An Interfaith Approach to Justice Work
From Alison Van Dyk and the Board of Trustees

As we look at this past year, we can see the devastating effects of earthquakes and climate instability. The Temple of Understanding has been a trailblazer in interfaith climate justice and on how climate change relates to women's issues, food sovereignty, and human rights. At the United Nations, we participate in committees and high level forums to advocate for environmental justice in international peacekeeping efforts. Our unique perspective of seeing both the details and the big picture has been informed by the many visionary women who have contributed to our organization over the past 58 years.

Women of Faith Speak Out: Towards Resetting the Global Moral Compass
Alison Van Dyk, Chung Ohun Lee, Vandana Shiva, Azza Karam, Lopa Banerjee
Parliament of the World's Religions, Toronto, 2018

We celebrate the rise of women in powerful positions who are advocating care for the earth: the plants, animals, and ecosystems of which humanity is a part. As our founder Juliet Hollister believed, we are all connected. The shake-up of so many old institutions is just part of the process of change. This is an exciting time to be involved in interfaith justice work.

Here are specific contributions made by the TOU this past year:
  1. Summer Student Internship program which teaches global citizenship
  2. UN Commission on the Status of Women conference where we convened a parallel event highlighting women's leadership and empowerment
  3. Green Attica Symposium where we focused on water rights of individuals and communities
  4. Six workshops highlighting environmental issues and women's initiatives at the Parliament of the World's Religions, where we also showed our film Roots of Change
If you have enjoyed our events, our e-mail newsletter, or our blog this year, please consider supporting our work in 2019 with your generous donations. We wish you a happy and peaceful holiday season.

Peace be with you all,

Report from the 2018
Parliament of the World's Religions
The Temple of Understanding at the Parliament, 1993-2018

This year the Temple of Understanding is proud to have worked with  environ-mental activist and food sovereignty advocate Dr. Vandana Shiva at her second Parliament, where she spoke on three of our six panels and was a major speaker in the Climate Change plenary. 

Dr. Shiva appeared on multiple panels and was increasingly warmly received, so that at her last session she spoke to a packed room. Her decades of advocacy and her passion for seed freedom and environmental justice helped Parliament participants move forward in their understanding of climate issues. Dr. Shiva's new book is entitled  Oneness Versus the 0%: Shattering Illusions, Seeing Freedom  (check it out via  Spinifex Press  or  Amazon ). 

Dr. Vandana Shiva and Grove Harris, TOU UN Representative

The TOU has been  involved in the modern Parliament since its launch in 1993 , when our founder Juliet Hollister  brought a delegation of her board and staff to the gathering and walked in the opening procession of leaders of the interfaith movement. Since then our participation has included presenting a Hollister award to Nelson Mandela in 1999; co-sponsoring a three-day symposium featuring Ela Gandhi in 2004; collaborating on an experiential program including mosaic art and dance with Chief Oren Lyons, Chief Jake Swamp, and a group of Indigenous Maori elders in 2009; and connecting our work at the United Nations with interfaith education via a panel on the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. In 2015, we were also honored to bring Vandana Shiva to her first Parliament, where many religious leaders were exposed to her work for the first time.

Highlights from our work at the 2018 Parliament included:
  • "Religion and the Work of the United Nations" with brilliant colleagues from our UN work, including Azza Karam, Denise Scotto, Levi Bautista, Lopa Banerjee, and Bruce Knotts
  • Supporting our youth representative, 2018 TOU summer intern Larkin Cleland, as he spoke on "Forging Alternatives to the Culture of Consumerism and Violence" (sponsored by TOU--India)
  • "Women of Faith Speak Out: Towards Resetting the Global Moral Compass," where Dr. Shiva spoke of the environmental and social impacts of the immense concentration of wealth from large corporate mergers
  • Chris Peters' presentation of the  powerful "Platform for Action: To Do More Than Survive, Thrive" as part of Dr. Shiva's panel on Earth Democracy


Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our videos on YouTube  Visit our blog



Visit us on the Web