PWR | STATEMENT | Peacebuilding in Jerusalem | Saturday 9 December 2017

[Edited extract from public address]

At the Parliament of the World’s Religions, we honor the committed and courageous justice builders and peacemakers on the ground, from all beliefs and communities, whose incredible work has shown us that this conflict need not perpetually tear us apart. 

We are alarmed by the decision of the President of the United States to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. We are distressed by the escalating tensions in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that this decision is causing.

We entreat all parties to engage in strategies that avoid further provocations, that give the highest regard for the value of every human life, and that envision a future of non-violence, reconciliation, and justice as the most effective route to peace.

To them we say: we are grateful for your solidarity with those who are voiceless and powerless. Despite the odds, you give us hope. With your actions, we believe that there can still be reconciliation, justice and peace -- a possibility rooted in the testimony and commandments of our religious traditions. You who promote and work for justice and peace continue to be an inspiration to us and to all those whose lives you touch.

From the Parliament of the World's Religions Dr. Larry Greenfield, Executive Director
and Dr. Robert P. Sellers, Chair of the Board of Trustees 
Organisers are planning for a Parliament of the World’s Religions to welcome more than 10,000 people of more than 80 nations, from more than 200 unique spiritual traditions at this 7th convening. How will you be there?
Be Supportive by well-wishing organisers and participants, organise local pre-PWR events, pledge your individual or group attendance BY REGISTERING or MAKE A DONATION.
Parliament of the World's Religions (PWR)
70 East Lake Street, Suite 205, Chicago, IL 60601

MAV | PERFORMANCE | Sthithi: We Stand, We Belong | Saturday 16 December 2017 | 6-6.30pm

[Edited extract from public address]

One’s first act of belonging to a city is to stand with confidence.

Sthithi performed by students of Monica Singh Sangwan (Sohamasmi Centre for Performing Arts) brings together dancers of diverse ethnicities to reflect contemporary Asia in our city of Melbourne.

The word ‘stithi’ comes from the Sanskrit root word ‘stha’, meaning to stand, to place, to be. Yoga in its myriad forms, as well as martial arts, has become part of the city’s cultural melting pot.

This dance composition choreographed and conceived by Sharmila Biswas, with music composed by Sukanta Kumar Kundu modernizes the movements and techniques of Indian classical dance (namely Odissi), yoga and martial art.

Where: Queensbridge Square, 3 Queensbridge St, Southbank, Vic 3006

Cost: Free

Multicultural Arts VictoriaAddress: South Melbourne Town Hall Level 1, 208-220 Bank Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205
Post: PO Box 5113, South Melbourne, VIC 3205, Australia
Tel: 03 9188 3681

MAV | PERFORMANCE | Festivity | Saturday 16 December 2015 | 6.30-8pm

[Edited extract from public address]

A contemporary Thai performance incorporating physical movements and exhibition to create an understanding of how Thai people embrace a special parade called ‘Hae Krua Tan.’

The air of tranquility and harmony in this performance will captivate you in its surrounding space. This powerful sense of calm through body movements will guide the audience to synchronize internally with the performance.

Watch as performers Candice Boonjua, Khwanlarp Sudjunta, Wichittra Changchaya, Shuchinthara Suebsamarn, Saranya Chaovarad and Ampornkarn Artanyoota entertain the audience with this interactive performance inspired by a traditional ceremony from the northern region of Thailand.

Where: from Princes Bridge along Southbank Promenade to Queensbridge Square, Southbank

Cost: Free

Multicultural Arts VictoriaAddress: South Melbourne Town Hall Level 1, 208-220 Bank Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205
Post: PO Box 5113, South Melbourne, VIC 3205, Australia
Tel: 03 9188 3681

RSPCA | APPEAL | Guardian Angels Needed to Support Animal Rescue

[Edited extract from public address]

Give the gift of kindness this Christmas. Be a Guardian Angel to a homeless animal in need.

Annually: RSPCA receives over 50,000 animal cruelty complaints nationally
Nationally: RSPCA receives and cares for over 120,000 animals
Seasonally: 10,000 animals will call RSPCA home

If in interested and in surplus, donate online.

