Do you have a spiritual practice, religious faith, or ethical philosophy that informs your relationship to the environment?
How do your spiritual leanings strengthen your capacity to lead a life of commitment for our earth community?
What practical tools or spiritual practices do you use to strengthen your personal well being as you seek to heal the earth?
Would you like insight into the environmental perspectives of other world religions?
Please join our distinguished global panel for an evening of interfaith dialogue and Q&A, centered on the relationship between spiritual practice and climate action, on Friday, May 1 at the University of Toronto's Multi-faith Centre (Koffler House bldg, 2nd floor | 569 Spadina Ave | map).
Doors open at 7:00pm. Panel presentation at 7:30. Admission is $10 at the door (or pay what you can). RSVP to guarantee a seat.
Pir Zia Inayat-Khan (U.S.) is a scholar and teacher of Sufism in the lineage of his grandfather, Hazrat Inayat Khan. He is the president and spiritual leader of the Sufi Order International and founder of Seven Pillars House of Wisdom. He established the Suluk Academy, a school of contemplative study with branches in the United States and Europe. Pir Zia holds a doctoral degree in Religion from Duke University, is a recipient of the U Thant Peace award, and is a Lindisfarne Fellow. His book Caravan of Souls: An Introduction to the Sufi Path of Hazrat Inayat Khan was published in 2013, and his book Saracen Chivalry: Counsels on Valor, Generosity and the Mystical Quest was published in 2012.
Pir Zia is also leading a two-day, intensive workshop retreat in Toronto titled
Awakening Your Mystic Heart
and will talk as part of an evening concert, art exhibits and presentation at the
Aga Khan Museum and
Ismaili Centre Toronto celebrating the inter-cultural and inter-spiritual gifts
of a unique age, titled
Merging Oceans: The Art, Music & Spirit of Mughal India.
Gopal Patel (U.K.) heads the Bhumi Project, an initiative that works with the international Hindu community to raise awareness about environmental concerns. One focus is addressing environmental problems faced in pilgrimage sites in India, including Dwarka, Rishikesh and Puri. In February 2014 the Project organised the first ever international Hindu Environment Week. Bringing together numerous partners, Bhumi saw over 3,000 people taking part. The Project is based at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies with an additional office in Mumbai, India.
Dennis O'Hara (Canada) is a faculty member of the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michaels College, and the Director of the Elliott Allen Institute for Theology and Ecology, directing many theses on various aspects of eco-theology and ethics. He is also an associate member of the graduate faculty at the School for the Environment at the University of Toronto where he has co-taught courses on the environment and health. Since 2004, he has been a core faculty member of the certificate programme in Corporate Social Responsibility at the University of St. Michaels College. Dr. O'Hara has delivered popular and academic lectures in Canada, the USA, Europe and Korea on healthcare, ethics, ecological spirituality, and ecological theology.
Lucy Cummings is the Executive Director of Faith & the Common Good, where she helps Canada's diverse faith communities contribute to greener, healthier, more resilient neighborhoods. Previously, she taught global sustainability politics at the University of Hong Kong and led Seacology UK, a non-profit group devoted to community-based island biodiversity protection. Lucy holds a Bachelor's degree in economics, a Master's in religious ethics, and a Ph.D. in global politics. She is privileged to work with passionate volunteers dedicated to climate justice from a wide variety of Canadian faith communities.
Judith Stamp is a geographer, writer and retired academic with an ongoing commitment to issues of environmental sustainability and social justice. She grew up under apartheid in South Africa in the 1950s, and returned to Southern Africa in the 1990s to do PhD fieldwork in rural Zimbabwe. Her thesis was on agroforestry—the use of trees in the village farming system (see www.judithstamp.ca). Judith is currently writing a memoir, Africa Calling. She was initiated into the Sufi Order by Pir Vilayat in 1980 at the Abode of the Message.
Michelle Singh is an Interfaith Minister who is committed to bringing eco-spirituality into mainstream popular culture. To this end, she is a volunteer Hike Leader for the Rouge Park where she designs and leads hikes intended to help individuals deeply connect to nature’s inherent energy. She is a facilitator for the Pachamama Alliance’s “Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream” symposium that is committed to facilitating a human presence on Earth that is environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling. Michelle practices Entrepreneurial Ministry, responding to the needs of the communities around her. She is a member of The Interfaith Temple, New York, and an Associate Minister with the Bancroft Spiritual Centre, Ontario. In 2009, Michelle co-founded a Spiritual Dialogue Circle, with participants from several faith and non-faith backgrounds engaging in respectful dialogue on a monthly basis. Michelle sits on the Toronto Steering Committee for World Interfaith Harmony Week that won Third Prize in 2015 for their outstanding, diverse program of events including a Green Rule Hike in the Rouge Park.
Rita Bijons writes, “Throughout the many years that I had the privilege, joy, and honour to teach young children, I always believed that they had a bright future ahead of them. Once I retired, I had the time to read, and to follow the science of climate change. Now that I know what has been unfolding, intensively, in the space of my lifetime, I am profoundly distressed by the perilous future before all children, and before our companion species. It is on our watch, now, there remains this slim chance to make the profound change, needed as rapidly as possible, to assure the least perilous future for life. We have the solutions. We need the political will to safeguard our common future. We need climate leadership.”
Zul Kassamali has worked tirelessly to overcome prejudices and to right social injustices, not through angry words or retribution, but through positive action. He has over 40 plus years of solid experience in establishing, managing and working with not-for-profit, interfaith and other community organizations, sitting on many boards, commissions and councils. He currently serves as president of the Toronto Area Interfaith Council, co-chair of the RCMP Diversity Council, president of the Alliance for the Advancement of Pluralistic Societies (1NAAS), and in many other roles. He is the recipient of many awards including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, Premier of Ontario’s Community Service Award, and the Toronto Police Services Excellence Achievement Award.
Leslie Mezei, a Holocaust survivor, has been a member of the Sufi Order International for 30 years, and a Minister of its Universal Worship Service for the last 20. He has long been active in interfaith and interspiritual organizations, has published regular newsletters, and has just produced a history of interfaith activities in the Toronto area and a directory of over 60 organizations. He has been a facilitator of the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream symposium of the Pachamama Alliance for the last six years, with the aim to have a human presence on Earth that is “environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling.”