Opening Our Hearts to the World: Compassion in Action

A Pre-Parliament of the World's Religions Conversation

Sunday, September 12, 3pm to 5pm

Held virtually via Zoom

This is a time of reckoning. How will we respond? Living in a world that has been chastened by the exposure of our vulnerability, we can come together with open hearts and, with hope and compassion, build a better world through compassionate action. 


A collective of British Columbian interfaith organizations have joined together to host a space for a conversation on the topics that will be discussed at this year's Parliament of World Religions (held virtually from October 16 - 18). We recognize the importance of providing spaces for meaningful and challenging conversation that we hope will bear the fruit of change in the world.


We will approach each topic that we are exploring with the following in mind: Close your eyes and imagine a world healed from the present day “viruses” of racism, sexism, hate and bigotry, dishonesty, self-interest, and close-mindedness. What is different from right now?  What steps were taken to get there? What is needed to take these steps?" How do we build a better world through compassionate action?  


We warmly invite you to participate in this important collaborative conversation, taking place virtually on Sunday, September 12 between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m.

Zoom Connection Information

Please consider joining us at 2:30 pm for the preceding meet and greet (we encourage you to join by 2:45pm regardless, so there is an opportunity to smooth out any technical issues.


You will need the following information to join:


Meeting link: https://uri-org.zoom.us/j/88152872724

Meeting ID: 881 5287 2724

Find your local call-in number: https://uri-org.zoom.us/u/kOGh4MQK8

Draft Program Agenda

  1. Meet and Greet (begins at 2:30pm)
  2. First Nations blessing with Mary Point and opening words with Tahil Sharma, United Religions Initiative, and Acharya Dwivedi, Multifaith Action Society
  3. Guest speakers (see below) and participant-lead breakout group discussions
  4. Plenary session: sharing our insights
  5. Closing blessing
  6. Open social time (5 to 5:30pm)

Introducing our Guest Speakers, MCs and Prayer Leaders!

Acharya Dwivedi holds three Master of Arts degrees and taught in Canadian University. He chaired five conferences of Pre-Parliament of World’s Religions; and was the first Canadian to be appointed as an Ambassador of Peace by the PWR in the year 2009. He has been deeply involved for more than 40 years in Canada’s interfaith movement. His five books of poetry and five books of literary anthology are in circulation. He is on the board of several interfaith and literary organizations, including the Multifaith Action Society.

Tahil Sharma is the Regional Coordinator for North America for the United Religions Initiative. URI is a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world.

Rabbi Adam Stein grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area attending a Conservative synagogue, to which his parents still belong. He was an undergraduate at University of California, San Diego, and received his BA in Judaic Studies with minors in Theatre and Philosophy. During his college years, he spent one year studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and then spent another year in Jerusalem following graduation, at the Pardes Institute. Rabbi Stein worked for Hillel at a Los Angeles area University for a year before finally(!) deciding to go to rabbinical school. He was ordained from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles in 2009, where he also earned a masters degree in education.


After ordination, Rabbi Stein and his wife Tamar moved to Kansas City, where he was Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom. They then went to Melbourne, Australia, where for five years, he was Rabbi of the only Masorti (Conservative) synagogue in the Melbourne area, and one of two in Australia. Rabbi Stein and Tamar, along with two cute boys, Eli and Gabriel, both born in Australia, returned to North America in Summer, 2016, when he happily joined the staff of Beth Israel. He has long had passions for theatre, photography,and technology, especially Mac computers.