Post: 3 Burwood Highway, Burwood East Vic 3151
Tel: 1300 777 221

MCM | APPEAL | Homeless Christmas Fund

[Edited extract from public address]

Everyone is busy at Christmas... especially Melbourne City Mission.

More young people are facing homelessness than the Mission has ever seen before and funding unfortunately only goes so far. The Mission believes no young person should have to sleep rough, on a couch, or in an unsafe place over Christmas.
If in surplus, please give your support.

As a guide:
  • $37 helps to fund a crisis bed in e mergency accomodation
  • $53 will help a person share a Christmas lunch and a small gift
  • $87 could provide an Emergency Pack with toiletries, clothes & underwear.
In interested and in surplus, donate by calling 1300 364 507 or online

Melbourne City Mission Head Office
Post: PO Box 13210, Law Courts, Melbourne, VIC 8010, Australia 
Address: 164–180 Kings Way, South Melbourne VIC 3205 Australia
Tel: 03 8625 4444

BSL | CREATE | The Hope Prize short story competition | Closing Wednesday 31 January 2018

[Edited extract from public address]

Australia is the proverbial ‘lucky country’, yet amid our remarkable prosperity too many pockets of poverty and disadvantage persist in our cities, regions and remote areas. This narrative deserves to be explored through evocative writing.

The Hope Prize, the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s national short story competition, is open for entries. Encouraging writers to explore people's resilience in the face of poverty and disadvantage, to look beyond all too common stereotypes to depict the strengths that people and communities show in dealing with hardship.

Short stories entered for The Hope Prize can be fiction or fact. Whatever the genre, the story submitted must convey the experience of people facing hardship in their lives.

The total prize pool is $17,500, while two Women’s Writing Career Development Scholarships — of $5,000 each — will also be awarded.

Authors must be Australian residents, entries must be between 2000 and 5000 words. and received by 31 January 2018.

The eminent judges for this competition are actor Cate Blanchett, former governor general Quentin Bryce and author Kate Grenville. They are passionate about defeating disadvantage and care deeply about encouraging good writing.

Find out online more about this prize 

Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL)
67 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065
Tel: (03) 9483 1183

GEIFN | REPORTS | FCCV | ANNUAL CONFERENCE | Victorian Interfaith Networks | Sunday, 12 November 2017 | 12noon-4.30pm

[Edited from public address]

An annual conference aiming to help build capacity and sustainability of existing multifaith and interfaith networks. Bringing people up-to-date with current matters, providing networking opportunities, and assisting host council and network to promote its work to the local community.

Where: Ulumbarra Theatre - 10 Gaol Rd, Bendigo VIC 3550

The Faith Communities Council of Victoria opposes family violence and violence against women in all its forms, and call upon people of faith to play a role in its elimination.
Read FCCV's Statement of Commitment

12noon-1.25pm: Registration, networking, lunch and activities
1.30-2.15pm: Honoured guests and keynote speech on Religious Freedom in a 21st Century Pluralist Society by Daniel Nellor, Advisor to the Australian Humans Rights (Freedom of Religion)
Commissioner, Mr Edward Santow.
2.20-3.50pm: Workshops and plenary sessions (see below)
4-4.30pm: Summary & closing ceremony

Enrolment for workshops and plenary sessions were made upon arrival.

WORKSHOP 1: Religious Freedom and Social Cohesion
Religious freedom is fundamental to the Australian way of life and liberal democratic values.
And the challenge of respecting religious freedom in a pluralistic, secular, multi-faith society is becoming more complex.
In Australia in 2017, a Sikh student with religious headwear has been excluded from a school on
the grounds of maintaining a ‘level playing field’; the construction of a Mosque in Bendigo has
created upheaval in the community; Catholic priests are being asked to break the Seal of
Confessional by reporting information divulged to them during confession; A local council has
banned the construction of a Jewish synagogue in Bondi because it could be a terrorist target;
Islamic women wearing head coverings are abused and intimidated and violent criminal acts
done in the name of religion result in pressure being applied to Muslim leaders to re-state their
commitment to peace.

