Eliot Fisher was a member of Youth Media Project’s Global Broadcasting Team in Melbourne, Australia, for the Parliament of the World’s Religions 2009 conference. After agreeing to help the conference organizers shoot a video message to leaders meeting in Copenhagen the following week, he realized that the politics around the idea of an interfaith gathering are far more complicated than he had thought.
Producer Dolna Smithback traveled down under to Melbourne, Australia with Youth Media Project’s Global Broadcasting Team to cover events at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, an international conference that occurs every five years. Smithback explored one of the world’s worst global crisis: the lack of clean water. Smithback talked to a number of participants and key speakers regarding their knowledge about the crisis and how their religion shapes their views on water.
As I walk the streets of downtown Melbourne, Australia, I ask myself what is it exactly that I am looking for at the Parliment of World Religions? I don’t know, at least not yet. I realize that I don’t know what the hell I am supposed to do. I didn’t know how much this conference would overwhelm me. I just find myself lost, confused in this tossed salad of religions (the jetlag doesn’t help the case either).
Thursday night was the opening ceremony. The jetlag had set in and I could barely keep my eyes open. On Friday morning Carmen and I experienced something that made the world feel very small (in a good way). We went to breakfast at a little cafe near the hostel where we are staying. It was good food but coffee in this town is crazy expensive, 3 dollars for a cup of plain black coffee. We sat down near a couple also attending the Parliament of the World’s Religions, spotting their giant, 400-page programs (that Carmen calls the Bible).