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World Interfaith Harmony Week 2020


Click on the titles of each presentation to hear the full recording and see the video.

February 1: The Golden Rule Day

Karen Armstrong: Compassion into Action

When Karen Armstrong visited Vancouver for 12 Days of Compassion, she brought with her a very powerful message: we all have the tools to make this world a more compassionate place.She spoke in front of an audience of students and adults and shared some of her 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life.

Krista Tippett: Reconnecting with Compassion

The term "compassion" -- typically reserved for the saintly or the sappy -- has fallen out of touch with reality. At a special TEDPrize@UN, journalist Krista Tippett deconstructs the meaning of compassion through several moving stories, and proposes a new, more attainable definition for the word.

Interfaith Amigos: Compassion and the Interfaith Dialogue 

Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon and Imam Jamal Rahman-now known as the Interfaith Amigos-started working together after 9/11. Since then, they have brought their unique blend of spiritual wisdom and humor to audiences in the US, Canada, Israel-Palestine and Japan. Their work is dedicated to supporting more effective interfaith dialogue that can bring greater collaboration to the major social and economic issues of our time. 

Karen Armstrong calls their "exuberant and courageous" book, Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith, "an inspiration and example for all of us in these sadly polarized times." Their first book, Getting to the Heart of Interfaith (2009), brought them international attention with coverage from the New York Times, CBS News, BBC Radio, and various NPR programs.

Links to all videos shared during the call can be found here.


Feb 2: Interfaith Leadership
Ebo Patel: Interfaith Leadership in the 21st Century

Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) a Chicago-based organization building the interfaith movement on college campuses, speaks here about interfaith leadership and literacy. Patel spoke of interfaith cooperation reducing prejudices and strengthening cohesion. Ebo Patel was named by US News & World Report as one of America's Best Leaders of 2009 and has also served as President Barack Obama's Inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnership.

Links to all videos shared during the call can be found here.


February 3: Faces of Compassion
Many Faces of Compassion: Roshi Joan Halifax 

The Dalai Lama once said: "Love and compassion are necessities. They are not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." Anthropologist, author, teacher and Zen priest, Joan Halifax, takes that statement a bit further: " is not only humanity that won't survive, it is all the species on the planet...It is the big cats, and it's the plankton." Not only does compassion enliven us, it enhances our neural integration and our immune system. But why, if compassion is good for us, aren't we training our children in compassion?

Compassion is Action: Buddhist Nuns and Monks Work on the Environment

Environmental conservation must be the essence of our spiritual practice.  ~ His Holiness the 17th Karmapa.

From Ladakh to Bhutan, Buddhist nuns and monks from 60 centers in the Himalayan region work on environmental projection. From cleaning up rivers, to installing solar panels, the nuns and monks approach the environment with a sense of compassion, recognizing the interdependence and inter-connectivity of all things.
...Compassion is a combination of the feeling and the action.  ~ Khenpo Drugyal, Tilokpur Nunnery Teacher.

Expanding the Circle of Interfaith Dialogue: Awakening to Compassion for Animals 

Father Mann's awakening to the plight of animals has inspired thousands of people around the world. Fr. Mann's heartfelt compassion and love of justice touch people from all backgrounds. A gifted writer and speaker known for his infectious enthusiasm and warm sense of humor, Fr. Mann has been inspired by visionaries such as Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, who have shown compassion and moral leadership in the face of injustice. With his newfound awareness, he has since incorporated the value of justice for animals into his spiritual life and vision of a more peaceful world. In 2013, Father Mann helped organize the Tablet Forum's NYC premiere of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home, an award-winning documentary about farmers and their change of heart about animals.

Links to all videos shared during the call can be found here.



February 6: Sounds of Compassion

Compassion Symphony: Nigel Westlake and Lior 

The Compassion Symphony " draws from the rich worlds of Islam and Judaism to present a collection of profound and poetic messages surrounding the idea of compassion between human beings. The texts are largely a collection of poems, proverbs and songs that give us an insight into such wisdom. Their similarities are immense and their universality is undeniable. Far from the misguided commentaries that have so often steered humanity away from the true enactment of compassion, these texts affirm that attaining a greater sense of compassion is an ultimate goal, and letting it guide our actions is the ultimate wisdom. 

Grateful: A Love Song to the World: Nimo and Daniel Nahmod 

Musicians Nimo Patel and Daniel Nahmod brought together dozens of people from around the world to create this beautiful, heart-opening melody. Inspired by the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge, the song is a celebration of our spirit and all that is a blessing in life. For the 21 Days, over 11,000 participants from 118 countries learned that "gratefulness" is a habit cultivated consciously and a muscle built over time. As a famous Roman, Cicero, once said, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others." This soul-stirring music video, created within a week by a team of volunteers, shines the light on all the small things that make up the beautiful fabric of our lives.

We Can Work It Out: Noa and Mira Awad 

Israel’s leading singer-songwriter, Noa (Achinoam Nini) has shared the stage with superstars such as Sting, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and Andrea Bocelli and performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the White House and the Vatican. In 2009, she joined forces with Mira Awad, composing and performing the song “There Must Be Another Way,” in the Eurovision Song Contest, making it all the way to the final round. Noa is Jewish-Israeli, and Mira Awad is Arab-Israeli. The duo perform together to “show a situation that we believe is possible if we just make the necessary effort.”

