Interfaith Visionary Awards and Conference: Temple of Understanding 50th Anniversary

Bettina Gray and Homi Gandhi participate in discussions on the role of faith communities in sustainable development.

On November 19th the Temple of Understanding celebrated their 50th anniversary and recognized 65 interfaith visionaries at a gala benefit dinner at the Pierre Hotel in New York. The gala diner was preceded by a day long conference — The Interfaith Visionary Call To Action on Sustainable Development. “We affirm that environmental concerns are moral and spiritual concerns, not just political concerns, and that action must begin locally.”

Among the Interfaith Visionaries recognized were several of our NAIN board of directors, and several others that have over the years been supporters, members or presenters at our NAIN meetings.

Recognized with the visionary award were NAIN board members:
Bettina Gray, co founder of NAIN and current NAIN chair.
Kay Lindahl, former chair and honorary board member and founder of The Listening Center.
Paul Chaffee, Executive Director of The Interfaith Center at the Presidio

Also recognized were:
Macky Alton, Hartley Film Foundation — a NAIN member organization;
Marcus Braybrook, World Congress of Faiths — a long time friend and supporter of NAIN;
Homi Gandhi, Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America (FEZANA) — a NAIN member organization. Homi serves on our NAIN finance committee;
Rev. Dr. William Lesher of the Council for a Parliament of World Religions – a member organization of NAIN;
Rev. Clark Lobenstine, one of the co-founders of NAIN and Executive Director of member organization InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington D. C.;
Rev. William Swing and Rev Charles Gibs of member organization United Religions Initiative;

A special surprise award was given to Sr. Joan Kirby, a woman many of us know and deeply respect for her work with the Temple of Understanding and with the UN religious NGOs.  Sr. Joan Kirby received the Interfaith Visionary Lifetime Achievement Award.

We were all pleased to celebrate the work of the Temple of Understanding over the last half century. The vision of founder Juliet Hollister, the Temple of Understanding has worked tirelessly to develop a world wide audience for positive relations among religions and has inspired hundreds of programs, discussions, and projects. NAIN itself is an outgrowth of the leadership from the Temple of Understanding.  They sponsored our formative meetings which were held at their headquarters in the mid 1980s. I call the Temple of Understanding our “birth mother.” It was with real pleasure so many of us from NAIN could participate in the 50th anniversary celebration.

More information about the event can be found at: and


About Bettina Gray

Media Producer, Composer, Chair of North American Interfaith Network
This entry was posted in Interfaith News, Nain Members and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Interfaith Visionary Awards and Conference: Temple of Understanding 50th Anniversary

  1. Pingback: Charlie gibs | Arvagh

  2. Francyl says:

    Great speech, Bettina! Can I quote it for a paper I’m writing on the history of interfaith dialogue? In fact, can I interview you?

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