Dialogue Knowledge Hub

COVID-19 and Religion

11:00 am
26 March 2020
Brian J. Adams
Yudhistir Govinda Das
Mabrouka Rayachi
Rabbi Alexander Goldberg
New Ways to Worship and Serve those in Need



On March 11, the World Health Organisation officially designated COVID-19 as a pandemic.

Many are looking to religious leaders for guidance and to keep a sense of community during the crisis. Following social distancing and self-isolation guidelines, religious communities around the world are responsibly modifying their observance practices, moving community gatherings online, and praying for relief.

"This is a multifaith, multicultural challenge in our society that is best combatted by a united community", according to Dr. Brian J. Adams, who will join three other religious representatives at KAICIID's upcoming webinar. "Therefore, now is the time for our political, community and emergency service leaders to maintain or even deepen relations with communities of faith and faith-based service organizations as a key part of their preparation and response planning."

This webinar will explore some of the unique points of convergence that should be understood when a nation is faced with a COVID-19 outbreak and what various faith communities are doing in response to the crisis.

Our speakers will discuss their efforts to address COVID-19 in their local and global faith communities, offering practical solutions and hope amid confusion and panic. Presentations will be followed by a Q&A session.  




Brian J. Adams

Dr Brian J Adams is the Director of the Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue at Griffith University. As a former Rotary Peace Fellow, Brian is primarily focused on promoting respect and understanding across cultural, religious and organisational boundaries.
Brian's 20-plus years of work in Africa, Europe, North America and the Asia–Pacific bring a compelling international perspective to the Centre. His background in mediation, conflict management and dialogue facilitation strengthens the Centre's ability to address some of the great challenges facing the world today, while his fluency in English, French and Swahili allow him to expand the work of the ICD to marginalised groups in Australia and to troubled regions across the globe.
Brian is a founder of the G20 Interfaith Forum, an annual public dialogue platform to draw on interfaith insight and experience in developing recommendations on issues relevant to the G20 Leaders Summit.
Brian is also the author of the CURe Program for Productive Diversity. This program helps create the mindset, develop the skills and establish an environment for people to value the traditions and perspectives of other and to contribute their own. It lays the foundation on which productive diversity is built.

Yudhistir Govinda Das

Yudhistir Govinda Das is an ordained monk, spiritual teacher and Country Director of Communications for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in India.

Yudhistir holds a graduate degree in communications and journalism and a postgraduate diploma in intellectual property law. As the Director of Communications of one the largest Hindu organizations in the world, he regularly interacts with heads of state, scholars, journalists and ambassadors, and is responsible for the public interface and outreach of 225 temples, educational and cultural centers of ISKCON in India. Within ISKCON, he teaches the members and leaders of the organization on various subject matter including communications and interreligious dialogue.

Under his guidance, several festivals, round-table discussions, and deliberations have been organized, which were attended by the Prime Minister of India, Vice President of India, ministers of the Indian and foreign governments, and other global thought leaders.

Being a strong advocate and believer in the process of interreligious dialogue, Yudhistir has organized and participated in several IRD sessions in India and internationally facilitated by institutions like US State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, Religious Freedom Institute, Satyarthi Foundation and the Indian Council for Philosophical Research among others. He is also a part of the international team that organizes the annual Vaishnava-Christian and Vaishnava-Muslim dialogues. Yudhistir attributes his inspiration to a phrase often used by ISKCON’s Founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who said: “We want to see everyone happy.”

Mabrouka Rayachi

Mabrouka Rayachi completed a Masters' degree in English and German from the Bourguiba school in Tunis in 1991 and earned a pedagogy diploma from the Islamic Religious Pedagogical Academy in Vienna in 2004. She was a religious teacher in Viennese schools from 1993 to 2012. During this time she organized many interreligious programmes with other religion teachers (mainly Catholic and Protestant). In April 2012 she became an Inspector for the Islamic religion teachers in Lower Austrian schools and initiated an interreligious seminar with her Catholic and Protestant colleagues on subjects such as the celebration of religious traditions in Islam and Christianity. She encourages her fellow teachers to actively encourage interreligious dialogue in school by regularly providing them with ideas and teaching materials. She is especially interested in broadening interreligious activities, especially among young people. During the course of her work on interreligious dialogue, she has not only learned about other faiths, but has also learned much more about and deepened her own faith. As an active member within her Islamic community, she was chosen as the official Austrian representative to the first International Women’s Congress for a Culture of Peace in Algeria in 2014.

Rabbi Alexander Goldberg

Rabbi Alexander Goldberg is a Chaplain and an advisor on intercultural, interfaith and community relations to a large global humanitarian organization. He has set up training programmes for faith leaders and communal professionals working in the fields of community development, international development and social action. He served as the Chief Executive of the London Jewish Forum. He is the Jewish Chaplain to the University of Surrey and was a Chaplain to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. He is Chair of the Football Association's Faith Reference Group and oversaw the completion of both football guides to Ramadan and Tishri in 2014 that were sent out to 30,000 professionals and one million supporters. He was appointed co-chair of the Faith Forum for London in 2011. In this role he set up the Mayor of London's Faith Conference and partnered with McKinseys and others to create a faith leaders programme. He also established the Shared Futures faith school linking programme. The UK Prime Minister invited him to the national football and racism summit. He headed up the 2012 Hours Against Hate European coalition which won prestigious recognition from International Olympic Peace Truce Committee and the US Secretary of State. He is a national advisor to the Three Faiths Forum. He served on two Ministerial steering groups at the Department for Education and was a member of the HEFCE University Religious Literacy Group. He is an advisor to the UK Government on a major community grant programme and regularly contributes to television, radio, online and print media.

Marlen Rabl

Marlen Rabl is the Programme Manager for the Nigeria Programme and has been responsible for its activities since 2016. Marlen studied Religion, International Relations and the Sociology of Religion in Germany, France, and England.