Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions

2004 Parliament News

August 20, 2003

Greetings of Peace! It is with great excitement that we send this most recent email update on the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.  In preparation for the 2004 Parliament, the Council will be holding several pre-Parliament events in cities throughout the world.  We are sending you this email in the hopes that you will be able to attend one of these wonderful events.  If an event is not being held in your area, but you would be interested in exploring the possibility of holding a pre-Parliament event in your town, please contact CPWR staffmember Sheila Thornton at (312) 629-2990 ext. 242 or email her at


Before we list the dates and locations of each pre-Parliament event, we’d like to provide you with some background on the UNESCO Centre of Catalonia, one of the Council’s two primary partners for the 2004 Parliament of the World’s Religions.

The UNESCO Centre of Catalonia, based in Barcelona, Spain, seeks to contribute to international peace and cooperation through the promotion of dialogue and collaboration in the fields of education, science, culture and communication. The UNESCO Centre of Catalonia has a long history of working in the area of human rights, and regularly sponsors conferences and dialogues on the role of religions in creating cultures of peace.

For more information about the international publications, conferences, and local community-building efforts of the UNESCO Centre, please visit their website at

The staff of the UNESCO Centre work to extend the interreligious movement in Barcelona, engaging with religious and spiritual communities to build interreligious understanding and cooperation.  It is their coordination, along with the local religious and spiritual communities, that will enable the 2004 Parliament to have a positive, community-building effect on the larger metropolitan area, as well as Spain as a whole.

In order to better understand some of some of the local dynamics and issues related to  Barcelona's local religious and spiritual communities, we recommend that you read "What will the 2004 Parliament of the World’s Religions Mean for Barcelona?, an article written by Francesc Rovira of the UNESCO Centre of Catalonia and published in a terrific interreligious journal entitled Interreligious Insight.  You can find a copy of this article online at

And now, for the listing and descriptions of the upcoming pre-Parliament events for this Fall.

Nurturing Interfaith Opportunities:  From Southern California – To the World

Join more than 55 Southern California interreligious organizations as they hold a retreat to celebrate the interrreligioous movement in Southern California, and to prepare for the 2004 Parliament of the World’s Religions.

The Los Angeles Pre-Parliament event will be held from Friday, August 22, 5 pm until Sunday, August 24, 2003, 4 pm at Hsi Lai University ( which is located at 1409 N. Walnut Grove Ave, Rosemead, California, USA.

The weekend will include opportunities for participants to do the following:

* Share interreligious highlights, successes, and best practices   
* Enjoy interreligious dialogue, fellowship, music, information, and resources  
* Experience diverse worship and meditation practices (optional participation)
* Share our experiences, visions, and hopes   
* Learn details about the 2004 Parliament in Barcelona, Spain
For further information on the Los Angeles pre-Parliament event, please contact Sandra Comeau at (760) 941-7022 or by email at


In preparation for the 2004 Parliament, the religious and spiritual communities of  Barcelona will be hosting their first pre-Parliament event on Thursday, October 16, 2003.   An expected 1,000 people from throughout Spain, including participants from every major local religious and spiritual community, are expected to attend this exciting one-day event. The program will include opportunities for intra- and inter-religious dialogue, prayer and reflection, as well as music and dance from many of Barcelona’s diverse communities.  Participants will learn about the 2004 Parliament event and the many lead-up activities during the coming year.

The event is being planned by one of the Council's partner organizations, The UNESCO Centre of Catalonia, in conjunction with the religious and spiritual communities of Barcelona.  For more information, please contact the Centre at (34) 93 458 95 95 or via email at


The Chicago pre-Parliament event will take place at the State of Illinois Center, Sunday afternoon, November 16, from 12:30 to 5:30pm.  The program will include reflection and ritual, programs and dialogues and performances of music and dance.  Information about plans for the Barcelona 2004 parliament and how to get involved in the work of the Council will be available.  