This workshop examined the complex relations between freedom of religion and social
cohesion in Australia and the world today.
Is there a zero-sum relationship between religious freedom and social cohesion? Does
maintaining peace mean pushing religion into the private sphere? Does promoting harmony
mean rejecting diversity? How can religious freedom be advanced in contemporary Australia
while recognising the pluralistic nature of Australian society?

Facilitator: Daniel Nellor, Advisor to the Australian Humans Rights (Freedom of Religion)
Commissioner, Mr Edward Santow.
• Dr Julie Rudner, Senior Lecturer @ Latrobe University
Manal Shehab, Community Engagement Officer @ Islamic Council of Victoria
Jasbir Singh Suropada, Chairperson of Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria
• Father Andrew Fewings, Parish Priest @ Kennington Catholic Parish, Bendigo
Gary Bouma AM, UNESCO Chair in Intercultural and Interreligious Relations - Asia Pacific,
Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Monash University

WORKSHOP 2: Educational Program for Schools - Understanding Religious Diversity
Three presenters of Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths will deliver a 90 minute interactive
workshop that will challenge some typical stereotypes people may hold and
demonstrates friendship and respect between people of different faiths and cultures.
In particular, workshop included:
• Comparing different faith traditions, commonalities and differences
• Sharing of personal life experiences, beliefs and common values
• Linking issues of diversity and faith to belonging and community identity
• An interactive Question and Answer session

This workshop demystified and demonstrated how a multifaith educational program can be delivered in Victorian schools.

Facilitator: Ginette Everest, Executive Officer of Jewish Christian Muslim Association of
Australia (JCMA)
Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia (JCMA) have been running school education
programs since 2007. JCMA Workshops create a great opportunity to focus on some key ethical
and social questions with students that align with key parts of the Victorian curriculum. There
are a number of school programs to select from, or contact JCMA for a tailor made solution to
your requirements. For more information see:

WORKSHOP 3: Active bystander training to prevent Violence Against Women
A workshop to show participants how to safely intervene as an active bystander to prevent
violence against women.
In particular, the workshop will:
• Raise awareness of participants about the level of violence against women in our culture
• Challenge thinking by countering mainstream messages about gender, sex and violence
• Open dialogue by creating a safe environment for men and women to share their
opinions and experiences about these issues
• Inspire leadership by empowering participants with concrete options to safely confront
and interrupt abusive situations

A highly interactive facilitated workshop, not a lecture. Awareness raising is utilised
to develop concrete options for participants to employ during a range of work or social
situations – ranging from inappropriate comments to physical abuse.

Facilitator: Dr Ree Bodde, Program Director, Think Prevent
Think Prevent is a community leader in violence prevention. Think Prevent conducts training
sessions with a wide-range of groups, and utilises an active bystander approach to
prevention. For more information see:

WORKSHOP 4: Introductory Training Workshop for Emergencies Ministry
Volunteers do not need to be councillors, clergy or social workers – rather ordinary people with
compassion and good listening skills who can offer emotional and psychological care with
people affected by emergencies such as bushfires and floods.
The Victorian Council of Churches Emergencies Ministry is a multifaith, multicultural program
seeking volunteers from various faith communities.

Facilitator: Michael Downing, Regional Support Officer, Victorian Council of Churches
Emergencies Ministry (VCCEM)
The Victorian Council of Churches has responded to most State disasters and many local
emergency events since 1977. Today, its Emergencies Ministry department provides outreach,
psychological first aid, personal support and emotional spiritual care across the State of
Victoria, and is part of the Victorian Government’s emergency response plan. For more
information see:

