One of the world's largest inter-faith festivals has opened in Australia. Up to 8,000 people are expected at the Parliament of the World's Religions - among them is the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
During the gathering, which opened Dec. 3 in Melbourne, delegates will discuss issues such as climate change, indigenous rights and the West's relationship with Islam.
Native American leaders, rabbis from Israel and Buddhist monks from Vietnam will join Muslim scholars, Hindu philosophers and representatives of the various Christian denominations at the event. The six-day parliament convenes every five years
On behalf of the spiritual ancestors and the traditional owners of Melbourne, I invite you to Melbourne in 2009, for the Parliament of the World’s Religions to share in the traditions, culture and spirit of Australia. It is a traditional custom of Australian Aboriginal communities to give permission to people who wish to enter the country.