For more information on the Chicago pre-Parliament event, please contact CPWR staff member Sheila Thornton at (312) 629-2990 ext. 242 or via email at


The second pre-Parliament event in the San Francisco Bay Area, co-sponsored by the Bridge Cooperation Circle and Pathways to Peace, will take place November 16, 2003, at St. Aidan’s Church, 101 Gold Mine Drive, San Francisco.  The day will include opportunities for you to:

* Participate in diverse communities’ reflection and ritual
* Explore the teachings of your own traditions that bear on the situation of refugees locally and around the world
* Share insights from various religious and spiritual traditions
* Hear about the latest plans for the 2004 Parliament and how you can become involved
* Share a meal with all participants to break the fast of Ramadan.

A third Bay Area pre-Parliament event will take place February 29, 2004 in the South Bay. Save the date and plan to attend!
For more information or to register for the November event, please contact Rowan Fairgrove at

DELHI, INDIA --  DECEMBER 7-10, 2003

The New Delhi pre-Parliament event will be a four-day conference, including opportunities for intrafaith and interfaith discussions, the signing of a declaratory statement, visits to religious sites, and meetings with community leaders.  A valedictory address will be given by H. H. the Dalai Lama, and the inaugural address will be given by the President of India. Over 300 concerned and committed people from all over India and the world will attend.  Please note that reservations and a fee are required for the pre-Parliament event in Delhi.  The deadline for registrations is August 31, 2003.  You may download a registration form from
For more information on the Delhi pre-Parliament event, please contact Sheila Thornton at (312) 629-2990 ext. 242  or via email at


* Brussels, Belgium
* Cape Town, South Africa
* 25 in Catalonia
* Denpasar, Bali
* Detroit, Michigan, USA
* London, England, United Kingdom
* Seattle, Washington, USA
* Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
* Montreal, Quebec, Canada  (Post Parliament event)



If you are interested in offering a presentation, workshop, or performance at the 2004 Parliament, you must complete a Call for Programs. This document was issued early in July and is now available on the CPWR website ( in English, Spanish, and Catalan. We are exploring translations into other languages, including French, German, Arabic, and Hindi.

Programs of many types will be considered, including lectures, academic papers, seminars, panel discussions, religious or spiritual observances, workshops, training sessions, and artistic performances.  All proposals will be evaluated by a panel of international advisors and recommendations will come to a task force composed of staff and advisors from CPWR and the UNESCO Centre of Catalonia.

Programs and presenters will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

* Does the program explore or relate to the theme of the 2004 Parliament -- Pathways to Peace: the wisdom of listening, the power of commitment?
* Does the program contribute to the overall balance of the Parliament event in terms of religious and spiritual traditions, new and well-known voices, gender, region, and academic and experiential formats?
* Does the presenter demonstrate the capacity to successfully engage participants in the topic?

All presenters must agree to adhere to the principles of the Parliament and of respectful dialogue, which include non-proselytizing, a willingness to engage in interreligious dialogue, and a commitment to present potentially divisive topics from a variety of viewpoints.

Regular programs will be 90 minutes in length, although a limited number of other time formats are possible. In addition, a limited number of symposia (1–3 day series of programs exploring a particular topic in depth) will also be considered.

The first review panel will meet in September, with ongoing reviews until the final submission deadline of February 15, 2004.  The finalized program will be available on-line in June 2004 to enable registered participants to review the full offering before they arrive in Barcelona.

If you wish to submit a program proposal, you can download the Call for Programs from the website, print it and send it in by mail or fax to one of the addresses below.  For more information, please read the full Call for Programs or contact the program staff at the following addresses (depending on your location)

Outside Spain:

Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions
P.O. Box 1630
Chicago Illinois 60690  
Fax: (312) 629-2991

Within Spain:
UNESCO Centre of Catalonia
Mallorca, 285
08037  Barcelona
Fax: (34) 93-457-5851


We hope you've enjoyed receiving this CPWR electronic update.  Your comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome.

P.S. The next deadline to register for the 2004 Parliament is November 1, 2003.  After this, the individual and group fees will increase.  Please register to attend the 2004 Parliament before November 1, 2003 to take advantage of the lower registration rates!

In Partnership......

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR)


The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR)
70 E. Lake, Suite 205
Chicago, IL  60601
(312) 629-2990 ext.

The mission of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions is to cultivate harmony between the world's religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its other guiding institutions in order to achieve a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.