A number of complimentary events were organised over the weekend (11-12 November) for those with time to explore and discover Bendigo.
11 November - Tour to Places of Worship (11am - 4pm):  Bendigo is home to some of the most spectacular architecturally designed places of worship in Australia, including The Sacred Heart Cathedral and the work-in-progress that is The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion. The tour also included the planned site of Bendigo Islamic Community Centre.
12 November - Tour of Sandhurst Gaol (11am - 12pm): Bendigo’s Ulumbarra Theatre rises majestically from within what was once the Sandhurst Gaol. Constructed in the early 1860s, the gaol was based on the Pentonville prison model where the wings radiate from a central tower, now the symbiotic link between the heritage and contemporary architecture. Guided tour explored spaces throughout this extraordinary arts and community facility, telling the tales that once remained behind the walls.
12 November - WE ARE THE WORLD! Bring a bell! Concert (4:30pm - 6:30pm @ Ulumbarra Theatre): A magnificent blend  of traditional, classical and sacred music and dance, presented by over 150 performers, ending with Federation bells and audience bells, joining in unity.

On behalf of Buddhist Council Victoria Interfaith (bINTER) and Glen Eira Interfaith Network (GEIFN), thankyou to Organisers and Participants working tirelessly to redress historical, and presenting inequalities. Aspired programming on day was well-received for shining a spotlight on some of the challenges faced by sections of our diverse community and showcased some “heavy lifters” creating brighter futures. Thankyou to the wider community for their vocal, heart warming and demonstrative positive support for a more harmonious society. Received with gratitude.

Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV)
Mr Sandy Kouroupidis, Multifaith Officer,
Mobile: 0412 670 369

This event was a collaboration of the Faith Communities Council of Victoria, Bendigo Interfaith Council, City of Greater Bendigo and the Victorian State Government - Department of Premier and Cabinet.

PWR | DECLARATION | Standing With Victim-Survivors of Sexualized Violence

[Edited extract from public address]

Let us be committed and united together against sexual violence and discrimination, wherever it may be.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions Women’s Task Force calls upon religious traditions and spiritual communities to stand up and address sexual abuse, sexual assault, and sexual harassment that is occurring within religious contexts and throughout mainstream society.

We as people of faith and conscience are called upon to hear and believe the experiences of victim-survivors who are speaking up in every sector of society, and across all cultures, and to do our utmost to challenge and confront the cultures and systems that promote and enable this abuse of power.

Our commitments to stopping sexualized and gender-based violence are outlined in the Declaration for the Dignity and Human Rights of Women, delivered at the historic Inaugural Women’s Assembly at the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions. We invite our human family and especially those in positions of leadership and power to join us in affirming to:
  • call upon all religious leaders and adherents to challenge and change harmful teachings and practices that justify discrimination and violence against women and girls
  • call upon the world’s religions to honor and uphold the dignity, well-being, and fundamental human rights of women and girls.
  • commit ourselves to this collective undertaking to heal the heart of our humanity by releasing women, girls, men and boys from the bondage of gender-based discrimination and violence. We do so with hope and with faith in our future.
We stand with all who have shared their most personal testimony of this no-longer-unspeakable truth. And to those who are still yet unable to share their experiences, especially within religious institutions, for fear of retribution or threats to their personal safety: we see you and support you.

We call upon all religious and spiritual traditions and the interfaith movement to join with the Women’s Task Force of the Parliament of the World’s Religions as we continue to do our utmost to break the chains of silence by strengthening, implementing and enforcing policies and practices that will transform us into a better, more decent and just society. We also give our gratitude to the agencies that have already taken action to demonstrate that sexualized violence and harassment will no longer be tolerated within their institutions.

Religious and spiritual communities, though complicit participants in a global culture of sexual violence, can and should draw from each of their divine and sacred inspirations the courage that is required now to end this cycle.

Victims-survivors of violence and abuse—sexual, physical and emotional— in spiritual or religious communities (as well as in the home or the workplace) have shown courage in raising their voices.

The time is now for us all to be courageous.

