2010 Events

Climate Change:
Summary and Recommendations to Governments, 2010
CoNGO Committee on Sustainable Development (New York)

11/29-12/06 — TOU attends Cop16: Climate Change Conf. Cancun, MX

2010 eventsThe human-caused global-warming trend of climate change is scientifically established iii. Human beings are not distinct from nature, but are part of nature, and are now affecting nature in an alarmingly negative way. Impacts from global warming are now being felt and will soon become far worse.

All countries will be increasingly affected in a myriad of severe, adverse ways: economically, environmentally, militarily, politically, medically, and psychologically. Global stability is threatened. There is no safe haven. Humane effective responses to global warming with an ethical and moral foundation require difficult equitable resolutions of conflicting national situations generated by different per-capita emissions (historical, current, and future), economic development, and energy requirements. Nevertheless the interests of all are intertwined. We need to become globally earth-centered, with respect for global human rights, reverence and compassion for living beings, with a light carbon footprint. We need dedicated, clear, decisive leadership and action to beneficially counter global warming by governments, NGOs, corporations, and individuals. There is no alternative. Let not future generations, impacted by global warming, say of us, “They knew but did not act”.

To read the recommendations to Governments for Action on Climate Change click here.

50th Anniversary Gala and the Juliet Hollister Awards Ceremony

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
6:30 – 10:30 p.m.
The Pierre Hotel · New York City

View PDF Program >>

Please join us for a Panel Discussion:
Art, Spirituality & the Transformation of Counsciousness into the Ecological Age
To promote a Moral Force for Environmental Action

Wednesday, June 23 — 6-9 pm
ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Street, 5th Fl., NYC

Co-sponsored with ACA Galleries. Today we see that the industrial age has led us to the brink of disaster; witness the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. We need artists, authors and spiritual teachers to inspire us to reclaim our role as the protectors of the universe and thereby create a true partnership with the Earth community.

Their role is to show us why it is important to respond to the Earth’s need for planetary renewal and step up to our responsibilities as citizens of the cosmos.

Featured Panelists:

Irene Hardwicke Olivieri, Artist and Naturalist

Robert Bell, Chairman Department of Economics Brooklyn College, Author of The Green Bubble

Dr. Kurt Johnson, Ecologist and Professor of Comparative Religion

Rabbi Lawerence Troster, GreenFaith



A Special Invitational Event

Unveiling of the Peace Monument for Jerusalem

May 2 – 5th — 4-7 pm
The International Poster Center, ACA Galleries, The Temple of Understanding and Jan Sawka are proud to present the unveiling of the design and scale model for the Peace Monument for Jerusalem. This monument honors peaceful coexistence between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Crowned with the symbols of the three religions, a forest of slender white rods soars toward the sky out of an irregular opening in the ground, reminiscent of a gash or wound.

The monument’s designer, Jan Sawka, explains that that “the forest of rods represents hope and the highest human aspirations rising into the future, out of the wound-like opening, which symbolizes the painful and conflicted past.” An underground area beneath the monument will house the Peace Center, a location where activities, symposia and meetings promoting peace and coexistence can continue.

The proposal of this monument comes from the art and interfaith dialogue communities. The International Poster Center, directed by Jack Rennert, is a preeminent poster gallery and leading auction house of rare posters. ACA Galleries was established in 1932 and has a history of supporting socially beneficial causes. Located in Chelsea, ACA specializes in 19th & 20th century American Art, Modern & Contemporary paintings, drawings & sculpture.

For 50 years, The Temple of Understanding has been a leader in the field of Interfaith Education. Its mission is to achieve peaceful coexistence among individuals and societies by fostering an appreciation of religious and cultural diversity. Its Founding Friends include Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Merton, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, H.H. Pope John XXIII and H.H. Tenzin Gyatso, The XIVth Dalai Lama, among others. The TOU is a Non-Governmental Organization with Consultative Status at the United Nations (ECOSOC).

Internationally recognized artist Jan Sawka’s life and work have been informed by humanism and activism toward causes of justice and human rights. As a young man, his artworks opposed the communist regime in Poland and its violation of human expression and civil rights. In 1968 Poland, he was a leader in protests against Soviet anti-Semitic policies, which led to his punishment at the hands of the military. Exiled in 1976 from their homeland, Mr. Sawka and his family have lived in the United States ever since. Mr. Sawka has devised symbollic artworks for the Solidarity Movement, Human Rights Watch, non-nuclear future fundraisers, Holocaust memorials, and the anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian uprising. Pope John Paul II blessed his activities and work in 1992. In 1996, when Mr. Sawka began work with the authorities of the United Arab Emirates on a design for an art and culture complex, he met intellectuals of the Arabic world, who included Dr. Jamal al Majaida, and the concept was born to create a far-reaching symbol of peace to be built in Jerusalem.

