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Monthly Musings: The Parliament of the World’s Religions

Happy Summer! As the weather starts to warm up and we are drawn to gather more outside — and possibly toward traveling somewhere fun — I invite you to join me for a very special event this August happening in Chicago. Chicago is a lovely place to visit in the non-winter months and offers sightseeing such as some of the architectural masterpieces of our modern times along with world-renowned conferences and events like the one I will be speaking at in August.
As we work collectively to become the best versions of ourselves and to inspire others to be more compassionate and purposeful, events like the Parliament of the World’s Religions offer an opportunity to learn from people of different cultural and religious backgrounds and to connect across these differences in a peaceful and loving way. This microcosm of multi-faith collaboration and gathering is proof that we can create more peace and harmony in this world by leaning into our faithful tenets and embracing our differences.
If you are in the Chicago area or looking for a fun trip this summer, consider a weekend getaway and come explore the ephemeral immersion of the World’s Religions during this unique conference. Read below to learn more about the history, mission, and layout of this event.
I am honored and thrilled to be invited to do 4 separate presentations at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions (PoWR) to be held at McCormick Place Lakeside Center in Chicago August 14-18, 2023. They are expecting some 10,000 people to attend! This is my first time being invited to speak, so, I asked my good friend who will be there with me, Jan Chase (An ordained Unity minister in Pomona — who has been to many previous PoWR events), what this experience was like for her.
She responded, “It is heaven on earth.”
It would be wonderful to share this heavenly experience with you and I sincerely hope to see many of you at the event if the theme of this conference resonates with you. Here are some particulars for those who are not familiar with PoWR.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions is the world’s premier interfaith convening of civic, spiritual, and grassroots changemakers. The organization was founded on a mission to cultivate harmony among the world’s religions and spiritual communities and to foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions to address the critical issues of our time.
The first ever PowR was convened in Chicago in 1893 when the respectable Swami Vivekananda wowed the world and since then, has been held again in Chicago (1993), Cape Town (1999), Barcelona (2004), Melbourne (2009), Salt Lake City (2015), Toronto (2018) and virtually (2021). Global leaders such as His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, Nobel Peace Laureates Desmond Tutu and Shirin Ebadi, and President Jimmy Carter have addressed the Parliament Convenings throughout their history.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions seeks to promote interreligious harmony, rather than unity; this understanding is key to their framework. Interreligious harmony is an attainable and highly desirable goal. Such an approach respects and is enriched by the particularities of each tradition.
Here are the talks I will be presenting as a solo speaker. I will share some of the exciting panels that I will be participating in as a group down below in the Question of the Month section.
Panel 3: Teaching Youth Nonviolent Leadership and Peacebuilding. Tuesday, August 15th from 8 am to 9:30 am (CDT)
This presentation is based on having given this talk over 1,000 times to over 2 million students worldwide from grade schools to universities. Besides sharing my journey over the last 28 years (which most of you are familiar with), I teach students how to stand up and commit to becoming nonviolent leaders in their homes, schools, and communities. I teach 6 simple but profound principles that I have followed over the last 28 years to foster peace in our world. The students have responded positively, as we have received over 100,000 letters saying so!
Successfully teaching accountability, empathy, compassion, forgiveness, and peacebuilding to our children and youth – who are our future – has given me much hope that not only are these principles teachable, our youth are hungry for them. Spawning nonviolent leaders, my prayer is that someday we do achieve world peace as Gandhi taught:
“If we are to reach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. Non-violence is the first article of my faith.”
Panel 4: Transforming Conflict into Unity: Achieving Peace, Prosperity, and Purpose Through Forgiveness. Thursday, August 17th from 1 to 2:30 pm (CDT)
I will share my 28-year journey which started very dark with the murder of my only son, Tariq, at the young age of 20. Through the miraculous choice of forgiving my son’s killer, starting the Tariq Khamisa Foundation (, and partnering with the killer’s grandfather – Ples Felix (and more recently with Tony Hicks himself, who took Tariq’s life when he was 14 and is now 42).
This journey is chronicled in my trilogy: From Murder to Forgiveness, From Forgiveness to Fulfillment, and From Fulfillment to Peace – the last book of the trilogy has a forward by Tony. I hope to guide the audience through my experience of locating a path of peace, first discovered in tragedy and later ending in triumph, so that they can find their own fulfilling, peaceful, and purposeful life. Furthermore, it is my prayer that this talk will point the audience directly toward their life’s mission and uncover their higher purpose; how to find it, how to test it, and how to maintain it.
In closing, it is my hope that many of you can attend and be in what I understand to be a once-in-a-lifetime, transformative experience. I am excited and can’t wait for this event. Learn more through the links in this email or click on the images to visit PoWR’s website directly to register.
Peace and many blessings!
Azim Khamisa
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