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Interfaith Programs

Montreal Interfaith Forum: Understanding Sikhism

Montreal, Canada - As an early morning snowfall blanketed the streets, Montreal’s Ambassadors for Peace were not deterred from gathering for the monthly Interfaith Peace Breakfast on Feb. 24, 2010 at Hotel Ruby Foos. In attendance were over 30 religious leaders, scholars, and community leaders from a variety of faith traditions characteristic of the multi-cultural environment in Canada.

The meeting featured a presentation on “Understanding Sikhism” by Prof. Devinder Singh Chahal. Dr. Chahal, who earned his PhD at Ohio State University in the US, is currently President of the Institute for Understanding Sikhism in the Montreal area.

Dr. Chahal recently presented four papers at the conference of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Melbourne, Australia, in December 2009. He reported on his experience at the conference and presented his paper on "Nanakian Philosophy and World Peace" (Nanakian philosophy is the philosophy of Guru Nanak, the Founder of Sikhism).

Franco Famularo, Secretary General for UPF-Canada, reported on the UPF International conference he recently attended in Korea. All presentations of the conference on the theme of “UPF 2010, Building a World of Universal Peace,” are available online; videos of each presentation, texts of speeches delivered including the keynote address by the new International Chairman and PowerPoint presentations.

The participants were also happy to hear that it is UPF International’s intention that future International Leadership Conferences will be broadcast live so that participants from around the world can participate via the Internet.

A lively question-and-answer session ensued in which representatives of Christian, Muslim, and Hindu traditions sought clarification and Dr. Chahal provided responses that were informative and respectful of all traditions represented.

An added feature to the meeting was the contribution of Ambassador for Peace Ranbir S. Dhanjal, an artist based in Montreal who displayed his paintings of Guru Nanak and other painting about the Sikh faith from his vast collection.

The growing network of religious and civic leaders who regularly participate in the activities of Montreal’s UPF chapter is largely the result of consistent effort on the part of several volunteers, especially Melissa Brosseau and Mari Sasaki, who have been networking in the Montreal area for several years.

The meeting concluded with a prayer by a Roman Catholic priest in the spirit of interfaith.

To read Dr. Chahal's paper, click here.

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