Children's Rights to Spiritual Development - April 1 @ UofT Multi-Faith Centre

This event is being postponed to a later date, still to be determined.

The Canadian Interfaith Conversation will host a gathering focused on children’s rights in relation to spiritual development on April 1, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, at the University of Toronto Multi-Faith Centre, 569 Spadina Avenue.

Participants will be invited into dialogue on the role of faith leaders and faith communities in supporting young people to realize their rights, including their right to spiritual development. Questions to be addressed include:

  • What does it mean that young people have rights to spiritual development, religious freedom and knowledge of religious traditions?
  • What is the role of faith leaders in helping adolescents in their transition from childhood to adulthood in a pluralistic society?
  • What are emerging issues in Canada where faith, religious freedom and children’s rights intersect?

Kathy Vandergrift will lay the groundwork for the intersection of religion and children’s rights, drawing on a new international report and years of experience in advocacy for children’s rights and faith-based social justice work. After further discussion by two panelists - Rizwan Mohammad and Valerie Michaelson - participants will be invited to engage in dialogue with all three presenters.

Kathy Vandergrift is Chair of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children and Vice-President of the Canadian Council of Churches. After leading international work on the rights of children in conflict zones, she shifted focus to the rights of children in Canada.  For her Master’s Degree in Public Ethics, she focused on different ethical perspectives on children and their rights.  In 2008 Kathy received the global UNICEF Aldo Farina Award for Children’s Rights Advocacy.

Rizwan Mohammad is a researcher, educator, and community developer. A graduate of the University of Toronto specializing in Islamic Studies, he has taught Islam to children at the Islamic Foundation of Toronto, trained Muslim Students' Associations across Canada and coordinated advocacy initiatives for the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM). For ten years, Mohammad has coordinated national projects with the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW). His work has focused on mobilizing young Canadians to engage in creative activities designed to strengthen civil society. 

Dr. Valerie Michaelson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Sciences, Brock University.  Her research focuses on spiritual development as an essential element of child health and development.

There is no registration fee for the event, but please email to let the Conversation organizers know if you plan to attend.