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Fifth Parliament of World's Religions
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12/3/2009 to 12/9/2009
When: December 3rd, 2009
Where: Melbourne, Australia 

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Fifth Parliament of World’s Religions in Melbourne – December 3-9, 2009

The fifth Parliament of World’s Religions will take place in Melbourne, Australia, from December 3 through December 09, 2009.  This Parliament is projected to bring in about 10,000 people from 80 countries and attended by high level spiritual/religious people from all over the world including Dalai Lama, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and others.  Australian government is supporting this event with full enthusiasm.

The Council for a Parliament of the Worlds Religions (CPWR) has been organizing major interfaith events of global and historical significance for many decades. The very first one in 1893 became famous because of the well publicized participation of Swami Vivekananda and V. R. Gandhi. This was followed by a similar event in Chicago in 1993, Cape Town, South Africa in 1999 and Barcelona, Spain in 2004.  
The Barcelona Parliament was attended by about 30 Jains including monks, nuns, scholars, and delegates from USA, UK, and India.  This participation was a huge success in terms of making Jainism more visible to the outside world.  See fall 2004 Jain Digest.

The theme of the Melbourne Parliament, Make a World of Difference: Hearing each other, healing the earth
reflects the urgent need to act on concerns for the environment, peace, and overcoming poverty, and to cultivate awareness of our global interconnectedness.  This theme calls for action and is parallel to the teachings of Anekaantvaad and Parasparopgraho Jivanaam.  

After the horrific 9/11 event, the interfaith movement has gained a new momentum and after 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks a new urgency.  
Nonviolence (Ahimsa), Multiple Reality of Truth (Anekaantvaad), and Non-possessiveness (Aparigraha) directly relate to the theme of the Parliament.  We must represent Jainism at the Parliament where each religion/faith will have an opportunity to present their points of view as how to make the lives of fellow human beings more safe and peaceful in this increasingly violent world.  The small Jain community in Melbourne has offered to provide local guidance during this event.

As this is an electronic age, the 2009 Parliament theme, sub themes, daily schedule, call for programs, criteria for program selection and proposal forms have been put on the Parliament web site
.  This website explains various ways to participate in the Parliament including morning observances, intrareligious programs, Interreligious programs, music concerts, engagement programs, and exhibition.  One can participate as a speaker, artist, volunteer, and sponsor or as a delegate.  The current program proposal submission deadline is February 28, 2009.  
Before preparing a program proposal, we also recommend you to visit the top menu bar on the parliament website homepage.  It provides detail information on many topics in the areas of the 2009 Parliament – key topics; Registration; Program – theme, environment, event schedule; Getting Involved; Support; Resources; and FAQs.  In the Program drop down bar, there is a chapter on Environment and it contains a link for Resource List.  It will take you to Jainism Engaged Projects/ Forum on Religion and Ecology/ Jainism/ Introduction to Jainism and then to an article on Jainism and Environment by Professor Christopher Key Chapple.

A video on invitation to the 2009 Melbourne Event is also available on the Parliament website.  
To view this video, go to Resources on the top menu bar and click on video.

We request all to review this website and participate in Melbourne by submitting your proposal or in any other preferred manner.   Mr. Naresh Jain ( and 201-933-8963) and Dr. Hema Pokharna ( and 773-368-1656) of JAINA Interfaith Committee are available to help and answer any questions.  Both of them are members of the Board of Trustees of the Parliament.  Please feel free to contact them.

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