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  • • Access to every session at the 2017 Festival of Faiths
  • • Includes programs at the KY Center, Spalding University and the Cathedral of the Assumption
  • • Receptions before evening programs April 19 -21
  • • Earth Day Community Lunch catered by Farm to Fork on Saturday, April 22 at Spalding University
  • • General Admission Seating
  • • Please note Festival Passes will not be mailed and are available for pick up at The Kentucky Center in April

Tickets available through the Kentucky Center for the Arts

(501 W. Main St, Louisville, KY)

  • Walk-up & Drive-thru Box Office
  • Phone #502.584.7777
  • Online | CLICK HERE

8:30 – 9:15 am | SPIRITUAL PRACTICE | Jewish Mystical Practice

with Rabbi Rami Shapiro

What is the method, purpose and inner meaning of Kabbalah? Rabbi Rami Shapiro, widely recognized as one of the most creative figures in contemporary American Judaism, will provide an introduction to the Jewish contemplative tradition and teach some basic practices. “Rami Shapiro is brilliant, heartful and full of reverence (and irreverence!) A great pluralistic soul with a fabulous sense of humor. You will love him.” -Rabbi Tirzah Firestone

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street | FREE (ticket required) 



with Karen Armstrong,  Joan Brown Campbell,  Mayor Greg Fischer,  Mayor Francisco Cienfuegos,  Mayor Betsy Price and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson

What does a compassionate city look like? This working session with globally renowned leaders and mayors on the subject of compassionate governance will discuss the compassionate cities movement and its vision for the future. In the light of today’s challenges and opportunities, how do we more deeply engage, understand and define what compassion really means and entails in order to move from aspiration to reality?

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street | $25.00




with David Muhammad,  Aruni Bhatnagar,  Congressman John Yarmuth, Anthony Smith,  Sadiqa Reynolds and others

What are the true costs of our current economic systems? What is an economic vision for our times that we could call truly compassionate? Using Kentucky as a case study or laboratory, panelists offer alternative visions of economic models that put the value on people, the environment and health over profit.

Through a spiritual lens, experts provide their personal testimony in three case studies: The school-to-prison pipeline, mental health, and human and environmental health. Local representatives from faith and secular backgrounds will respond and connect the themes to Louisville’s urban realities.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street | $25.00




curated by Ambassador Shabazz, a dynamic teacher and ideas architect

The first night of the 22nd Festival of Faiths is a joyful evening of music, song and soul at Louisville’s historic Cathedral of the Assumption. A celebration of the diverse faiths within our community and the wisdom, humanity and beauty that unites them.

Cathedral of the Assumption 433 S. 5th Street | FREE (open to the public – no ticket required)

8:30 – 9:15 am | SPIRITUAL PRACTICE | Islamic Prayer

with Ingrid Mattson

How do Muslims pray? Ingrid Mattson, a leading Muslim theologian in the West, describes the spiritual meaning of the words, movements and cycles of the Islamic canonical prayer. For one in every four human beings in the world, the five prayers (salah) are part of their daily ritual. Prayer is one of the five tenets of Islam, the others being: the testimony of faith, charity, fasting and performing pilgrimage.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street | FREE (ticket required)


10:00 am – 12:00 pm | ‘WE ARE ALREADY ONE’ – Religion and Compassion in World Affairs

with Karen Armstrong, Amb. Mathew Barzun and Noah Feldman moderated by William Vendley

Matthew Barzun, recent U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and a known internet pioneer and grassroots fundraiser, shares the stage with Karen Armstrong, renowned religions author and Noah Feldman, Harvard law professor and Middle East expert. They will explore a vision for world affairs as if compassion were the primary driving motivator for global exchange.

The session will be moderated by William Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace International, the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition advancing common action for peace. Short talks followed by a moderated discussion and audience question and response.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street | $25.00


2:00 – 4:00 pm | LIVING COMPASSION

with Rami Nashashibi, Joan Brown Campbell, Naomi Tutu and Kevin Cosby

What is the experience of compassion in action? Personal testimonies from visionaries that embody compassion and how and where their courageous acts had a transformative impact. Short talks followed by moderated discussion and audience question and response.

FACES OF COMPASSION A special video segment focusing on local Louisville heroes working on the front lines.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street | $25.00


7:00 – 9:00 pm | COMPASSION RISING

Artistic performances curated by provocative poet, Hannah Drake, Charles Nasby, creator of Nstages and Rymes4AReason the sustainable theatre intiative, and Rebecca Katz, youth advocate-and-mentor.

Poetry slam, music, dance and performance with local artists to awaken an authentically compassionate public narrative. This evening celebrates compassion that is everywhere in the everyday commonplace and the familiar. Artists shine a light on the extraordinary in the ordinary, the daily work of resilience, love and sacrifice made by so many people, like ripples of water polishing a stone.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street | $25.00 


8:30 – 9:15 am | SPIRITUAL PRACTICE | Christian Centering Prayer

with Cynthia Bourgeault

Centering Prayer is described as “a receptive prayer of resting in God.” Centering Prayer emphasizes interior silence and prayer as a personal relationship with God and as “a movement beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Christ.” Its roots are found in the contemplative prayer of the Desert Fathers of early Christian monasticism, in the Lectio Divina tradition, and in Christian mystical works like The Cloud of Unknowing and the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.

