2011 Events

2011 events

From the Purification Ceremony Pavilion from Xishangting. Photo courtesy of the Palace Museum, Beijing

Next Tour October 2011 – SOLD OUT

Major Support provided by The Alavi Foundation

Spiritual Journeys/Sacred Art: A Survey of the World’s Ancient Religious Traditions


  • The Forbidden City: An Exploration of Buddhism, Taoism & Confucianism
  • Migration of the Spirit: Transmission of Religious Beliefs as Seen in Asian Art
  • The Grand Mosaic: The Variety and Impact of Religious Traditions on the Art of India

The Grand Mosaic: The Variety and Impact of Religious Traditions on the Art of India

October 2011 (date TBA), lunch and a special guest lecturer precede the tour.
The third and final program in the series begins with an exquisite meal at a local Indian restaurant, where a special guest lecturer will enlighten and inform while providing context for the tour ahead. After traveling to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we will resume the trajectory started during the Migration of the Spirit program. This leg of the journey begins with an exploration of Central Asian art, with particular attention to its Persian and Greco- Roman components. The focus will then shift to the art of ancient Gandhara (modern Pakistan) and finally on to India proper, where the development of ritual and imagery will be studied in the art of the Pala and Chola dynasties, and that of later temple structure.

Migration of the Spirit: Transmission of Religious Beliefs as Seen in Asian Art

Friday, June 17, 2011, 6:30 pm, dinner included
Our explorations continue as we move from China into Japan and on to the Himalayan Mountains during this look at various schools (Mahayana and Vajrayana) along with indigenous belief systems. A special three-course dinner immediately follows.

The Forbidden City: An Exploration of Buddhism, Taoism & Confucianism

Friday, April 29, 2011, 6:30 pm, dinner included
The intersection of Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian traditions will be considered in this specially commissioned program. Particular attention to the religious works will be made as we tour this collection of sumptuous artifacts from the elaborate two-acre private retreat built deep within the Forbidden City in 1771 for the Quinlong Emperor. A three-course dinner with a guest expert immediately follows the tour.

Series Sponsor: $10,000
Program Patron (Tour Series, Invitation-only and Special Dinner): $5,000
Program Friend (Tour Series Event): $1,750
Series Friend: $750
Single Program: $350

Newark Peace Education Summit
The Power of NonViolence

Saturday, May 14 — 10:35am -12:05pm

Temple of Understanding: Community Action as Education

Program Description: The Temple of Understanding (TOU) educates youth and adults cross culturally and inter-religiously for global citizenship and peaceful coexistence; advocates for acceptance and respect for religious pluralism
by the worlds governing bodies; and actively continues to promote justice
and tolerance.

Community Action as Education workshop will demonstrate the power that youth have to make change in their local environments and how to use community action projects as strong educational tools. The program will highlight local youth who will present TOU’s Interfaith Dialogue, Education and Action program, the TOU’s UN Summer Intensive Internship, and include youth performances.

The keynote speakers for the workshop will be NJ’s own Ibrahim Sharif a well known supporter of the link between education and community service, and award winning Author L.Y. Marlow who has successfully taken her personal message to the community to advocate and lobby for change.

Ibrahim Sharif was appointed as Executive Director of the New Jersey State Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission in 2002. Thereafter, was appointed as a Government Representative at the New Jersey State Parole Board. And with a rewarding career of over thirty years at Merck & Company and five years as Special Confidential Aide to Mayor James Kennedy of Rahway New Jersey. And he spearheaded an initiative by bringing Merck & Company to the NJSPB to support a Patient Assistance Program.

In 1991 he received the Governor’s Volunteer Award and spearheaded the establishment of the Dr. P. Roy Vagelos Scholarship Award. Mr. Sharif was a catalyst in establishing a program called MISE (Merck Institute for Science Education, supporting science in targeted school districts in grades K-12, a program with a 17 year budget of over 60 million dollars). He also developed a program in the trades for youth that wanted a choice other than a four-year college career.

Mr. Sharif was recognized for the work he did with Merck & Company (MISE) when U.S. Congressman Donald Payne read his accomplishment into the Congressional Record. Recently, President Obama, recognized the Merck Institute Science Education (MISE) as being a model science education initiative at an event held at the White House. Mr. Sharif was the catalyst that started this program in 1993 at Merck & Company. Mr. Sharif is the Executive Director for the Irvington International Trade Commission and a member of the American African Asian Chamber of Commerce

L.Y. Marlow is the award-winning author of Color Me Butterfly, an endearing true story about four generations of mothers and daughters that suffered and survived 60+ years of domestic violence and abuse: the true story of her grandmother, her mother, herself, and her daughter.

