2nd annual Edmonton Festival of Faiths brings together more than twenty different religions and traditions from across the city!

September 13, 2016

Edmonton (September 13) - After a successful premiere in 2015, the Festival of Faiths, Edmonton’s interfaith festival, is not only returning this year but expanding, with an additional evening panel and even more different faiths, traditions and beliefs represented than in its initial year.

“In a time where we’re seeing increased discrimination, racism, and division in both the world and our own local community, we think that events like this are more important than ever,” says Jonn Kmech, one of the co-organizers of the festival. “Despite the fact that everyone has some way of deriving meaning in their life, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Indigenous, ‘spiritual but not religious’, etc., religion tends to be a taboo subject that can be difficult to discuss even with friends. We want to give people the opportunity to directly talk to, and learn from, people who practice different religions and traditions, as well as give people the opportunity to engage in challenging but respectful interfaith dialogue.”

A volunteer initiative entirely planned by young adults under the age of 35 through the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, the Festival will take place all day September 25th at Boyle Street Community League (9538 103A Ave.). This year’s festival is also adding an evening panel discussion at 7 pm on September 24th at the Stanley Milner Library Theatre entitled “LGBTQ Voices Within Faith-Based Religions” that will foster discussion around the various intersections between faith, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

The main festival on September 25th will feature exhibits from more than 20 different faith groups from our city, including representation from larger religions like Christianity and Islam, Indigenous traditions such as Cree spirituality, and smaller faiths such as the Quakers, Satanism, Bahá'í and Zoroastrianism. There will be several spoken word poets performing, as well as panel discussions on community service and faith, as well as secular governance and religion, the latter discussing such current event topics such as the burkini ban and public funding of private religious schools.

There will also be a seminar series titled Religion 101 that will give faiths the opportunity to give a more thorough introduction to their tradition. Refreshments for the day will be provided by Seva Food Truck (http://sevafoodtruck.org/), a charity initiative founded by the Sikh community to tackle issues of food security and poverty burdening individuals in the greater community at large.

The first Festival of Faiths, held last September at City Hall, included 18 faith group exhibits, two panel discussions, and numerous performances and films. The festival aims to foster a greater awareness and appreciation of Edmonton’s faith diversity, in a safe, inclusive and welcoming space for Edmontonians of all backgrounds to reflect on faith, diversity, community and compassion.

“The role of interfaith work and dialogue is both dispelling ignorance through education, and also challenging each other respectfully through discussion, so we can all grow together and refine our own beliefs,” says Kmech. “When you get to know people personally who believe differently, and often look differently,  than you一even if you may disagree with their beliefs一this decreases fear, discrimination, and hate and promotes understanding and acceptance. That is what this festival is about.”

The festival is sponsored by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action, and the City of Edmonton.

Co-organizers Jonn Kmech and Giselle General are available for phone interviews before the festival.

For additional information, please contact:

Tisha Raj
Program and Communications Coordinator
John Humphrey Centre for Peace & Human Rights
Contact: 780.453.2638 or tisha@jhcentre.org

Bringing Dignity Into the Classroom: YEG Dignity Campaign

September 9, 2016

Edmonton (September 8) - As Global Dignity Day approaches, the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights formally announces the release of a Yeg Dignity Campaign School Resource toolkit and launch of a community wide creative art submissions campaign as part of our partnership with End Poverty Edmonton.

The educational toolkit provides a guide to Edmonton teachers, volunteers and youth program leaders to integrate activities in the classroom while contributing to the YEG Dignity Campaign and challenging students to think about what dignity means at a local level and in their local lives. Artwork outcomes can then be contributed to a larger YEG Dignity Creative contest.

The YEG Dignity Campaign aims to engage Edmonton students and residents to submit their stories or their visual expressions of dignity. These stories and expressions will contribute to the development of the YEG Dignity’s first annual community magazine (‘zine) that challenges narratives around dignity.

The Centre is inviting the public to submit their artistic or written representations and stories of dignity and participation for this zine. Written submissions in a form of a poem, reflection or short story of no longer than 200 words and visual art in a photo or a scanned piece of original art in a JPG or PNG that is 1MB or larger; can be submitted to maigan@jhcentre.org by 4pm on Thursday, October 7 2016.  

YEG Dignity 2016 spans from September 21st-October 12, launching with the International Day of Peace, spanning throughout YEG Peace Festival and ending on October 12th, the Global Day of Dignity. On this day, a celebration will be held at City Hall from 4pm-8pm  featuring City of Edmonton Artist in Residence, Dawn Marie Marchand in a live painting of a mural, presentations by End Poverty Edmonton and an open mic enabling people to share their stories of dignity. During this event, community members will also collaborate to create the zine.

The educational toolkit aims to challenge perceptions of poverty and look forward to how Edmontonians can rally together to protect and support all in the community to belong and participate. A copy of the resource toolkit can be found on Scribd https://www.scribd.com/document/323268380/YEG-Dignity-Campaign-2016-Scho...

The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights envisions a world that manifests a culture of peace and human rights in which the dignity of every person is respected, valued and celebrated.


YEG Dignity Campaign 2016 School Resource by John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights on Scribd



Workshop: Taking Action on the Declaration

September 6, 2016

The goal of this workshop will be to delve deeper into the information collected during the first phase of work with the Office of theChild and Youth Advocate throught the lens of the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and theConvention on the Rights of the Child. Participants will workshop to build and streghten strategies for further implementation of rights for children in the welfare and justice and justice system. They will also provide feedback to the current Review of the Child and Youth Advocate Act. This will be a full day workshop open to staff, students and the general public.

The Alberta Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA) exists "to advance the rights and serve the interests of young people who are receiving designated services under Alberta's Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (CYFEA), the Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act (PSECA) and/or involved in the youth justice system."    

Brief on the OCYA and intention of work. Presentation of dialogue of what we've heard with staff, community and young people.
Connecting the findings with human rights standards. The international human rights system and taking action on rights.

Workshopping the Recommendations to the Office of theChild and Youth Advocate, Government of Alberta and Government of Canada. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (MDT)

Blue Quills Native College - 3 Airport Rd N, Saint Paul, AB T0A 3A0

REGISTER: Here on Eventbrite