Episcopal priest and writer Cynthia Bourgeault has worked closely with Fr. Thomas Keating, founder of the Centering Prayer method, for nearly 25 years and is the author of the acclaimed book Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street | FREE (ticket required)


10:00 am – 12:00 pm | THE SCIENCE OF COMPASSION | with Mind and Life Institute

Curated by Susan Bauer-Wu

Introduction by Thupten Jinpa, chair of the board of directors for Mind & Life Institute.

As a society, are we wired more for compassion or competition? Find out in this session exploring the intersection of science and wisdom. Representatives of the Mind and Life Institute share key findings from 30 years of scientific research and inquiry into compassion.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street | $25.00


2:00 – 4:00 pm | THE HEART OF COMPASSION – Exploring the Interior Landscape

with Thupten Jinpa, Cynthia Bourgeault and Ingrid Mattson.

World renowned spiritual teachers identify the “inner voice” of compassion using the wisdom of the mystical, contemplative traditions. These wisdom keepers share insights and practices for cultivating compassion within a modern context of hyper activity and distraction.

Short talks followed by moderated discussion and audience question and response.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street | $25.00


6:00 – 8:00 pm | COMPASSION JAM – Music Improv & Comedy

curated by Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams, composer/pianist Rachel Grimes and educator/performer Jecorey ‘1200’ Arthur, with a special comedy set from “America’s Funniest Muslim” (CNN) Azhar Usman

An evening of musical improvisation promising to be a soulful and unique genre bending happening! Teddy Abrams, Rachel Grimes and Jecorey ‘1200’ Arthur curate a blend of eclectic musical styles, performers and improvisational experiments. An unmissable evening that unites and elevates us in the harmony of compassion.

This evening includes a unique comedy offering with Azhar Usman “One of the most important, relevant and hysterically funny guys out there!” – Margaret Cho. “Azhar Usman is very funny, deeply spiritual and extremely hairy. He’s like Zach Galifianakis meets Deepak Chopra—and funnier than you’d expect that combination to be.” – Russell Peters

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street | $25.00


8:30 – 9:15 am | SPIRITUAL PRACTICEBuddhist Compassion Meditation

with Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

This session will look into the Buddhist spiritual practices that assist in cultivating inward compassion. Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel writes, “For me, the purpose of practice is to bring ourselves back to our natural state. All the practices we engage are…moving away from self-focus, seeing the interdependent and empty nature of things, appreciating the richness of this sacred world and resting in the nature of mind – these provide us all with ways to return to something utterly simple and basic – something no one can tamper with or take away.”

Spalding University Center 824 S. 4th Street | FREE (ticket required)


10:00 am – 12:00 pm | COMPASSIONATE EARTH – Visions of Health & Harmony

with Congressman James Comer, Patrick Holden, Bishop Marc Andrus and Nana Firman, joined by Thupten Jimpa and Mayor Greg Fischer

It is Earth Day, and our sacred elements are where the rubber meets the road! Water, air and soil do not care about political borders and ideology. Speakers confront our global environmental problems and discuss local efforts to tackle the crisis.

Short “ignite” talks by Congressman James Comer and Patrick Holden on faith and farming, Bishop Marc Andrus and Nana Firman on the connection between faith and conservation, and others. The session will conclude with a conversation between Thupten Jinpa and Mayor Greg Fischer on what Louisville needs to do to truly shine like the sun.

How do we cultivate ecological awareness in our communities? How can we, as individuals, communities and nations of many faiths, respond to the environmental crisis of our times in a compassionate, constructive and collaborative way? Panelists share their wisdom and insight into how we can reconnect with the natural world, shift our relationship to the earth from one of separateness to one of deep interconnection and transform the dominant social narrative so that we may reimagine our future together.

Spalding University Center 824 S. 4th Street | $25.00



Catered by Farm to Fork. Lunch tickets can be purchsed as an “add-on” to either the 10:00-12:00 session or 1:30 – 3:30 session. Lunch is $15.00 and can also be purchased at the door.

Spalding University Ballroom 824 S. 4th Street | $15.00



with Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, Bishop Marc Andrus and others

A conversation on the nature of interdependence from both eastern and western faith traditions.

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel has studied and practiced the Buddhadharma for 30 years under the guidance of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. After meeting Rinpoche in Nepal, she became his first Western student. Elizabeth has an academic background in both Anthropology and Buddhist Studies, but her learning is also grounded in practice.

Bishop Marc Andrus is a longtime environmental advocate, represented the Episcopal Church at the Earth Day signing of the Paris Agreement at the invitation of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He also joined an Episcopal delegation in December that represented the presiding bishop and the church at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP21, where 196 parties created the agreement that sets out to decrease carbon emissions and limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Spalding University Center 824 S. 4th Street | $25.00



Hotel rooms at the Seelbach Hilton are reserved under “Festival of Faiths” at a special rate.  Book online with the direct link below, or call  #(502) 585-3200.



Learn more about Louisville and why the city is awesome! Visit the Louisville Convention and Visitor Bureau’s website.



A nationally acclaimed annual interfaith event of music, poetry, film, art and dialogue with internationally renowned spiritual leaders, thinkers, and practitioners. Festival programming honors the union between thinking globally and acting locally.

The mission of the Festival of Faiths is to promote interfaith understanding, cooperation, and action through exploring how different participating faith traditions address a common issue, topic, or theme. The Festival is organized and supported by the Center for Interfaith Relations.


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