Women, Water, and Wellbeing, 3/22/16

March 22, 2016 from 10:00-11:15am
United Nations Headquarters, Conference Room 11
RSVP by March 17

This interactive dialogue will address the intersection of the human right to water and sanitation and water justice for women. The speakers will address the multifaceted nature of this vital resource and common good, essential for life. In addition to perspectives from government, research, ethics, and practical humanitarian responses, the experiences and wisdom of women will be presented.

The TOU is part of the Mining Working Group, which is co-sponsoring this event.



Interfaith Service at UN CSW, 3/18/16

CSW Interfaith Service 2016

Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Gratitude

2016 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women
Friday, March 18, 2016, 6:00pm
Chapel of the Church Center for the United Nations
New York, New York

The Temple of Understanding is a co-sponsor and organizing partner of the “Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Gratitude” which was held Friday, March 18th in the Chapel of the Church Center for the United Nations as part of the 2016 Commission on the Status of Women.

Interfaith Award to be presented to Shri Mumtaz Ali

Dr. Karan Singh (Temple of understanding Invitation card)

Interfaith Harmony: Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals

Interfaith Harmony Event 2016

Faith at the United Nations: Peace, Sustainable Development Goals, and Interfaith Understanding

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TOU Events at the Parliament of the World’s Religions Conference

Faith at the United Nations: Sustainable Development Goals, Peace and Interfaith Understanding

October 19th, 2015, 8:30-10:00am Ballroom A

The Panelists:

Grove Harris is an environmental activist at the United Nations, representing the Temple of Understanding. She works with the Mining Working Group towards SDGs based on human rights, rather than exploitation. Previously, she was the Program Director for the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions, and she consults, speaks, and writes about religious diversity in
America and the interfaith movement. She works on an organic farm, and paints spiritually with recycled materials.

Azza Karam is an Egyptian, and serves as a senior advisor on culture at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) where she also coordinates a UN Inter-agency Task Force on Engaging with Faith-Based Organizations. She has previously managed international programmes and written extensively on democratization, conflict and gender related issues.

Denise Scotto is an attorney at law, policy advisor and international speaker. She also represents the International Federation of Women in Legal Careers and other NGOs at the UN. Denise’s background includes working in the United
Nations Department for Economic & Social Affairs (DESA), serving on the executive board of the UN Staff Recreation Council Enlightenment Society and the Values Caucus at the UN. She is an interfaith minister.

Monica Willard represents the United Religions Initiative at the United Nations. She is co-chair of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee at the UN and works with the UN Department of Public Information to organize the annual Student Observance of the International Day of Peace (Sept 21). As president of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN from 2011-13, she was instrumental in establishing World Interfaith Harmony Week events at the UN, including two in the
General Assembly sponsored by the President of the General Assembly. Monica was a founding member of the Tripartite Forum for Interfaith Cooperation for Peace and Development that included United Nations Member States, Agencies and Religious NGOs.

Peter Adriance is the representative for Sustainable Development, U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs, 13201 19th St. NW, Suite 701, Washington, DC 20036, 202-833-8990, www.publicaffairs.bahai.us/sustainable-development, padriance@usbnc.org
Mr. Adriance has represented the Baha’is of the U.S. nationally and internationally on issues of sustainable development for more than two decades. He helped to found and administer several civil society networks in preparation for UN conferences and related events. He works to build understanding and appreciation for the ethical and spiritual dimensions of sustainability. He serves on the governing board of the International Environment Forum – a Baha’i-inspired organization addressing the
environment and sustainable development.


Community Resilience: Peace, Justice, Food and Water

Friday October 16th, 12:15-1:45pm, Exhibit Hall 3


Grove Harris, Vandana Shiva, Laxmi Shah, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati


The Panelists:


Dr. Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmentalist and activist. In 1991, she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources – especially native seed – and to promote organic farming and fair trade, serving more than 500,000 men and women farmers. Dr.Shiva’s work spans teaching at universities worldwide, to working with peasants in rural India, to serving on expert environmental groups for governments around the world. For the last two decades, Navdanya has worked with local communities and organisations, serving more than 500,000 men and women farmers, conserving more than 3000 rice varieties from across India, and establishing 60 seed banks in 16 states across the country.

