Periyar International USA (PI), a Chicago-based humanist organization, has partnered with CFIC to host its 3rd International Humanism Conference on Social Justice on September 24 and 25, 2022, in Toronto.
Founded in 1994, PI champions the ideas of Periyar E.V. Ramasamy (1879–1973), a Tamil Indian social activist who promoted the principles of rationalism, self-respect, women’s rights, and eradication of the caste system that afflicted (and still afflicts) some parts of India. His opposition to the system that used religion as a weapon to subjugate and as a mask to deceive the innocent masses led him to a career of social activism and political awakening. PI works to continue this legacy of engaging minds across the globe on humanism, rationality, and social justice.
Successful iterations of these conferences were held at Cologne, Germany (2017), and in Washington, D.C. (2019), where sessions addressed topics such as self-respect, women’s empowerment and feminism, political critique and activism, humanism among youth, dispelling superstition, and building community.
The upcoming Toronto conference focuses on the central theme of humanism and social justice, while continuing to address issues such as:
- l women’s rights
- l humanism in children
- l dispelling astrology
- l answers about the underprivileged
- l Tamil history
- l Dravidian model of social justice
- l indoctrination-free education
- l health and wealth
- l the Tamils and immigrants
Speakers at previous conferences have included leaders from the American Humanist Association, the Secular Coalition for America, the Secular Student Alliance, American Atheists, the Washington Ethical Society, and the Washington Area Secular Humanists. This year, global humanist academics from Canada, India, the U.S., Europe, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Middle East form the panel of speakers at the Toronto conference. Also included in the two-day schedule are award ceremonies, workshops, kids’ contests, musical presentations, and a book fair.
Dr. Kannabiran Ravishankar and Dr. Soma Ilangovan are the chief organizers of this event, working closely with the Toronto humanist chapters. “We hope the essential message we can disseminate through this 3rd International Humanism Conference at Toronto, to this richly diverse community of rational and humanist Canadians, is that humanism is the only -ism for our future. Equality is the essence of all Social Justice!”