From the Staff of the Parliament of the World's Religions
Organisers are planning for a Parliament of the World’s Religions to welcome more than 10,000 people of more than 80 nations, from more than 200 unique spiritual traditions at this 7th convening. How will you be there?
Be Supportive by well-wishing organisers and participants, organise local pre-PWR events, pledge your individual or group attendance BY REGISTERING or MAKE A DONATION.
Parliament of the World's Religions (PWR)
70 East Lake Street, Suite 205, Chicago, IL 60601

UNHCR | APPEAL | Myanmar-Bangladesh Crisis

[Edited extract from public address]

More than 600,000 people in Bangladesh are in desperate need of food, water and shelter after fleeing extreme violence in Myanmar. Terrified. Traumatised. Urgently. Needing Help.

No matter where you donate, many organisations are all on the ground working together. Every donation matters.

If you have a surplus, please donate now to any of these organisations:

MCRP | ACTIVELY | Engage with conservation of Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary

[Edited extract from public address]

A volunteer group concerned with the well-being of the Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary. Engaging and working with local community to enjoy and care for this beautiful natural environment.

MCRP and Beach Patrol End of Year BBQ | Saturday 2 December 2017 | 12 noon – place to be confirmed. All welcome, the more the merrier!

Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary (RPMS) is located in Port Phillip Bay 20 kilometres (12 miles) south east of the Melbourne CBD. It was created in November 2002 by the Victoria Government. It is 115 hectares in size, stretching 3 kilometres along the coastline between Table Rock Point in Beaumaris and Quiet Corner in Black Rock.

Working in cooperation with the sanctuary manager, Parks Victoria, as well as Bayside Council, and many other government and non-government organisations, we have a combined wealth of experience and knowledge, and love to share this and this amazing unique environment with everyone. All are welcome.

Typically, members are interested in environmental and marine issues, such as mapping the sanctuary, surveying and monitoring marine life, education of young and old, surveillance and compliance, beach cleaning, inter-organisational activity, and the natural and human history of the area….. as well as simply enjoying this unique spot. We are a friendly group who are always open to new members.

To foster species diversity conservation of the Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary through:
  • the regeneration of the once-abundant plant and animal life of the sanctuary
  • the protection and preservation of the natural environment of the sanctuary, its features and its indigenous flora and fauna
  • educating and informing the community about the role and values of the sanctuary
  • community involvement and enjoyment of the sanctuary in accordance with the above aims
  • the advancement of knowledge of marine life and its environment
Marine Care Ricketts Point Inc (MCRP)

CoPP | SURVEY | Integrated Transport Strategy | now open, CLOSES Monday 4 December 2017

[Edited extract from public address]

Everyday 200,000 people live, work and play in the City of Port Phillip and this number is growing. 

Council is developing an Integrated Transport Strategy, setting the direction for the way we use our streets, including transport, parking and great places.  Contribute your feedback to help shape the strategy.

This survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete + briefing time.

The survey closes at 5pm on Monday 4 December 2017.

Brief: Watch a video about the project, read the fast facts summary and position paper to get a good understanding of how people currently move around the City of Port Philip and the challenges Council are seeking to address through this project.

Capire Consulting Group 
Ce.Lab, L1, 96 Pelham Street, Carlton 
96 Pelham Street, Carlton 
Victoria 3053 Australia
Niamh Moynihan, Senior Consultant
Tel: 0408 604 713

Under contract to City of Port Phillip

YHRAV | COMMEMORATION | UN International Human Rights Day 2017 | Wednesday 6 December 2017 | 6.30-8.30pm

[Edited extract from public address]

A Multicultural/Multifaith Celebration presented by Youth for Human Rights Australia (Victoria Chapter) and hosted by the Church of Scientology

Feature Performance by Warren Wills, Internationally renowned Composer & Producer
Guest Artists: Fredrick Kpakpo Addo, One Spirit African Drumming and Dance; Shavina Hill, Principal, Bollywood Taal; Tonga Youth Group; South Sudan Youth Group; Melton Bhutanese Community Inc; Home of Multicultural Exchange - Polynesian Dancing

Master of Ceremonies: Hansa Farah, African Australian Youth Representative
Keynote Speaker: Gracelyn Smallwood, RN-RM, Professor of Nursing and Midwifery – Community Engagement, Central Queensland University, PhD Human Rights, MSc Public Health, Dip Mental Health
“Those who work to achieve human rights today may or may not be well-known figures. But they all share a passionate commitment to the principle that everyone is born with equal rights and anything else is an injustice.” —from the Story of Human Rights
Where: Scientology Community Centre, 231-251 Mount Alexander Rd, Ascot Vale, Vic 3032

Cost: Free Event. Supper provided.

