Ethics and Religion in a Changing World

Wednesday 22 July

Panel Discussion

Chaired by Christopher Waterhouse Director of the St James’ Institute, St James’ Church, Sydney.

WHEN: Wednesday 22 July 2020, 6.30pm
WHERE: Old Boys Lecture Theatre, Newington College
COST: Free
CONTACT: Newington College Reception on 02 9568 9333 or to reserve your place.


Shaykh Wesam Charkawi began his studies in Damascus Syria in 1999.
He is currently enrolled in the University of Islah Lebanon undertaking a Masters degree in Islamic Sacred Law. In 2018, Shaykh Wesam began a PhD in Social Psychology in identity at Western Sydney University. For the past 20 years, when he is in Australia, he works in NSW public schools, mentoring and coaching young people. He is the founder of the Abu Hanifa Institute, which sees thousands of people walk through its doors each week and holds dedicated classes aimed at producing scholars in the Sacred Tradition.

Since becoming a Buddhist nun in the late 1970s, Robina Courtin has worked with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, a worldwide network of Tibetan Buddhist centres, serving at different times as editorial director of Wisdom Publications, editor of Mandala magazine and executive director of Liberation Prison Project. She now works full-time teaching Buddhist philosophy and practice worldwide. Her life and work with prisoners have been featured in the documentary films Chasing Buddha and Key to Freedom.

The Reverend Simon Hansford is the Moderator of the Synod of NSW and the ACT in the Uniting Church in Australia. He has served in ordained ministry for more than 25 years, serving in rural and regional communities across NSW. Simon grew up in Sydney and completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney. He was formed for ministry at the United Theological College, North Parramatta, completing a Bachelor of Theology, while working part-time in youth ministry with the Gymea-Miranda Congregation of the Uniting Church.

Rabbi Rafi Kaiserblueth is a Rabbi at Emmanuel Synagogue in Sydney. He is a world traveller, having spent time in the United States, Argentina, Israel and the United Kingdom. He was ordained in 2010 from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and has dedicated his rabbinate to making the texts and rituals of the Jewish tradition relevant and accessible to those he teaches. For 13 years, Rabbi Kaiserblueth served as a chaplain in the United States Navy Reserve.

Professor Margaret Somerville AM is Professor of Bioethics at the University of Notre Dame Australia and Emerita Samuel Gale Professor of Law, Professor Emerita in the Faculty of Medicine and Emerita Founding Director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University in Montreal, where she taught from 1978 to 2016. She was the first woman in Canada appointed to a named chair in law. Professor Somerville has received many honours and awards including eight honorary doctorates and was the first recipient of the UNESCO Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science awarded by an international jury. She has an extensive national and international publishing and speaking record and is a frequent commentator in all forms of media.