Sunday, February 22, 2015


Photo Source: Record staff | "James Standish (far left) with parliamentarians."

By Record Staff

Published on: 18 November, 2014

Queensland, Australia

An interfaith summit organised by Griffith University to coincide with the G20 is underway in Queensland. The summit’s focus is on the connection between economic development and religious freedom.

“This event will bring together scholars, lawyers and political leaders with faith and interfaith leaders from around the world for three days of discussion and dialogue,” says Dr Brian Adams, director of the university’s Centre for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue.

Yesterday, James Standish, director of the communication and public affairs for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific, chaired a conference session consisting of parliamentarians from Turkey, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and the ACT.

Australian Human Rights commissioner Tim Wilson with South Pacific Division Communication and Public Affairs director James Standish.

“We live in an age where religious freedom questions are being asked with increasingly urgency,” notes Standish.

“How far should societies go to crack down on religious extremism? How do we balance competing claims to rights? How much religion is too much religion in public life? What can we do to promote social stability in religiously diverse societies? Parliamentarians struggle with these questions. It was good to have a place for them to share their diverse experience and visions.”

The G20 Interfaith Summit concludes today.



Samoan Minister comes to Brisbane for the G20 Interfaith Summit

L to R Executive Director Law Firm Leota Theresa Potoi, Hon Lautafi Purcell, Director Interfaith Centre Griffith Uni Nathan Campus QLD,

By Helen Lauaki and Emma Soloai

The G20 Interfaith Summit organised by Dr. Brian Adams, the Director for Interfaith and Cultural Dialogue for Griffith University Nathan Campus, Queensland played host to an international group of Religious and political leaders from around the world. Dr. Adams, PHD envisioned a conference whereby leaders from different faiths could meet and discuss openly and without criticism their ideology and perspectives on life. He said, "It has been rewarding to have about 180 people from North America, Egypt, United Emirates, Europe to Asia and South America to the Pacific come to this. From Muslims, Bhuddists, Bahai, Hindu, Seik, and many different Christians Is a dream for someone like me who is at the Centre of Faith and Intercultural Dialogue. When we work together for a common goal we have a working dialogue. There is so much everyone brings to the table."

Ideas one never would have thought of if one stuck to their own religious and cultural beliefs are presented in this open forum. Dr. Adams explains, "Having this type of open dialogue helps us to find solutions better to the world's problems. And we can find solutions faster and get things done quicker." He stated that one of his aims was to help build Economic structures in the Pacific.

Hon Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell MP with Emma Soloai

The Minister of Aborigines & Torres Strait Islanders and Multi-Cultural Affairs, Glenn Elmes supported this summit and got behind Dr. Adams and his Team. The conference was well represented by Ministers from the host nation, New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa.

The Samoan Minister of Public Enterprises, Public Service Commission & Samoa Bureau of Statistics, Hon. Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell stated that for Samoa the topic of the summit is relevant to Samoan political affairs. He said, "What we have learned from this conference Samoa can use going forward." He agreed that there is an important correlation with the relationship between religious freedom and economic development, which is the Theme of the G20 Interfaith Summit. "Religion is an integral part of Samoa." And when asked does religion clash with Fa'a Samoa, he replied, "No. The two integrate into each other and merge together creating 'Samoanised' Christianity." He further mentioned, "The freedom of religion is stated in the Constitution and maintained by all."

L to R Emma, Glenda Stanley, John and Mangere Labour MP Su'a Williams Sio

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