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Parliament of World Religions Convenes In Melbourne


This week, the world’s largest inter-faith conference opened in Melbourne. Over 5,000 people from over 80 countries have gathered at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Their aim? To work together for a just, peaceful, and harmonious society.


The Parliament of World Religions gathered in Melbourne this week

Attracting much global media attention, rarely do you see such a diverse group of people meet in one place. Catholic priests, native American leaders, indigenous elders, Israeli rabbis and Buddhist monks from Vietnam will join Muslim scholars, Hindu philosophers and representatives from many other Christian denominations at the event.

Some big name speakers among the 1500 confirmed speakers presenting include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, former US President Jimmy Carter, Rev Tim Costello, His Eminence George Cardinal Pell, the Honourable Michael Kirby, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Professor Joy Murphy Wandin, Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh and Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick.

The topics for discussion are equally big, including issues such as global poverty and global warming, indigenous reconciliation, environmental care and degradation, education of the young and the challenges of social disengagement, voluntary and forced migration and the West’s relationship with Islam.

Arinex were the conference management team behind this high profile global event, working closely with the Council for the Parliament of the World’s Religions.


The event brought together a diverse range of the world’s religious leaders

“This event was nothing like we had ever done before. To respond to the meeting’s main objective of working in harmony, the level of detail required was intense. Everything was triple checked once, and then triple checked again to ensure that all stakeholders were happy, included and given much choice.’ said arinex executive manager, Karine Bulger.

‘We were brought on board to supply a business ethos to a community event. Each step of the way, each party had to create the balance between providing an authentic all-inclusive community event, with a business mindset. The essence of the event is its community approach, but commercial expertise needed to be applied to ensure the logistics ran smoothly, the communication to delegates, speakers and media was clear, and that the budget produced the desired outcome.’

The director of the conference, Dirk Ficca said “Hundreds of people have worked behind the scenes for over five years to make this happen. Melbourne’s meeting and events industry has demonstrated their high standard of expertise to meet all challenges. From the team at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, through to the team at the Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau, and of course, the team at arinex, all suppliers have come together to deliver an outstanding event.


Keynote presentations, discussions, performances and much more are all part of this week long event

I have been impressed by their ability to work harmoniously and productively together to ensure Parliament impressed all. Take the example of the Sikh kirpan (a ceremonial dagger) which must be carried on their person, and is integral to their religious values. Obviously carrying such an item can cause a few issues in these days of high security measures. The Melbourne team worked closely together: arinex, the Federal Police, Victorian Police, Australian Customs, the Attorney Generals Department and Australian Quarantine developed the policies needed to enable the Sikhs to safely bring their kirpan both into the country, and the conference venue. It has all been very well done.”

Click here to see some of the media coverage to date, and how it has captured the attention of so many.

First held in Chicago in 1893, the Parliament of the World’s Religions brings together the world’s religious and spiritual communities, their leaders and their followers to a gathering where peace, diversity and sustainability are discussed and explored in the context of interreligious understanding and cooperation.

Since 1993, a Parliament of the World’s Religions has convened every five years in a major international city (Chicago 1993, Cape Town 1999, Barcelona 2004). It is sponsored by the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. A multi-religious, multi-lingual, and multicultural city, Melbourne offers an ideal location for the 2009 Parliament. Culturally vibrant and global in vision, Melbourne and Victoria are home to indigenous and Aboriginal spiritualities as well as the major world religions – Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism among others.

The Parliament runs for seven days with approximately 450 events including keynote addresses, seminars, conferences, debates, performances, concerts and exhibitions.

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