Bookings: Please RSVP correctly online through Eventbrite as this event is being catered for.

Supported by:
Melton Interfaith Network; WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network) Foundation; Casey Multifaith Network COMMON (Centre of Melbourne Multifaith and Others Network); Australian Multicultural Organisation; Oz Star Channel; Miss 2017 South Asia Universe; Pakistan Youth Association; Landmark Community Sports Group, One Spirit African Drumming and Dance; Tarneit 60 Club; Ramon Helps Inc; Women of Wyndham; WWW Productions

Church of Scientology, Victoria
Youth for Human Rights Australia (Victoria Chapter)
231-251 Mt Alexander Road, Ascot-Vale, Victoria
Elana 0409 046 172 and Jane Lester 0424 875 213

JCMA | ENGAGE | Building Digital Resilience | Thursday 7 December 2017 | 7.30-9pm

[Edited extract from public address]

Parenting Forum: Supporting your child’s safety online

We are well and truly living in a digital world. With a multitude of technological advances available at our children’s fingertips and increasing awareness of the challenges of cyber security, parents can at times feel in the dark when it comes to supporting their children to be safe online.

In this session, the Office of the Children’s e-safety Commissioner, the peak body for online safety in Australia, will provide parents with up-to-date information about current technology trends and targeted safety advice to support a safe and enjoyable online experience.

Parents will learn about common cyber security issues and strategies to manage the benefits and risks of social media. Parents will also learn about how the Office can act to remove prohibited online material and serious cyberbullying content that affects young people.

Where: Caulfield Cup Room, Glen Eira Town Hall - Cnr Glen Eira and Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield

Bookings: essential as limited seats available. RSVP or call 8517 5908.

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV)
Beth Weizmann Community Centre, 306 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield South, VIC 3162, Australia
Tel: 03 9272 5566

PHAAA | FESTIVAL | Summer Solstice, Healing the Earth | Sunday 10 December 2017 | 2-5pm

[Edited extract from public address]

A local community festival where peace begins Healing the Earth.

Music, fun, presenters and performers with the theme of Healing the Earth. Local musicians from around the world will present culturally and spiritually embracing music, dance and performance in the 6th annual Solstice Global Healing Event.

All are welcome. Come and join with this hub of cosmopolitan City of Port Phillip.

Where: Acland Street Plaza, Acland St, St Kilda VIC 3182, Australia

Cost: Free

Planetary Healing Artists’ Association of Australia

With funding from the Local Festival Fund of the City of Port Philip

PPLS | PERFORMANCE | Santa Taranta: Music of Southern Italy | Wednesday 13 December 2017 | 6.30-7.30pm

[Edited extract from public address]

Santa Taranta is a Melbourne-based band playing a mix of original music and traditional music from southern Italy. 

Join Emiliano Beltzer (guitar, mandolin), Hayley Egan (voice, guitar) and Francesco Bufarini (guitar, diatonic accordion, voice, percussions) as they play Pizzica, Tammurriata, Stornelli, as well as Polkas from the barbershop and the occasional serenade d’amore, with a contemporary, worldly flair.

They will affect your blood, keep you dancing like a spider and weeping like la Madonna…

Where: St Kilda Library

Bookings: Please book online through Eventbrite
Event booked out? Put your name down to be notified if a space becomes available. Just select ‘Add to Waitlist’ on the Eventbrite listing page.  You’ll need to do this for each person you want to add to the list.
Need to cancel? Please let us know if you can no longer make your booking. We get a lot of people on the waitlist who might miss out if you can’t come.

Port Phillip City Council
Port Phillip Library Service
150 Carlisle Street, St Kilda, Victoria 3182
Tel: 9209 6655