Ghandi King Chavez Season for Nonviolence

May 6, 2010 —  3:30– 5:00pm
Susan E. Wagner High School
1200 Manor Road, Staten Island, NY

Organized by the NYC SNV Task Force in cooperation with the Tanzania Mission to the United Nations

A Season for Nonviolence is a national educational, media, and grassroots campaign dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and our communities. It was inspired by the anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and now also honors César Chavez.

Presenters and Co-Sponsors

  • Mr. Gary M. Giordano, Principal, Susan E. Wagner High School; Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer; Eric Held, Master of Ceremonies
  • Musical Presentations by: The Trenton Children’s Chorus, directed by Patricia Thel; Music Written by Jim Papoulis and Arranged by Francisco Nunez
  • Youth Presentation: IDEA Youth
  • Keynote Address: Mr. Ibrahim A. Sharif, NJ State Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission
  • Personal Reflection and Action Steps from Parents: Joan Mckeever-Thomas; Robert Alan Silverstein; Dina Tush
  • Youth Performance: “Stand Up-Speak Out-End Violence Against Woman!”
    Students of Susan E. Wagner High School Conflict Resolution Program Under the direction of Mr. George Anthony
  • World Peace Flag Ceremony: Led by Deborah Moldow, The World Peace Prayer Society

Event Co-Sponsors: The Association for Global New Thought, The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, The Temple of Understanding, The United Religions Initiative, The World Peace Prayer Society. Please contact Suzanne Guthrie for more information and to RSVP for your school at suzanne@templeofunderstanding.org or 212.573.9224

Interfaith Experience:
Food and Faith Series presents Food from an Interspiritual Perspective
with Rev. Philip Waldrop

March 24th — at 7pm
Rubin Museum of Art – Cafe, 150 W 17th St (at 7th Avenue), NYC
Admission is free

Reverend Philip Waldrop will speak on “Food from an Interspiritual Perspective.”
While our previous events have touched on the perspectives of Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, and spirituality, Rev. Phil will speak from his experience as an Interfaith Minister, an inclusive global spirituality that honors all faiths. Drawing from many of the world’s spiritual traditions, Rev. Phil will identify five spiritual themes and several sub-themes about food itself, its role in our lives, and our relationship to it.

Rev. Philip Waldrop is on staff at the Interfaith Temple of NYC, on the Board of A World Alliance of Interfaith Clergy, Chair of its Standing Committee on Communications, and Publisher of the on-line magazine INTERFAITH Today. He is also a dean of first year students at The New Seminary in New York City and on the leadership team of the NY-NJ-CT Tri-State Council of Men as Learners and Elders. In 2007, he was ordained an Interfaith Minister. The interfaith approach of honoring all spiritual paths and religions, finding commonalities in essence, and seeing the mystical and transcendent as something shared by humanity drew him to this path. In addition to conducting worship services, weddings, funerals, and other customized ceremonies, Rev. Phil is a speaker and facilitator on a variety of spiritual topics, and, by appointment, does spiritual counseling and healing using Reiki and Pranic Healing techniques. Rev. Phil is also an amateur cook and likes to make dishes such as healthy soups, sautés, salads, coleslaw and cornbread.

A Special ToU Members Event:
An Evening with Faith Ringgold and Friends:

February 25th — 6-8 pm
Artists and Writers Discuss Race, Religion, Social Justice and Inspiration; Elizabeth A. Sackler, Moderator
Co-sponsored with ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Street, 5th Fl., NYC
To attend, please call the ToU office for information 212.573.9224
or Email: info@templeofunderstanding.org

Joining Faith Ringgold on the panel:

Elizabeth Sackler – Philanthropist & Founder, The Elizabeth A. Sackler Gallery of
Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum

Lisa Farrington – Author & Chair, Art & Music & Professor of Art History, John Jay College
Robert R. Hieronimus – Visionary Artist

Tim McHenry – Producer, Rubin Museum of Art

Faith Ringgold, MA is a painter, sculptor, teacher & author of numerous award winning children’s books. Recently retired Professor Emeritus of Art at the University of California in San Diego, Ringgold has received 22 Honorary Doctorates. Best known for her painted story quilts — art that combines painting, quilted fabric and storytelling, she has exhibited in major museums in the USA, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Her works are in the permanent collection of many museums including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art.

Ringgold’s first children’s book, Tar Beach, published by Crown Publishers in 1991, won over 20 awards including The Caldecott Award and was made into an animated short for HBO. The painted story quilt, Tar Beach, is in the permanent collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Faith Ringgold is the recipient of over 75 awards, fellowships, citations and honors, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship for painting and two National Endowment for the Arts Awards.

This event is free to supporters of the Temple of Understanding. If you would like to attend, but you aren’t a supporter yet, please call Andrea Brown, 212-573-9224, ext 22 and become a member today!