Selections from Emma’s Revolution  

Fervent and heartfelt  ~ The New York Times

Smart, funny and informative--like Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart with guitars. Emma's Revolution is the duo of award-winning activist musicians, Pat Humphries & Sandy O. Called “inspiring, gutsy and rockin’”, Emma's Revolution's songs have been sung for the Dalai Lama, praised by Pete Seeger and covered by Holly Near. The duo's awards include Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and, for the second year in a row, the Washington Area Music Association's Fan Favorite Award.

Links to all vidoes shared during the call can be found here.

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February 7:  Compassion Gives Us a Second Chance

Speech from The Great Dictator: Charlie Chaplin

The Great Dictator is a 1940 American political satire comedy-drama film written, directed, produced, scored by and starring Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin's film advanced a stirring, controversial condemnation of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, fascism and antisemitism. At the time of its first release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Chaplin plays both leading roles: a ruthless fascist dictator, and a persecuted Jewish barber. The Great Dictator was popular with audiences, becoming Chaplin's most commercially successful film.[4] Modern critics have also praised it as a historically significant film and an important work of satire. The Great Dictator was nominated for five Academy Awards - Outstanding Production, Best Actor, Best Writing (Original Screenplay), Best Supporting Actor for Jack Oakie, and Best Music (Original Score).

The Blue Dot: Carl Sagan 

Carl Sagan gives the best speech ever about humanity and how foolish we behave. Pale Blue Dot is one of the most important and reflective speeches about the human condition and our place in the Universe. The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers from Earth, as part of the solar system Family Portrait series of images.

Selections from Holly Near, Mercedes Sosa and Inti-Illimani 

Holly Near has been recognized many times for her work for social change, including honors from the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the National Organization for Women, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; she was named Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year and received the Legends of Women’s Music Award. During her travels in the Pacific with the Free the Army show, Holly became a globally conscious feminist, linking international feminism and anti-war activism. She was an active participant and coalition builder in what she calls the “heady days” of 70s activism, when so many movements were gestating and jostling with one another.

In a career that spanned 60 years, Mecedes Sosa became revered as both a victim of and a commentator on the political and social turmoil that afflicted her country and the rest of the continent. She was one of the pioneers of the “Nueva Canción” or “New Song” movement, a style of socially conscious music drawing on folk elements that first flowered in the 1960s, and enjoyed her biggest commercial success and political influence interpreting songs from that genre, like Violeta Parra’s “Gracias a La Vida” and Horacio Guarany’s “If the Singer Is Silenced.”

Inti-Illimani has transcended our idea of the musical ensemble and has become a cultural location, a liturgy expressing the essence of the Latin-American ethno-musical experience. Founded by Jorge Coulon in 1967, for 50 years Inti-Illimani has performed world-wide to hundreds of thousands of fans, collaborated with folk legends, earned awards and honors for their activism and masterful musicianship, and produced one of the richest discographies in Latin-American recording history.

Links to all videos shared during the call can be found here.


Todavía Cantamos

Todavía cantamos, todavía pedimos,
todavía soñamos, todavía esperamos,

a pesar de los golpes
que asestó en nuestras vidas
el ingenio del odio,
desterrando al olvido
a nuestros seres queridos.

Todavía cantamos, todavía pedimos,
todavía soñamos, todavía esperamos;

que nos digan adónde
han escondido las flores
que aromaron las calles,
persiguiendo un destino
¿Dónde, dónde se han ido?

Todavía cantamos, todavía pedimos,
todavía soñamos, todavía esperamos;

que nos den la esperanza
de saber que es posible
que el jardín se ilumine
con las risas y el canto
de los que amamos tanto.

Todavía cantamos, todavía pedimos,
todavía soñamos, todavía esperamos;

por un día distinto,
sin apremios ni ayuno,
sin temor y sin llanto,
porque vuelvan al nido
nuestros seres queridos.

Todavía cantamos, todavía pedimos,
Todavía soñamos, todavía esperamos



We still sing, we still beg (ask for)
we still dream, we still wait
aside of all the hits that weighed in our lives
hate's wit
banishing the forgotten
our loved ones

We still sing , we still beg( ask for)
we still dream, we still wait

Tell us where
they have hidden the flowers
that sweeten the streets
following a destiny
where? where have they gone?
We still sing , we still beg (ask for)
we still dream, we still wait
Give us the hope
to know its possible
that the garden can light up
with the laughter and chant
of those who we love so much

We still sing , we still beg (ask for)
we still dream, we still wait
for a different day
without constraints or fasts
without fright and without cry
because our loved ones
they go back to the nest

We still sing , we still beg (ask for)
we still dream, we still wait...

Gracias a la Vida (Thanks to Life)

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me two stars, which when I open them,
Perfectly distinguish black from white
And in the tall sky its starry backdrop,
And within the multitudes the one that I love.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me hearing that, in all of its reach
Records night and day crickets and canaries,
Hammers and turbines, bricks and storms,
And the tender voice of my beloved.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me sound and the alphabet.
With them the words I think and declare:
“Mother,” “Friend,” “Brother” and light shining down on
The road of the soul of the one I'm loving.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me the steps of my tired feet.
With them I have traversed cities and puddles
Valleys and deserts, mountains and plains.
And your house, your street and your garden.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me this heart that shakes its frame,
When I see the fruit of the human brain,
When I see good so far from evil,
When I look into the depth of your light eyes...

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me laughter and it gave me tears.
With them I distinguish happiness from pain
The two elements that make up my song,
And your song, as well, which is the same song.
And everyone’s song, which is my very song.


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