2009 Events

2009 eventsInterfaith Experience:
Food, Inc. film screening

January 28, 2010 — 7 PM
Action Center to End World Hunger
6 River Terrace, Battery Park City, NY

The Interfaith Experience is proud to bring its first film screening to the Big Apple. Currently on the Academy Award short list for best documentary of 2009, Food, Inc. is a must see for all New Yorkers. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says, “Don’t take another bite till you see Food, Inc., an essential, indelible documentary.”

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA.

Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.
We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even
tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

The Interfaith Experience:
Faith and Food: A Buddhist’s View

Friday, November 20, 2009
Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17th St (at 7th Avenue), New York, NY

Guest Speaker, Jessica Root 
Freelance Environmental Journalist and Yoga Instructor
A practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, Jess’ talk will address food justice as it relates to her faith’s meditation on interdependence and the aspiring Bodhisattva’s wish to benefit all beings. All based on what she knows best-her own, direct experience and meditations that she credits to her teachers His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa and Vivekan.

As an example, Jess will demonstrate the ocean of difference between sitting down to what can simply be viewed as an ordinary bowl of rice, and sitting down to an extraordinary bowl or rice that’s eaten under the lens of the Buddha’s teachings on ‘dependent arising.’

She’s learned and witnessed that Buddhist reflections such as these have trained her often lazy and scattered mind to slow down, reflect, and practice gratitude. This has influenced her consumer decisions for the better-motivating her to put her money, quite literally, where her mouth is, purchasing Fair Trade, local, organic, and responsibly harvested foods.

Jess Root is a freelance environmental journalist and yoga instructor. Her written contributions can be found in Discovery Communications’ TreeHugger.com and PlanetGreen.com. She’s been featured in Budget Travel, E, the Environmental Magazine, and she has lectured at The Tibet Center. As the manager and yoga instructor at Bodhisattva Yoga, she aspires to crystallize the connection between sustainability, spirituality and wellness.

Admission to the event and museum is free after 7pm

Religion, Media & Culture: Islam and the Media
The Paley Center for Media

November 4, 2009 — 6:30 to 8:00 pm
25 West 52 Street (between 5th & 6th Ave)
New York, NY

Is violence in the name of religion a central tenet of, or unique to, Islam? The religion of Islam, and Muslims throughout the world, is often portrayed by the media as intolerant and incapable of peaceful co-existence with Christians, Jews, and other faith communities. Many Muslims believe, despite the clear evidence of sectarian violence done in the name of their religion, that this is an unbalanced, even biased mis-characterization of a global community of over a billion people. A panel of Muslim and non-Muslim media professionals and scholars will examine the role of media, as well as the Islamic community itself, in fostering a worldwide image of Islam and will further explore the issue of extremism perpetrated in the name of faith.

Major Support provided by The Alavi Foundation. alavifoundation.org

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. nyc.gov/html/dcla/html/home/home.shtml


The Interfaith Experience:
Faith and Food

Friday, October 23 — 7pm
Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17th St (at 7th Avenue)
New York, NY

Admission to the event and museum is free after 7pm

Guest Speaker: Katherine Miller, Executive Chef of EnlightenNext

Katherine Miller will be speaking about food and health from her experience as a practitioner of evolutionary enlightenment and the understanding that faith in our purpose in life influences every aspect of our existence, including how we eat. Our experience of faith and purpose deeply influences our appreciation and love for the life forms we depend on to live and grow. It is also where we find the gratitude and humility to begin to pose these critical questions. As we find the answers, our goal is to put them into action in order to create a fundamental shift in our values and the culture we share.

The questions posed during this talk will include:

  • How do our motivations and preferences change as our understanding of life evolves?
  • What happens when we view ourselves as part of an evolutionary process?
  • Is our physical being an expression of the evolution of consciousness and matter?
  • What should we do once we become conscious of these things and need to change?

Click here for more information: theinterfaithexperience.blogspot.com

Interfaith Experience:
Faith and Finance – Islamic Finance

June 26, 2009 — 7pm
Interfaith Experience at the Rubin Museum of Art
Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17th St
New York, NY
Admission is free.

At a time when the conventional interest-based global financial system is in turmoil, it is a natural reaction to seek more prudent and ethical alternative systems of financial management. Please join us for the conclusion of our “Faith and Finance” Series and hear our guest speaker, Wesam Berjaoui, discuss the principles of Islamic finance.

