Syed Mukarram Nazeer, Canada Correspondent
In 2004, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya British Columbia (BC) hosted their first World Religions Conference outside of the Greater Vancouver area.
This conference was held in Prince George BC, known as the capital of northern British Columbia. This was the first such conference of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Canada in a city where no Ahmadi members lived permanently or had an official Jamaat established.
Planning of the 14th World Religions Conference started last year in October. Inviting speakers from various faiths and confirming a moderator were the first steps. Next was the publicity of the event. For this, 100 posters were put up at various billboards in Prince George. These included local churches, coffee shops, libraries, public notice boards, university notice boards and college notice boards.
2,000 invitations were sent to emails collected since 2004 from WRC events in Prince George, BC.
Conference advertisement was run on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. The conference was well advertised in local newspapers and radio. Multiple Prince George organisations including school boards, community organisations, Prince George tourism and Prince George Chamber of Commerce were contacted via telephone and invited to be part of the conference.
The conference was held on 28 September 2019 in Prince George. The theme of the conference this year was “The object of man’s creation” and the event moderator was Dr Yasar Ahmad, President of Immigration and Multicultural Society Services of Prince George.
The acting Mayor, Councillor Susan Scott was the guest of honour. A large number of local residents attended the event. They were able to listen to representatives of nine faiths and spiritual groups including:
- Indigenous representative: Elder Darlene Macintosh
- Christianity representative: Brock Campbell, Latter Day Saints Church
- Hinduism representative: Dr. Pranesh Kumar
- Christianity representative: Dr. Hey Marie, Anglican Church of Canada
- Islam representative: Umair Khan, missionary Vancouver
- Sikhism representative: Dr. Balbinder Deo
- Christianity representative: Pastor Danny Lagualt
- Spirituality representative: Mr. James Miller
- Mrs. Charlotte Wenninger
The event was covered in the local newspaper and the FM radio station. The total attendance was 145 guests.