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The Loka Symposium: Faith in Action for a Flourishing Planet

The Loka Symposium will bring together faith leaders and culture keepers from diverse religious and indigenous traditions with scientists, scholars, policy makers, philanthropists, and experts to develop new and stronger faith-led environmental partnerships. The theme of the symposium is “Faith in Action for a Flourishing Planet” and will examine global progress in environmental and climate change strategies while investigating the potential for faith-led environmental action by building understanding, motivating change, and creating practical goals. As such, the symposium will integrate spiritual resources such as scripture, meditation, sacrament, ritual and symbolic art to support this exchange of faith-based and scientific ideas and strategies.

We aspire to have the symposium be inclusive and representative of faith communities and religious institutions that are dedicated to environmental change, reflecting diversity in traditions, nationality, ethnicity and perspectives and welcome expertise from the domains of ecology, climatology, psychology, neuroscience, health, education, religious studies and research.

​2019 Loka Symposium Slideshow​


Faith in Action for a Flourishing Planet
May 28th to May 30th, 2019

May 28, Opening Reception and Dinner
5:30 - 6:30 pm | Welcome and Reception

6:30 - 7:00 pm | Loka Initiative Presentations

7:00 - 8:30 pm | Dinner and Faith Leader Presentations

See Reception and Dinner Details

May 29 and 30, Panel Presentations and Working Sessions
See Detailed Agenda

Location: Holy Wisdom Monastery
4200 Co Hwy M, Middleton, WI 53562

Symposium Highlights

The 2 days of the symposium will be a closed event and limited to 60 attendees, including moderators, and supporting staff. 

● Pre-symposium reception and dinner for the Loka Initiative on afternoon and evening of the 28th.

● Two daily panels, each consisting of a scientist, faith leader, expert with practical knowledge and a moderator. Panels will be followed by group discussion culminating with reports back to the symposium.

● An hour of contemplative practices each morning, led by different faith leaders.

● An hour-long nature walk led by ecologists after lunch each day.

● An hour of ceremony and practice to restore balance led by Indigenous women after dinner on the 29th.

Location & Map

The symposium will be held at the Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison, which is home to an ecumenical community of Benedictine sisters, Protestant and Catholic. The monastery weaves prayer, hospitality, justice and care for the earth as part of their mission and in 2017, received the Assisi Award from the Society of Conservation Biology for their efforts in leading community restoration of surrounding habitats. The monastery grounds include 130 acres of restored prairies, oak woodlands, and wetlands, and maintained orchards and gardens. Click here for more information.

Holy Wisdom Monastery, Middleton, WI

Map »

Participant Information

What Leaders are Saying About Loka

Katharine Hayhoe: Climate Scientist and Christian

Contact Information

Molly Schwebach 608-520-1777

Lois DePiesse 608-400-3654

Dekila Chungyalpa 202-445-8599

What does "Loka" mean?

"Loka" (लोक), an ancient Sanskrit term, has many meanings but usually refers to “our world” as the basis for all life. The world evoked by Loka is a complex and interwoven one, where multiple environments, species and dimensions interact to constitute a whole. The term Loka can thus mean a “world” as large as a planet, but it can also refer to a single individual who constitutes an equally complex and interdependent “world.” Thus, each Loka or world is in a sense many worlds, overlapping and embedded within each other. Evocatively, the word Loka also means “vision,” the act of seeing that not only beholds a world but brings it into being.

What is the Loka Initiative?

The Loka Initiative is a new education and outreach platform for faith leaders and religious institutions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

 Our mission is to support faith-led environmental and climate efforts locally and around the world by helping build capacity of faith leaders and culture keepers of indigenous traditions, and by creating new opportunities for projects, partnerships, and public outreach.

In Collaboration with:

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