The Ansari Institute is pleased to be attending and serving as a sponsor of the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions. The Parliament, which traces its roots back over a century ago to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, was originally envisioned as a way to engage with religions “of the east and the west.”
Over the years, the Parliament has convened individuals from over 200 belief systems from religious, secular, and indigenous beliefs, and has gathered in locations both globally and domestically. Past participants of the Parliament of the World’s Religions have included His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, His Holiness Eumenical Patriarch Barthalomew, and President Jimmy Carter.
The Parliament is headquartered in Chicago, IL and, after 20 years convening both domestically and abroad, the Parliament’s gathering this year will be held in its own backyard. As one of the Parliament’s key sponsors, the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion will host a panel entitled The Pen and the Sword. At this panel, the Ansari Institute and its collaborator Religions for Peace, will confer two awards.
The Nasr Book Prize is conferred by the Ansari Institute and highlights the work of scholars who reimagine the connection between religion and global affairs. This year’s prize is going to Anthony Annett for his recent publication Cathomonics which explores the connection between Catholic social thought and economic conditions and offers an alternative paradigm based in Catholic social teachings. When understood correctly and implemented effectively, argues Annett, they can and should lead to a more just, inclusive, and sustainable world.
Religions for Peace is the world’s largest multifaith NGO affiliated with the United Nations. At the Parliament, the Ansari Institute and Religions for Peace will bestow its award for lifetime service to Ravinder Kaur. Ravinder Kaur Nijjar is an interfaith consultant, educator, and advocate for women’s rights/issues. She is a member of Religion for Peace’s Advancing Gender Equality Standing Commission. Advancing gender equality is one of the strategic goals set forth by Religions for Peace in its current strategic plan.
In speaking about the Parliament, Executive Director Maham Mirza states, “what better place is there for engagement with religion than in a gathering such as this.”
In addition to attending the parliament and hosting the Pen and the Sword panel, several Ansari affiliated faculty members will be speaking on panels that address the Parliament’s Global Ethic - which includes 5 Directives. Faculty affiliate Chad Meister along with Ansari executive director Mahan Mirza will speak on Directive #2: Commitment to a Culture of Solidarity and a Just Economic Order. Whereas affiliate faculty member Robert Rockman will speak on Directive #5: Commitment to a culture of Sustainability and Care for the Earth.
Ansari affiliate faculty member, Margaret Gower will address Global Ethic Directive #3: Commitment to a Culture of Tolerance and a Life of Truthfulness. Of this opportunity she states, “I have admired the work of the Parliament of the World's Religions for years so it is very exciting to be a part of the group of scholars affiliated with the Ansari Institute who will participate in conversations about the Global Ethic. I'm especially grateful for the opportunity to participate in the conversation about tolerance and truthfulness. These are urgent questions, and religious traditions offer resources for responding together.”
Co-sponsorship and attendance at the Parliament demonstrate the Ansari Institute’s commitment beyond just the study of the world’s religions but towards a practice of engaging with global religious and secular actors. This commitment is at the heart of the work of Ansari to create an interreligious space that exemplifies and encourages the world as it should be.