-Based Perspectives". 

Presided and Moderated by

Jan d'Ailly (Former City Councillor)

Multifarious and prolific speaker. Jan d'Ailly is a well-known former City of Waterloo Councillor. He is known for his leadership and passion on the many boards and committees to build and encourage a vibrant, compassionate and inclusive community in the region. Born to Dutch parents, Jan d’Ailly has lived and worked in the USA, Mexico, Australia, South Africa and Taiwan. He has a successful business career, and is currently actively involved with a number of early stage start-ups in the Waterloo region.

Representing Aboriginal Spirituality

Lila Bruyere

Lila Bruyere is from Couchiching First Nation. A life-long learner, she graduated with a Masters degree from Wilfrid Laurier in 2014 along with her son, attending the same program together. She has worked with addicts and alcoholics in different capacities for 15 years since 1998. Lila is an experienced speaker, who shares her experience in Residential School, which she attended this school from the age of six to fourteen. She was recently diagnosed with Cirrhosis of the liver and has lost her younger brother to cancer.


Representing Buddhism

Venerable Man Yee

Venerable Man Yee was born in Hong Kong in 1948 and was a social worker for drug addicts in Hong Kong after she graduated in 1972. Venerable Man Yee received her full ordination at Fo Guang Shan Temple North America Headquarters, Hsi Lai Temple, Los Angeles in 1992. Venerable Man Yee then went to Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Taiwan in 1998 for further studies and was assigned to service as the multifaith coordinator at Hsi Lai Temple, Los Angeles in 2000. Venerable Man Yee has traveled around the world to present teachings of Humanistic Buddhism. She is a cancer survivor and currently the Dharma instructor at the Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto in Mississauga.

Representing Judaism

Rabbi Moshe Goldman

Rabbi Moshe Goldman studied in Yeshivas in New York, Israel, Montreal and Moscow, culminating with his graduation from the Rabbinical College of America in 2005. In addition he has traveled on Chabad tours of duty in Sweden, Israel, and various cities throughout the USA, leading holiday events, youth programming and general community activism. He has taught at the Yeshiva of New Haven, CT, and was formerly an online Rabbinic authority for “Ask the Rabbi” at www.Chabad.org, the world's top ranked Jewish website. Together with his wife Rivky, in 2008 he opened the Rohr Chabad Centre for Jewish Life in Waterloo, Ontario, and since 2009 has served as the Jewish chaplain to both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.

Representing Christianity

Dr. Gail Allan

Dr. Gail Allan is Coordinator for Ecumenical, Interchurch and Interfaith Relations in The United Church of Canada. This includes involvement in national and international ecumenical and interfaith groups, as well as support for people engaged in dialogue and action in their local communities. She has a doctorate in Ethics from Emmanuel College of the Toronto School of Theology; her thesis focused on the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women as it was lived out in Canada. An active member of the United Church, she has worked for many years on issues of global and social justice, especially economic justice and justice for women.

Representing Sikhism

Dr. Devinder Pal Singh

Dr. Devinder Pal Singh, M.Sc. (Physics), Ph.D. is a teacher-researcher, prolific author, and renowned speaker. In addition to his major contributions in Science and Environment, Dr. D. P. Singh has published numerous articles on various aspects of Sikhism. His latest book 'Science and Sikhism - Conflict or Coherence' is under print. He has features in Radio talks and TV programs discussing Sikhism. He has delivered many invited talks on ‘Sikh Religion and Philosophy’ at various educational institutions internationally. He presently serves as the Director of the Center for Understanding Sikhism.

Representing Hinduism

Pandit Dwejendra Doobay

Pt Dwejendra (Deo) Doobay was born in Guyana and shortly after graduating from the University of Guyana, he came to Canada in 1991 and became the first full time priest at the London Hindu Cultural Society London Ontario where he continued his studies in Sanskrit and Vedanta. He completed his masters at University of Western Ontario. Pt Doobay has worked as a college teacher and continues to lecture at the Fanshawe College London Ontario as well as at UWO. Pandit Doobay regularly represents the Hindu Community at many interfaith events.


Representing Humanism

Karina Black

A perpetual student, Karina has been actively non-religious since 2013. For the past year she has been President of the Waterloo Atheists and Secular Humanists, and Vice President of the Society of Ontario Freethinkers, where she is devoted to providing an active community for non-religious residents of Waterloo Region. She is an advocate of scientific literacy and community engagement in government. Karina is currently pursuing an Honours Science degree at the University of Waterloo.

Representing Islam

Imam Farhan Iqbal

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. He has served as an Imam in USA and Ghana. He regularly represents Islam in various interfaith events in Canada. He is also a regular host of a live phone-in Islamic radio program, as well as programs on the Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International.


Representing the Baha’i Faith

Margaret Pemberton-Pigott

Margaret has over 30 years’ experience as an Executive Assistant to senior executives in Academia, Corporate, Legal, Manufacturing, Medical, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s). Margaret has also served in various executive roles in Rotary. Now retired, she serves the Waterloo community as a member of the multi-religious faith group Interfaith Grand River, as a puppy handler with National Service Dogs (NSD), and is an Alumnus of the Waterloo Regional Citizens’ Police Academy. She is affiliated with a Baha’i Seniors’ Community group for Southern Ontario. She has been a member of multiple local and national Baha’i administrative bodies, including the Local Spiritual Assembly of Waterloo.



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