28 October 2021

JPII Leaders Participated in World Interreligious Forums

The beginning of the academic year was exceptionally fruitful thanks to various important interreligious events. Seven of our JPII Leaders represented the John Paul II Center at the international level speaking on interreligious relations and dialogue in different parts of the world.

On October 18, JPII Leaders Peter Dziedzic (Cohort VI, USA), Fr. Manoj Rasanjana (Cohort XII, Sri Lanka), Nataliia Pavlyk (Cohort XII, Ukraine), and Gianluca Avanzato (Cohort XIII, USA) participated in the Parliament of the World Religions. This is the first interfaith platform in modern history created in 1893 (Chicago, USA) for dialogue between different religious and spiritual traditions. This event, which takes place once in a few years, gathers thousands of people, including prominent religious leaders and world-renowned scholars from around the world who come to present their beliefs.

This year, the discussion hosted by the JPII Center’s panel “Interfaith Reinterpretation of Compassion: Past, Present, Future” has brought together experts who have been researching on Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Our Leaders presented their vision on compassion from various religious backgrounds and tried to set common points to establish an interfaith dialogue.

“The compassionate societies, human communities, and even compassionate religions would survive any crisis, any pandemic,” pointed out Fr. Manoj Rasanjana reflecting on the interreligious situation in Sri Lanka. At the same time, while discussing Jain perception of the pandemic, Nataliia Pavlyk aptly remarked, “Not only the intention to harm but also the absence of compassion is what makes our actions violent.” Speaking about Islamic values, Peter Dziedzic argued, “The ecological vision of the Qur’an calls for a radical reconsideration of our place in a universe that is conscious, a universe where each thing – stone, plant, animal, or otherwise – offers an opportunity for learning, growth, and compassion”. Gianluca Avanzato, who also admirably moderated the panel, concluded the discussion, “I find that compassion must be dynamic in order to be compassionate.”

The next Parliament of the World Religions will take place in 2023 in Chicago, USA. We hope to continue this good tradition of JPII Leaders to contribute to such outstanding interreligious events!

On September 19 and 21, the John Paul II Center was represented by Nataliia Pavlyk and Taras Dzyubanskyy, who joined hundreds of people worldwide to celebrate the International Peace Day. In collaboration with MasterPeace, Libertas Center, and The Oriental Studies Circle, JPII Leaders presented the project of the Interreligious Colouring Book “Interfaithing Humanity”, which was funded through the John Paul II Center. The recording of the presentation is available here

Besides, Taras Dzyubanskyy joined the Peace Day Youth Assembly 2021 panel, which was one of the essential parts of the “Humanity Rising” series to discuss some burning issues. This panel aimed at creating a dynamic conversation that evoked thinking and provoked action for the participants.

Furthermore, on August 30 – September 2, Elena Dini, Jan Nowotnik, Taras Dzyubanskyy, and Andrew James Boyd participated in the European Academy of Religion 4th Annual Conference in Münster, Germany. The conference raised many questions about the change and transformation of religion itself and the changes and transformations caused by religion.

JPII Leaders offered a panel on “Transformative Leadership and Interfaith Dialogue” sharing their experiences and research outcomes. Taras Dzyubanskyy reflected on the lay and ordained leadership in the field of interreligious dialogue; Jan Nowotnik spoke about interfaith dialogue in England and Wales; Elena Dini presented on the contemporary reflection of interfaith after Abu Dhabi and Fratelli Tutti; and A. J. Boyd discussed the issues of dialogue and synodality in forming transformative leaders.

We congratulate our JPII Leaders on their brilliant performance and wish them success in their future interreligious endeavors!