COMMON (Centre of Melbourne Multifaith & Others Network) supported by WIN (Womens Interfaith Network) Foundation and Youth For Human Rights
Venue: Church of Scientology, Melbourne.
Over 150 attendees from various religious, faith and human rights groups attended the event. The theme for this year’s International Day of Peace was ‘Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for all.’
Vegetarian Lunch was served at 11.30am.
At noon, a gong was struck leading to a one-minute silence to commemorate the occasion.
Master of Ceremonies Gareth Hill acknowledged the original inhabitants of the land, the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nations and introduced the entertainment segment.
Australian superstar: Kate Ceberano sang four songs of peace. Strongest ingredient for Peace is Love. Kate spoke briefly – Peace within first is most important. That brings peace around you.
Jessiee Kaur Singh the President of COMMON and WIN Foundation addressed the audience and spoke of the challenges towards world peace and the need for continual effort on the part of all towards world peace as one community of humanity and also how blessed we are to be in Melbourne, Australia. A special gift of white peace rose was given to Kate Ceberano and her two backing vocalists and musicians given peace lilies members who are all Scientologists.
Faith Offerings: Faith representatives made religious offerings from their faiths Some touched on the role of education towards peace and initiatives within their faith groups towards world peace.
Jamel Kaur-Singh and Abe Schwartz represented the Aboriginal peoples by talking about and paying their respects to former President of COMMON, Reg Blow, who passed away two years ago.
Christian – Frank Di Blasi
Bahai – Faezah Parkes
Hinduism – Nawal Kishore Moudgil
Human Rights – Elana Saks
Humanist – John Russel
Islam – Imam Mohsin Mohammed
Judaism – Abraham Schwartz
Scientology – Glenda Walsh
Sikh – Dya Singh
Zoroastrian – Dilnaaz Billimoria
2015 Power of Peace Awards were bestowed to the following for volunteer work towards human rights, peace and multicultural harmony:
Dr. Berhan Ahmed – African Think Tank
Maria Jeffries – Planetary healing Artists Association
Deepak Vinayak – South Asia Community Link Group
Ven. Phuoc Tan – Quang Minh Temple
Satinder Kaur – United Voice of Australia
Gurinder Singh – Australian Multicultural Organisation
Andrew Gason – Careers World
Pam Mamouney – Casey Interfaith Network
Kalpana Trivedi – Brahma Kumaris
Dilnaaz Bilimoria – Whitehorse Interfath Network
Yasseen Musa – African Australian Multicultural Youth Services
Berhaan Jaber – Eritrian Australian Humanitarian Aide
Dr. Sonia Singh – South Asia Community Link Group – Youth Ambassador
Nawal Kishore Moudgil – Sangam Kala Group
Hari Yellina – Festivals of South Asia
Frank De Blasi – Moonee Valley Interfaith Network
Rehmat Mohammed – Ahmadiyya Association
Bom Yonzon – Nepalese Association of Vic.
Ellana Saks – Youth for Human Rights
Dr. Dinesh Sood, – Indian Senior Citizens Association
Bhagat Kawal Singh – Indian Senior Citizens Association
Katrina Horvath – Volunteer Minister Disaster Response Team
Discussion: What role does education play towards world peace? Jamel Kaur introduced the topic and each table was requested to discuss the role of Education in achieving World Peace. A representative from each table then gave a gist of each discussion. Following is a brief synopsis.
Study of ‘all’ religions. Not to ‘use’ Religious Education as an excuse by one ‘religious’ group to proselytise. Perhaps the subject should be called ‘Multifaith Studies’.
Love thy neighbour. Help each other. Be of service to others. Treat others as you would like them treat you.
Education – from ‘studying’ to be able to – ‘Learn to Earn’. We must ‘Learn’ to better ourselves. Life isn’t just about earning but it is also about becoming more productive and balanced human beings.
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.
Greater Cultural Education in schools which includes the study of ‘all’ religious beliefs should be introduced into the Education System of Australia.
WOW – World of Wisdom.
The children attending then came in and showed off pictures about world peace they had drawn and spoke individually of salient features of peace like Harmony, Love, Compassion, Equality and so on.
The proceedings ended by a rendition of a Multichant – various chants from various faith groups led by Dya Singh. The attendees then filed outside whilst singing, “We are all connected” to release 21 white doves to signify peace and freedom for all humanity.
The use of premises and also logistical support from the Church of Scientology is gratefully acknowledged. Food was catered by Tandoori Junction. Our thanks to the Victorian State Government for funding and support.
At the point of writing this report, a number of emails have come in: below are a few pertinent comments:
*Many thanks to COMMON and Church of Scientology for organizing such a successful event to commemorate UN International Peace Day today – 21 September. My husband and I enjoyed the event as did Carol from the Whitehouse Interfaith Network. It gave us all the opportunity to meet like-minded peers representing so many faiths and cultures. We met so many old friends and made new ones. Thank You so much for presenting Whitehouse Interfaith Network with the Power of Peace Award. The release of the doves of peace was a wonderful surprise! …Dilnaz and Homi Billimoria
*”It was truly a humbling and fun experience! Thanks a million for making me a part of the energy!”
Said Faezah from the Bahai community.
* It was an honour to be invited and the children stole our hearts. Yes, this is the way to peace. There is great promise and hope. Thank You for all the selfless service that you do.
* It was such an honour to prepare food for such lovely people. May there be more such occasions which bring people from diverse backgrounds together to enjoy and celebrate each others company.
Karan Singh of Tandoori Junction Restaurant.
Report by, Jamel Kaur and Dya Singh
21st September 2015