Speaker Profiles (39th WRC)

Following is a line up distinguished speakers and scholars chosen to represent different faiths & philosophies at the 39th World Religions Conference on Sunday, September 22, 2019 at the Humanities Theatre, University of Waterloo. The theme for this year's event is "How to Establish a Just Society". 

Presided and Moderated by

Angela Vieth (City of Waterloo Councillor)

Multifarious and compassionate, Angela is currently serving her fourth term on Waterloo City Council and Has served on numerous committees in her capacity as Councillor. She owns a small business called Your KW Host which provides custom, relocation tours. Angela and her husband John are members of St Jerome’s Catholic Community, the Jazz Room and enjoy KW Symphony concerts as well as spending time with grandchildren.

Representing Hinduism

Swami Chaitanya Jyoti – Kitchener

Brilliant Speaker and a profound thinker, Swami Chaitanya Jyoti is a disciple of H.H. Brahmrishi Shri Vishvatma Bawra Ji Maharaj. Vice President and Head Preacher of International Brahmrishi Mission Canada. Involved in every aspect of the community – secular, religious and spiritual. Untiringly industrious, highly service motivated and court-eous. Received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal Award in 2012 for outstanding and selfless service to the community and Canada.


Representing Christianity

Revd Dr. Preston Parsons – Kitchener

Highly educated and engaging. Preston obtained PhD in Christian Theology from University of Cambridge in England while serving as Preist Vicar Vicar at St. John's College, and Director of Studies at Westminster College. Served in Sacramento California and St. Mary Magdalene in Winnipeg. Recently moved to Waterloo in 2017 with his wife, Karen. Currently a Rector at St John the Evangelist, an Anglican church in downtown Kitchener.

Representing Judaism

Dr. Michael Grand - Guelph

Active for many years in Mulifaith settings, Michael Grand PhD, C.Psych has been a member of the Jewish community of Guelph for over 45 years. As a former President of Beth Isaiah Synagogue, he currently conducts religious services and classes. He is past director of graduate training in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology at the University of Guelph. Now retired with the rank of Professor Emeritus, he is the President of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

Representing Indigenous

Prof. Malcolm Saulis - Ottawa

A Well-famed Traditional Aboriginal Spiritual Teacher and Speaker. Malcolm is a Wolostoquk (Maliseet) person from the Tobique First Nation. He has been a Wilfrid Laurier professor for 35 years and a researcher in many areas of Indigenous interest. He is recognized as Circle Keeper and received teachings from many Elders. He has worked with churches and government around issues of healing and reconciliation, restorative justice, residential school survivors and indigenization.

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.

Representing Humanism

Doug Thomas – Elmira

Lifelong Huxleyan agnostic, a student of the Canadian Constitution, and an active secular humanist. As an active member of the Society of Freethinkers, he works to support local secular humanists' right to freedom from religion. As president of Secular Connexion Séculière (SCS), a national organization that lobbies for removal of systemic discrimination against atheists in Canada, he actively pursues a just society that includes non-believers.


Representing Sikhism

Navdeep Singh - Cambridge

Talented and well educated, Navdeep serves as a Chairperson and Trustee at the Siri Guru Singh Sabha Sikh Gurdwara in Cambridge. Has been helping in organizing Sikh youth camps and teaches weekly children's classes in Sikh history and Sikh spirituality at the Cambridge Gurdwara.  Currently works as a Senior Project Manager with SunLife Financials.  Holds a Bachelors of Engineering, a M.Sc. in IT, and MBA in Finance and Strategy.

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