Interfaith Experience:
Islam and Food with Imam Khalid Latif

February 24 — 7 pm
Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17th St (at 7th Avenue), NYC
Admission is free

Please join us for our February event with Imam Khalid Latif, the first Muslim chaplain at NYU and youngest chaplain in the history of the NYPD. Continuing our “Food and Faith” series, Imam Latif will be discussing the Muslim perspective. What does the Muslim faith dictate to its practitioners in terms of food choice? If you walk into a New York eatery and see that a food is “halal,” what exactly does it mean? During Ramadan, what is the role of fasting? These questions and many more will be addressed in this intriguing talk.

Imam Khalid Latif was appointed the first Muslim chaplain at NYU in 2005 where he began to initiate his vision for a pluralistic future on and off campus for American Muslims. He was also appointed the first Muslim chaplain at Princeton University in 2006. Spending a year commuting between these two excellent institutions, he finally decided to commit
full-time to New York University’s Islamic Center where his position was officially institutionalized in the spring of 2007.

Under his leadership, the Islamic Center at NYU became the first ever established Muslim student center at an institution of higher education in the United States. Imam Latif’s exceptional dedication and ability to cross interfaith and cultural lines on a daily basis brought him recognition throughout the city, so much so that in 2007 Mayor Michael Bloomberg nominated Imam Latif to become the youngest chaplain in history of the New York City Police Department at the age of 24.

Imam Latif has not only managed to solidify the basis of a strong Muslim community at NYU that seeks to emphasize inclusiveness and understanding of others without compromise, but has also worked tirelessly to foster dialogue with people of other faiths in order to clarify misconceptions and encourage mutual education. Through his work Imam Latif has demonstrated not only an exceptional dedication to gaining and disseminating religious knowledge and values, but has begun to carve out a much-needed space for young American Muslims to celebrate their unique identity and have their voices heard in the larger public sphere. He is a sought after speaker, having lectured throughout the United States and in various parts of the world and has been quoted, featured and appeared in numerous media outlets including BBC, NPR, CNN, the NY Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine, BET and GEO TV. Amongst many awards and distinctions for leadership and community service over the last few years, Imam Latif was most recently named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world in 2009 by Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talaal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre.

Terrence J. Roberts & Maurice DuBois

An Evening with Dr. Terrence J. Roberts
(a member of the ‘Little Rock Nine’);
Moderator Maurice DuBois – Co-anchor of
CBS2 News This Morning & CBS2 News at Noon

February 11th
6:00 – 7:30 Discussion;
7:45 – 8:30 Book Signing

Con Edison, 4 Irving Place, NYC — Cost: $10

Fifty-three years after the integration of Little Rock Central High School, the struggle for social justice and equality continues.

Join us for an evening of discussion, recollections and inspiration as we explore this pivotal chapter in American History. The meaning and

In this never before published collection of essays, Dr. Roberts explores topics such as race, social responsibility, and tolerance in our daily lives in order to challenge the ‘mental maps’ we cling to when discussions of social justice arise. Price: $24.95

message of his recently published memoir, Lessons from Little Rock, and book of essays, Simple But Not Easy: Reflections on Community, Social Justice and Tolerance, will also be explored.

Book signing will immediately follow.

Biography of Terrence James Roberts (From National Park Service, Central High School National Historic Site, Terrence James Roberts made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African-American students who desegregated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The world watched as they braved constant intimidation and threats from those who opposed integration of the formerly all-white high school.

Roberts was a sophomore at Horace Mann High School when he volunteered to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School for the 1957–58 school year. Despite daily harassment from some white students, Roberts completed his junior year at Central. The following year, the city’s high schools were closed to prevent further desegregation. As a result, Roberts moved to Los Angeles, California, and graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1959.

Following his graduation from high school, Roberts attended California State University at Los Angeles and earned a BA in sociology in 1967. He attended graduate school at the University of California at Los Angeles and received an MS in social welfare in 1970. In 1976, Roberts earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He currently serves as co-chair of the department of Master of Arts in Psychology Program at Antioch College in Los Angeles, California, and also teaches several graduate courses there. In addition

Author Terrence Roberts, recounts a time in America’s history when separate but equal was the law and the idea of social justice for the disenfranchised, a distant dream. Price: $24.95

to serving as CEO of Terrence J. Roberts and Associates Management Consulting Firm, he maintains a private psychology practice and is a desegregation consultant to the Little Rock School District.

Roberts was awarded the prestigious Spingarn Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1958. In 1999, President Bill Clinton presented the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, to the members of the Little Rock Nine. In 2009, he published a memoir, Lessons from Little Rock.

Avdanced reservation required in order to attend. To order tickets: call 212-573-9224, ext. 22. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Dr. Roberts. Seating is limited so order your tickets now. Support for this program is provided by Con Edison and ToU supporters.





Interfaith Experience:
Food, Inc. film screening

January 28th — 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.

Tickets can be purchased online from Brown Paper Tickets www.brownpapertickets.com/event/92006
Suggested Donation $10. For more information about the event click here