April 21 forum on Women and Faith across Spiritual Traditions

Women and faith conference fosters intercultural dialogue


UBC sponsors April 21 forum on Women and Faith across Spiritual Traditions

With local communities expanding at a rapid rate – Kelowna is now Canada’s fourth-fastest growing city – people of multiple faiths and from diverse cultural backgrounds are now making their home in the Okanagan Valley.

Saturday, April 21, the Gender and Women’s Studies program at UBC’s Okanagan campus is co-sponsoring a conference called Women and Faith across Spiritual Traditions.

This public event – with conference co-sponsors Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Radha Foundation – features local women from an array of different cultural and spiritual backgrounds sharing insights about the role of faith in their lives.

Ilya Parkins, assistant professor at the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences and coordinator of Gender and Women’s Studies, is excited to partner with community organizations for this event.

“Unfortunately, Gender Studies has historically been quite wary of engaging with spirituality and religion,” she says. “But if we in the field want to be open to the realities of diverse people’s lives, though, it’s imperative that we take seriously the importance of spiritual traditions in the way women think of themselves, their communities and their own empowerment.”

Parkins describes UBC’s Okanagan campus as a microcosm of the cross-cultural and multi-faith encounters that are happening across the Valley in this period of fast growth, making it the perfect venue for the conference.

“With a rapidly increasing cohort of international students, this campus community is in great need of discussions that promote acceptance, understanding, and respect across cultural groups,” says Parkins.

The conference will be held from 1:30 to 5 p.m., in the University Ballroom, UNC 200. The event is free and open to the public.

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