Maureen Jack-LaCroix, BA. MA, PhD (cand.) is an inspiring speaker, workshop facilitator and environmental educator. Studying closely with Dr. Matthew Fox and Dr. Joanna Macy, Maureen has a Masters in Creation Spirituality and Eco-Psychology from Naropa University. Her PhD in Socioecological Education from S.F.U. is informed by over 15 years of research and experience delivering community ‘sustainability’ programs for adults and collaboratively developing eco-social learning resources for teachers and students in secondary schools. As the Founder and Creative Director of Be The Change Earth Alliance, she has empowered thousands of individuals to make positive environmental behaviour change by connecting the big global issues to personal lifestyle choices.
Through BTCEA Maureen developed an adult education program of symposia and action circles, wrote the Be The Change Action Guide and produced The Great Turning community engagement events. She went on to collaborate with secondary school teachers on the iterative design and development of ‘SLC: Student Leadership For Change’ EE learning resources and teacher aides. Maureen is also working with a wide variety of businesses to bolster employee engagement through sustainability programs in the workplace. Maureen was honoured as the ‘2017 Outstanding Individual in an Organization’ by EECOM, the Canadian Environmental Educators Association, nominated as the 2018 YWCA Environmental Woman of Distinction and received the Hidden Hero award from MP Joyce Murray in 2018 for her work in environmental education.
Before dedicating her life to environmental sustainability, Maureen was the CEO and Creative Director of Jack of Hearts Productions, creating the annual Slam City Jam skateboard championships, the annual Music West Festival, managing the Tears Are Not Enough Liveaid fundraising enterprise and producing several TV music specials.

John Borrows B.A., M.A., J.D., LL.M. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Osgoode Hall Law School), LL.D. (Hons., Dalhousie, York, SFU, Queen’s & Law Society of Ontario), D.H.L, (Toronto), F.R.S.C., O.C., is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria Law School in British Columbia. His publications include, Recovering Canada; The Resurgence of Indigenous Law (Donald Smiley Award best book in Canadian Political Science, 2002), Canada's Indigenous Constitution (Canadian Law and Society Best Book Award 2011), Drawing Out Law: A Spirit's Guide (2010), Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism (Donald Smiley Award best book in Canadian Political Science, 2016), The Right Relationship (with Michael Coyle, ed.), Resurgence and Reconciliation (with Michael Asch, Jim Tully, eds.), Law’s Indigenous Ethics (2020 Best subsequent Book Award from Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, 2020 W. Wes Pue Best book award from the Canadian Law and Society Association).


He is the 2017 Killam Prize winner in Social Sciences and the 2019 Molson Prize Winner from the Canada Council for the Arts, the 2020 Governor General’s Innovation Award, and the 2021 Canadian Bar Association President’s Award winner. He was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2020. John is a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Canada.

Daniel Seaman is 20 years old and recently completed his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in British Columbia. While here, he served for 1.5 years in Vancouver and another six months in the Okanagan Valley and in Victoria. He learned a lot about different cultures during his time here and hopes to apply this knowledge to his future work and service. He is now attending Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, where he plans to major in business.

Halchigul Pattar is a Uyghur Canadian and presently lives in Greater Vancouver. She was born in the city of Turpan, East Turkistan. She studied law at Xinjiang University in the city of Urumqi and Japanese at the Preparatory School for Chinese Students to Japan in Changchun, Jilin Province, China. She also studied at the University of Shizuoka Graduate School in the International Relations Program and at the University of Osaka University in the Global Human Studies Doctoral Program. When she came to Canada in 2013, she studied English at Hansa Language Centre in Toronto, Ontario, and then at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Presently she is studying to be a Legal Administrative Assistant at the CDI College in Surrey, British Columbia and is writing a Japanese book based on her daily notes which she hopes to publish this Fall or winter.

Mary Point is an accomplished Indigenous professional that has received many awards for her work as a business woman and as a compassionate member of the community. She is a member of the Musqueam First Nation. She is currently the manager of Indigenous Relations at YVR and a passionate driver in building a new path forward. In 2017, YVR and the Musqueam people signed The Musqueam Indian Band - YVR Airport Sustainability & Friendship Agreement - a 30-year agreement, the first it's kind. The agreement includes a number of benefits including scholarships, new jobs, revenue sharing, identification and protection of archeological resources and support for ongoing operations and long-term development at YVR. In the years since the Agreement was signed, Mary has worked with nearly every YVR department to build strong, respectful relationships and establish foundations that pave the way for growth. Not only has Mary helped more than 90 Musqueam find meaningful work throughout YVR, she has developed infrastructure that ensures Indigenous representation and understanding is present throughout the business.


Presented in partnership by:

  • Multifaith Action Society

  • Global Clergy Association
  • Surrey Interfaith Council
  • Living Interfaith Sanctuary
  • Squamish Multifaith Association
  • Abbotsford Interfaith Movement
  • Planetary Resilience 
  • Northwood United Church
  • United Religions Initiative
  • Multi-faith Summit Council