Starhawk is the author of many works celebrating the Goddess movement and Earth-based, feminist spirituality. She’s a peace, environmental, and global justice activist and trainer, a permaculture designer and teacher, a Pagan and Witch. In her twelfth book, The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups, Starhawk draws on four decades of experience in circles and collectives to show us how to foster connection, clear communication, and positive power in ourselves and our groups.

Grove Harris, Moderator, Main Representative to the United Nations, Temple of Understanding

Power, Health, Sustainability: Women Challenging Extractive Industries

 Power, Health, Sustainability:
Women Challenging Oil, Gas and Other Extractive Industries

This is a Temple of Understanding side event for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Date:  March 12, 2015
Time: 2:30 pm
Venue: Armenian Convention Center, New York CIty
Room Assignment: Ballroom 1


Riki Ott: Author, Activist, Public Speaker — ” We have the power to stop the oil industry and the federal government from doing more harm. It is time to exercise our power in our communities.”

Nina Simons: President and Co-Founder of Bioneers, Founder of Everywoman’s Leadership and Co-Founder- Cultivating Women’s Leadership, programs of Bioneers- Nina Simons is an award-winning social entrepreneur and visionary thinker.

Juliet Hollister Award presented to Ela Gandhi

The Juliet Hollister Award was presented to Ela Gandhi at the 55th Anniversary Dinner of the Temple of Understanding. This was part of the Interfaith Harmony for Peace & Nonviolence Conference in New Delhi on February 6-8, 2015.


Ela Gandhi

Ela Gandhi


Ela Gandhi receiving award

 Dr. Karan Singh and Alison Van Dyk presenting the 2015 Juliet Hollister Award to Ela Gandhi.

Why Torture (Still) Matters – And What We Can Do About It

 Why Torture (Still) Matters – And What We Can Do About It

October 29, Wednesday 1-3PM  at the Church Center for the United Nations
777 UN Plaza, 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10017 (44th St. & First Ave)

Ethicist, writer and activist Rebecca Gordon discusses her new book, Mainstreaming Torture. Gordon argues that institutionalized state torture remains as wrong today as it was on the day before the terrible attacks of September 11. U.S. practices during the “war on terror” are rooted in a long history that begins before the nation was founded, and that continues both in the “war on terror” and in the use of torture in present-day American jails and prisons. Torture is still an urgent moral issue. Come hear what it is, how it works, and what we can do to stop it.

The TOU is proud to co-sponsor this event with the Loretto Community, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, the National Religious Coalition Against Torture and more.

TOU at the Connecting for Change Conference 2014

The TOU will again be offering two programs at the October 24 and 25 Connecting for Change conference in New Bedford, MA.

Communities, Climate Change and Faith Traditions

This panel will bring together two experts in economic transformation – energy and water systems – who will discuss how colder winters, wetter storms, and hotter summers are opening up new work opportunities in coastal cities.  These opportunities will be blended with nearby experiences in church-based youth employment and eco-economic education campaigns.  We will discuss opportunities and challenge, and we will define some specific actions that we can begin to take together.  The overarching goal is to connect reverence for the earth with a collective effort to foster youth involvement in climate change jobs.

Speakers: Craig Lindell, Rob Garrity, Karen Stewart and Tom Flanagan;   Moderator: Alison Van Dyk, ED Temple of Understanding

The Spirit of Resilience: Art, Earth (Food! Body!) and Politics 

How is resilience nurtured?  Art is crucial, as is local food, alternative health care and political activism. These multigenerational speakers, from the rural outer cape and uber-urban NYC, are working in art, farming, bodywork, and faith-based activism at the UN, and this panel weaves the threads towards mutual resilience. Convened by the Temple of Understanding.

  • Grove Harris is Representative to the United Nations for The Temple of Understanding.
  • Drake Cook is lead farmer of Pure Joy Farm, Truro, MA .
  • Tessa Gifford is an entrepreneurial massage therapist.
  • Molly Butler is an intern and UN activist with the Loretto community.
  • Dorothy Palanza is the director of Provincetown’s Appearances Eco-Festival.