2021 Parliament of the World’s Religions

CTII was the hosting organisation for the Africa Symposium, an event within the 2021 Parliament of the World’s Religions. Covering two hours of air time each day on Sunday 17 and Monday 18 October, we shared with the world examples of interfaith engagement that has enriched lives and communities across the continent.

With the overall theme of this Parliament being Opening our hearts to the World: Compassion in Action, we highlighted the ability of the people of Africa to rise above challenges, reaching deep into our roots to find the wisdoms and teachings that guide us to sustainable solutions for today.

We chose also to seek out the voices of some of Africa’s unsung heroes, ordinary men and women who work daily to uplift and support communities.

Our keynote speaker on Day 2 was endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh, recently returned from a multiday swim across Greenland’s Illulisat Icefjord. Lewis’ message was a call to action, and his urgent appeal for a “radical tactical shift” went to the hearts of our high level panel of experts who were on hand to unpack what melting glaciers in Greenland mean for the people of Africa.

We realised that leaders of all faiths have a responsibility to guide their communities through teaching, encouragement and modeling changed behaviour. We also realised that the earth herself is marginilised in our world of corporate greed, profiteering and exploitation.

We also realised that silo-ism is not a sustainable solution for any of us. Inclusivity is an essential tool for survival, and so we looked at marginised and minority groups whose voices and whose energy need to be brought into the collective mainstream.

What a blessing to wrap the Africa Symposium with a perfect bridge! Yashika Singh, head of Religious Content at SABC, was at the 2nd Parliament in Chicago, the 3rd Parliament in Cape Town, and was present at the 8th Parliament to take us from the past into the future with a powerfully delivered closing speech that spoke into the critical role of interfaith engagement in creating the inclusive world that would benefit, heal and sustain everyone.

Special thanks to PoWR Chicago for allowing us to livestream the event on our Facebook page, thereby ensuring access to the event to the People of Africa.

Please visit our Facebook page to view the recorded sessions.