Plenary Sessions

Plenary 1 – What We Believe (Faith)

This plenary focuses on the role of faith in inter-religious relations. Specifically, within the context of a global society with diverse religious beliefs, it examines how:

  1. positive inter-religious relations are expressed in religious doctrine, traditions, and practices;
  2. religious doctrine and practices influence the way faith communities relate to one another in a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-ethnic society; and,
  3. this diversity in turn enriches the interpretation and expression of faith.
Summary of the keynotes under this plenary is now available.

Ms Karen Armstrong OBE; FRSL

Historian of World Religion

Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot

President, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

Dr Veena Howard

Associate Professor, Asian Religious Traditions and Coordinator of Peace and Conflict Studies Program, California State University, Fresno

Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir

Deputy Mufti, Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS)

Venerable Guo Huei

Abbot-President, Dharma Drum Mountain


Dr Farish A. Noor

Associate Professor, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

Plenary 2 – Who We Are (Identity)

This plenary looks at how societies can promote shared identity and encourage empathy. It discusses how:

  1. identities create perceptions of distinct communities and the implications for inter-cultural, inter-religious, inter-ethnic relations in a situation where identity-politics may be highlighted;
  2. the intersectionality of identity and citizenship influences the duties and responsibilities of those within different communities; and,
  3. how competing interests from different identities can be reconciled for the common good.
Summary of the keynotes under this plenary is now available.

Lord John Alderdice

House of Lords, UK

Mr Christian Picciolini

Founder, Free Radicals Project

Dr Azza Karam

Senior Advisor on Culture, United Nations Population Fund and Coordinator, UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development

Professor Chaiwat Satha-Anand

Professor of Political Science, Thammasat University and Founder, Thai Peace Information Centre


Professor Lily Kong

President, Singapore Management University

Plenary 3 – How We Come Together (Cohesion)

This plenary explores what diverse communities can do to engage each other and work together side-by-side. The session explores how we can:

  1. strengthen social cohesion by recognising commonalities that cross social divides;
  2. promote pro-social values and behaviour; and,
  3. counter extremist and exclusivist interpretations of religion, ethnicity, and identity.
Summary of the keynotes under this plenary is now available.

Professor Lai Pan Chiu

Interim Dean and Professor of Religious Studies, Faculty of Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dr Ali Al Nuaimi

Chairman, The World Council of Muslim Communities

Dr Anna Halafoff

Research Associate of the UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific

Bishop Emeritus Dr Wee Boon Hup

Member, Presidential Council for Religious Harmony, Singapore


Dr Dicky Sofjan

Core Doctoral Faculty, Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada Graduate School