World Interfaith Harmony Week: Connecting to the Earth

20 January 2016

UN Interfaith Harmony Week will soon be upon us (Monday 1st-Sunday 7th February) and URI Australia is pleased to be partnering with the Western Suburbs of Melbourne - the Brimbank Maribyrnong Interfaith Network - to deliver the event "World Interfaith Harmony Week: Connecting to the Earth", and our Regional Co-ordinator Nivy Balachandran will be delivering the keynote address.

Connecting to Earth will present religious voices from the recent Climate Change Conference where many faith leaders advocated for moral obligation to address climate change. There will also be an opportunity to learn about and join in the Labyrinth walk as a way of connecting to the earth. The labyrinth comes from ancient traditions, physically used as a contemplative tool for reflection or meditation in many cultures throughout history. The event will include:


  • Welcome to Country by Wurundjeri Traditional Elder
  • Keynote address by Nivy Balachandran, Coordinator at United Religious Initiative and delegate at the 2016 Paris Climate Change Conference
  • Introduction to the Labyrinth by Khanh Do, Manager, Pastoral Care at Western Health
  • Guided Walk through the Labyrinth with Rev Ray Gorman, Minister of Uniting Church in Sunshine
  • Lunch catered by ASRC Catering and networking
  • Guided tour of the Sunshine Hospital organised by Sunshine Hospital Volunteers Department


Organised by the Brimbank Maribyrnong Interfaith Network in partnership with Western Health, Melton Interfaith Network, Wyndham Interfaith Network and United Religions Initiative.

Keynote Speaker: Nivy Balachandran

Nivy Balachandran is a co founder and current Director of InterAction, Australia’s first youth lead interfaith organization, where she runs interfaith training and education about the world’s religion for young people across Victoria. In 2014 Nivy was appointed the first Regional Coordinator of the Australia-Pacific Region of United Religions Initiative, an international grassroots interfaith organization, which works to cultivate peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world. She has represented Australia at various interfaith conferences in France, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Cambodia. She is on the board of the Faith Communities Council of Victoria, Religions for Peace Australia, and the Australasian Centre for Human Rights and Health. Nivy has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (RMIT), and a Master of Arts in Development Studies (University of Melbourne), and is currently completing a post graduate law degree (Juris Doctor) at Monash University. A long time youth interfaith organiser, Nivy is passionate about fostering intercultural knowledge, appreciation and understanding.