But the story does not end there. In the fall 2007, Ms. Marlow discovered that her 22 year old daughter was trapped in an abusive relationship–one in which the abuser not only tried to kill her daughter twice, but threatened the life of their baby girl named Promise, an experience that inspired Ms. Marlow to found Saving Promise, the first of its kind domestic violence awareness brand to make domestic violence a national priority in the same way as breast cancer awareness.

In her role as author, advocate, and founder of Saving Promise, what has been most inspiring is Ms. Marlow’s story and timely message for change.

Renewable Energy: Transforming Communities

19th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development

Hosted by the Temple of Understanding & the United Nations Association’s Council of Organizations

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 * 6:15pm – 7:45pm, The United Nations

RSVP Required


  • Minoru Takada,  Manager, Sustainable Energy Program, Environment and Energy Group, United Nations Development Program
  • Randall Solomon,  Principal, Sustainable Jersey:  a municipal certification program and award winning  top social change innovator
  • Rob Garrity,  CEO, Finlo renewable energy: Solar electric development, leading innovation in this burgeoning industry
  • Grove Harris (Moderator),  Representative to the United Nations, Temple of Understanding

This session will bring together representatives of government, business and non-profit sectors in the shift towards sustainable patterns of consumption and production. The focus is on renewable energy in the local and national United States context.  Speakers will offer their cutting edge initiatives that are transforming the commercial and residential marketplaces. In light of current opportunities and challenges, speakers will present their blueprints for the changes they foresee and their impact on communities.

 For further information, please email gharris@templeofunderstanding.org

The Green Women’s Economy, Creating a Sustainable Bronx
The 55th Session Commission on the Status of Women

Feb. 25th — 2-3:30 pm
Church Center for the UN, Hardin Room

Featured Panelists:

  • Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Policy Advisor to the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, New York City; Author
  • Miquela Craytor, Executive Director, Sustainable South Bronx
  • Nina Simons, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Bioneers; Social Entrepreneur

Background Information:

The access to and participation of women in education, training, science and technology in an emerging Green Economy is crucial to gender balance and climate justice. The emerging Green Economy marketplace must promote women’s equal access to full employment and decent work. The inclusion of women will highlight important skill sets that are necessary for resolving our ecological crisis. A call to action is needed now.

This panel of experts from local government, NGOs and small business will focus on experiences, lessons learned and best practices making a “sustainable Bronx” a case study for other major cities around the world. For further information please contact: Lily Schwabe, Representative to the U.N. at 212-573-9224 ext. 26, or lily@templeofunderstanding.org

14th Annual Ghandi King Chavez Season for Nonviolence
“Speak Out, Unite, End Violence Against Women”
Sponsored by the Mission of Tanzania.

Wednesday, Feb. 2nd — 1:15-2:30 PM
At the UN – NLB ECOSOC Chamber. Entrance to the United Nations is located at 1st Avenue between 45th and 46th Street, NYC

Keynote Speaker: L.Y. Marlow, an award-winning author, domestic violence advocate, women’s advocate and founder of Saving Promise.

Presenters: Eric Held, Ambassador Ombeni Y. Sefue, the Permanent Mission of Tanzania to the UN, Ibrahim Sharif, World Peace Flag Ceremony: led by Deborah Moldow, The World Peace Prayer Society

Appreciation: The International Mahavira Jain Mission

Musical Presentations: One Voice is the collaborative choir of the Trenton Children’s Chorus and the Westminster Conservatory Children’s Choir. The Trenton Children’s Chorus has performed at the National Cathedral, with Bobby McFerrin and Dave Brubeck, for Governor Corzine, Governor Christie. The Westminster Conservatory Children’s Choir has performed three times at the White House, at the National Cathedral and has recorded for ETS and Silver Burdett. Together in 2010 they premiered “Stand Tall Children,” a new work by Francisco Nunez, and sang for the 13th annual Season for Nonviolence. Both choirs are conducted by Patricia Thel.

Gina Rene and Mikuak Rai, Association for Global New Thought

Youth in Action for Nonviolence: Presentation by Students of Susan E. Wagner High School, director George Anthony

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 nowalso honors César Chavez.