A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom & Human Rights

Parliament of the World's Religions - logo, fragment

Source: Parliament of the World’s Religions

In August of 2023, the Parliament of the World’s Religions returns to the birthplace of the modern interfaith movement after 30 years away to celebrate 130 years of history in the city of Chicago.

10,000+ participants from more than 200 diverse religious and spiritual traditions, people of goodwill, and more than 80 nations are expected to answer the call to conscience at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Enjoy access to plenary sessions, hundreds of breakout sessions, art & cultural exhibits, performances, a film festival, and countless opportunities to connect with individuals and organizations committed to justice, peace, and sustainability.

The 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions will be hosted in McCormick Place Lakeside Center from August 14-18, 2023.

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About the theme

The 2023 Parliament will convene on the theme of A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom & Human Rights, calling people of faith and conscience to stand up together in all their diversity and defend freedom and human rights.

Parliament Executive Director, Rev. Stephen Avino, affirms that the 2023 Parliament Convening will serve as, “…a place of open minds and open hearts where we can all express the wonder and dignity of our religious and spiritual traditions against the backdrop of the majestic beauty of Lake Michigan. But we could not do all this without addressing the foundational issue of our time; the threat to freedom and human rights. We must defend freedom and human rights together and find solutions to the rise of autocracy in our world.”


At the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions, attendees from around the world are answering a call to conscience. Programming for the 2023 Parliament will focus largely, but not exclusively on:

  • The theme of “A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights”
  • The City of Chicago and faith & interfaith understanding
  • The broad critical issues of our mission statement: justice, peace, and sustainability
  • Our critical constituencies: Indigenous Peoples, The Next Generations, and Women & Girls

Do you have a bold idea for a program, performance, religious observance, art exhibit, or film? Answer the call, submit a proposal today.

A Message from PoWR’s 2023 Program Chair〉

This Parliament will be the most important and largest gathering of the world’s religious and spiritual leaders, and practitioners, uniting in a collective, courageous, and clear reply to the most dangerous crisis confronting us today – authoritarianism.

This existential, expanding, global scourge is manifesting in tyrants and strongmen who commit crimes against humanity, suppress fundamental freedoms, subvert democracies, and murder the truth with lies. These bullies and despots are pursuing nationalist wars and winking at domestic terrorism, they are fostering hate and the resurgence of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, misogyny, and racism. And they are attempting to misappropriate religions to justify the unjustifiable.

This is not who we are.

Every faith has, at its core, a summoning to ease the suffering of others and to contribute to a just, peaceful, and sustainable world. Today, the Parliament of the World’s Religions issues its Call to Conscience to people of faith and spirit, to the people of Chicago, to all people of conscience, to stand together in defense of the dignity, freedom, and human rights of all.

We’ll see you in Chicago.

Rev. HPs. Phyllis Curott

Rev. HPs. Phyllis Curott, the Program Chair of the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions, addresses the urgent theme of the gathering this August, defending freedom and human rights against the rise of authoritarianism. In particular, Rev. Curott urged people of faith to answer the Convening's call to conscience to put a stop to individuals, groups, and states attempting to misappropriate religions to justify the unjustifiable:


Posted by David Luhrssen | Dec 9, 2022 | Featured

Wisconsin Muslim Journal

In 1893, the city of Chicago hosted the World Columbian Exposition, an early world’s fair. So many people were coming to Chicago from all over the world that many smaller conferences, called Congresses and Parliaments, were scheduled to take advantage of this unprecedented gathering. One of these was the World’s Parliament of Religions.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions will reconvene next year in Chicago, Ill., where it began 130 years ago. The global event will be held on August 14-18 at McCormick Place.

Sessions by the Parliament are open to the public, drawing as many as 10,000 people in recent years. Early bird registration for the 2023 event closes on December 15th, 2022.

In 1893, more than 27 million people visited Chicago for the World Columbian Exposition. Several satellite events were organized around the world fair including what may have been the first interfaith gathering of its kind, the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Unlike encounters by faith leaders and theologians in the past, it was not a debate or a bid to proselytize or convert, but an open series of discussions, an opportunity to hear other opinions and find commonalities as well as distinctions.