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Interfaith Programs

UPF-Montreal Begins 10th Year of Monthly Meetings

Montreal, Canada - UPF-Montreal began year ten of monthly meetings with a new format. Until recently, two parallel meetings were held each month in English and French. For the 2010-2011 season, it was agreed that we would hold meetings each month alternating between French and English and provide simultaneous translation in either one of the official languages for those in need.

On the morning of September 15, UPF Ambassadors for Peace gathered for the first meeting of the new season. The meeting focused on recent efforts to move forward the idea of an interreligious council at the United Nations. UPF Canada Secretary General Franco Famularo provided a synopsis of the meeting held in Ottawa on August 26. This was followed by a presentation of the proposal presented by the Francophone sector of UPF at the meeting. This was well received and led to a spirited discussion and suggestions of how to move forward.

On the evening of October 18 the focus was also on the establishment of an interreligious council at the UN, and the meeting followed a similar formal. The only difference was that the meeting was conducted primarily in French.

The morning of November 24 was devoted to Women’s Perspectives on Peace. Three women of diverse backgrounds religiously, culturally, ethnically and more were asked to provide their insights on how peace can be made a reality. Representing Africa, Europe, and the Americas each woman provided perspectives that were spiced with their own personal experience. The women also represented different faith traditions within the Christian family: Roman Catholic, Unitarian, and Evangelical.

The audience was diverse religiously, with Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, and Christians of various denominations. This provided for a lively discussion after the presentations.

Dr. Beatrice Ofosuan, an educator originally from Ghana, West Africa, challenged the group and UPF to deal with issues that others don’t wish to deal with.

Mrs. Hannelore Ponselet, a former high school principal and an educator with more than 30 years experience, provided insights on her experience growing up in Hungary and as an immigrant to Canada. She shared of the challenges of women in education, in the professions and in being accepted as equal partners. Mrs. Ponselet has been instrumental in developing a Canadian proposal for the interreligious council. (Please see report from August 2010 for more information.)

Mrs. Daniele de Lorimier, a Catholic educator who currently is taking care of her parish as the priest is away, shared of her challenges within her own faith tradition with regards to the role of women.

The meeting concluded with appointments of three new Ambassadors for Peace: Dr. Beatrice Ofosuan, Mrs. Hannelore Ponselet, and Mrs. Denyse Dequoys.

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