Questions to be answered include: Why is Islamic finance is the fastest growing phenomenon in global finance? How does Islamic finance differ from conventional finance? Why does Islamic law, Shariah, forbid Muslims from receiving interest on loans or savings? Click here for more information: theinterfaithexperience.blogspot.com

Considerations of Religious and Ritual Development

June 12, 2009 — 6 pm—8:30 pm
A Guided Tour of the Asian Galleries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art followed by a sumptuous dinner and lively discussion
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
5th & Madison, 6 E 82nd Street
New York, NY‎

Join us for a special private tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Asian galleries, led by Diana P. Rowan, Buddhist Art specialist and contractual lecturer at the Museum.

The tour will trace Western and Central Asian influence on Buddhism as it spread eastward from its place of origin in the Gangetic Valley of northern India. The galleries of Chinese, Tibetan, and Japanese art will then be visited to study the development of Buddhist religion and its ritual observances.

The group will then attend a private dinner at the Petrie Court Café located in the Carroll and Milton Petrie European Sculpture Court.

Space is limited, so register early. Fee: $250.00* – *$170 Tax Deductable. Registration deadline: April 15, 2009 Contact: Andrea Brown at 212-573-9224, ext 22 or andrea@templeofunderstanding.org

Faith and Finance:
Can It Make a Difference

May 29, 2009 — 7:00 pm
Interfaith Experience at the Rubin Museum of Art
Sheila Wall and Michael Pergola from Coalition for One Voice
Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17th St
New York, NY
Admission is free.

In the past 30 years we have witnessed a series of disruptions
to the financial system that have been publicly perceived as scandals that deviate from the norm. They have followed each other with a certain inevitability, and have led to the current freezing of the world economy and the disruption of countless lives.

We will explore this phenomenon, and what we can do individually and collectively to respond creatively to current circumstances.

We will focus on how the consciousness of individuality has played itself out in our institutions, particularly our financial and educational institutions, and offer insights and practices from the great spiritual traditions that can increase our capacity to experience deep inner peace in the midst of turmoil, and to find creative responses and skillful actions in the face of the current challenges.

Click here for more information: http://theinterfaithexperience.blogspot.com

Thanks to Everyone

for making
Religion, Media & Culture:
In Conversation With
@ The Paley Center for Media a great success.

Stay tuned for the series …

Click to view a short video clip of the program

Religion, Culture and Media:
The Dalai Lama – In Conversation with Professor Robert A.F. Thurman

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 — 6:30 to 8:00 pm
The Paley Center for Media
25 West 52 Street (between 5th & 6th Ave)
New York, NY

Ticket Price: $20* (Advance Ticket Purchase Required)

In Person:
Professor Robert A.F. Thurman, Prof. Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, Columbia Univ. and President, Tibet House US; Ibrahim Abdil-Mu’id Ramey, Direct of Human Rights Division, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation.

In 1959, coverage of the Dalai Lama’s exile from Tibet catapulted his epic struggle with China onto the world stage.

Fifty years later, despite highly sophisticated attacks on his reputation and threats of diplomatic sanctions against welcoming states, his celebrity is larger than ever. As the Dalai Lama visits New York in May to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his exile, join us for a discussion to explore different perspectives on the success of his use of media in advancing awareness of the plight of the Tibetan people.

*Advance ticket purchase is required. To order tickets or for more information, please visit the Paleycenter.org or call 212.621.6600. )

This program is presented in conjunction with The Paley Center for Media. The Paley Center for Media, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public http://paleycenter.org/religion-media-and-culture-the-dalai-lama

Interfaith Experience:
KEEPING THE FAITH – “Economic Turmoil and Financial Abundance”

March 27, 2009 — 7:00 PM
Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17th St
New York, NY.

Andrew Wang, Senior Vice President at Runnymede Capital Management, addresses the importance of financial health in one’s pursuit of physical, mental and spiritual well being. Drawing from personal and professional experience, Andrew discusses the subject of money from a Christian perspective as it relates to materialism, giving, prosperity and success. Amidst the back drop of a contracting economy, global banking crisis, and corporate malfeasance, Andrew shares the foundation of his financial ministry and how Christian views on money apply to the current economic turmoil.

Andrew is a Senior Vice President and an Equity Portfolio Manager at Runnymede Capital Management, a registered investment advisor that serves individuals and institutional clients. Runnymede Capital Management was recently nominated as investment “Manager of the Year” for 2008 by the editors of Financial Investment News. In 1996, Runnymede coined the term “Financial Hurricanes.” In the face of major downturns, Andrew believes that you must take defensive positioning which has benefits in terms of financial and emotional health. Andrew holds a B.A. in International Studies with honors from Trinity College.

Click here for more information: theinterfaithexperience.blogspot.com

12th Annual Season for Nonviolence Conference at the United Nations
to honor the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took place on March 19th, 2009 at the UN.

The Mission of Nicaragua to the United Nations sponsored the program, and H.E. Mrs. Maria Rubiales se Chamorro delivered a warm welcome address.

The Season for Nonviolence Conference (SNV) is part of a 64-day national educational, media, and grassroots campaign promoting nonviolence as a powerful tool for transformation, empowerment and healing of individuals and communities. This year our event attracted over 600 students (ages 10 – 18) from Maine to Maryland.

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Terrence Roberts, a member of the “Little Rock Nine.” In 1957, young Terrence Roberts, along with eight other African-American youth, desegregated Central High School, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Surrounded by the National Guard and jeering mobs, the Little Rock Nine’s courage and grace became an important and inspirational event in the American Civil Rights Movement.

Dr. Roberts went on to received a Ph.D. in psychology and, until his retirement in 2008, held a co-departmental chair position at Antioch University. He continues in a private psychology practice in Pasadena, CA and is CEO of the management-consulting firm, Terrence J Roberts & Associates.

Most recently, Dr. Roberts was a prominently featured guest at the inauguration of President Obama.

The Temple of Understanding is sponsoring a panel for the 53rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) entitled,
Religious Activism Challenging HIV/AIDS: Moving Towards 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2009 — 4 – 5:30pm
Church Center for the United Nations, 777 First Avenue (at 44th Street), NY, NY

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal UN global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at UN Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.

In accordance with its multi-year program of work for 2007–2009, the Commission will consider the following themes at its 53rd session:

  • Priority Theme: “The Equal Sharing of Responsibilities between Women and Men, including Caregiving in the Context of HIV/AIDS”
  • Emerging Issue: “The Gender Perspectives of the Financial Crisis”

Pursuing Higher Values in Challenging Times

Friday, February 27, 2009 — 7pm
Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17th St
New York, NY.

Guest Speaker – KONA GOULET, Director of Development of EnlightenNext

If you want to know what you value in life, just look in your check book.” In these challenging times, when we tend to become more conservative, the question is, what are we conserving? Do we conserve that which matters most? After we cut out the “excess” in our lives, is what’s left a reflection of our higher values? Or do we succumb to survival instincts and leave our higher aspirations to times less troubling?

In this talk, Kona Goulet, Director of Development for EnlightenNext, will speak about how in challenging times we must ask ourselves even more deeply just how much our lives (and finances) are expressing our faith and our deepest values.

Admission is free. Click here for more information

The 6th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Nonviolence Conference 2009
Over 175 students from NY and NJ attended the conference, held on Saturday, January 24 at the SGI International – USA building in New York City.

Tem Blessed, Hip Hop artist & activist

“Sustainability: Embracing a Global Initiative,” was the subject of the 2009 MLK Youth Nonviolence Conference. This conference focused on youth and community empowerment in light of a wide range of issues related to global sustainability. Interactive workshops, speakers and performances addressed topics including the role of religion in sustainability work, accessibility to health care, the global food supply and production, the “greening” of economies, strategies for ending poverty, “clean” energy resources, and access to drinking water.

Keynote address by Tanya Fields, formerly of Sustainable South Bronx and a current staff member at the Marjora Carter Group, LLC -, a “green economic development consulting group.”

Tem Blessed- Hip Hop artist and community activist from New

ACTing Out

Bedford, MA- helped to open the conference with a brief performance and help us to end the day with an upbeat concert of original music with themes that include, peace, inclusion and care for the Earth.

The SGI Youth Band also provided music for the conference.

Workshops and workshop leadership included:
Earth, Climate and Our Society: Finding a Sustainable Future with Matt Damato and Graham Bishop, Climate & Society program, the Earth Institute/ Columbia University

Jewish Women Artist and Environmental Justice – Abby Gondek, the Curriculum Initiative: Jewish Resources and Culture for Independent Schools, NY

Susan B. Anthony Students, Staten Island, NY

Mosaic: Improvisation as Activism – ACTing Out (Kirstin Lynch-Walsh, director) Sewell, NJ

Tanya Fields, staff member at the Marjora
Carter Group – Keynote Speaker