Manju Lodha and Ray Dirks Recognized by Lieutenant Governor

Manitoba PostNews

WINNIPEG, MB. – Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon presented the 2017 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Advancement of Interreligious Understanding at a ceremony at Government House. The award was presented jointly to Ms. Manju Lodha and Mr. Ray Dirks.

For more than 10 years, Lodha and Dirks have worked together to promote understanding, respect and acceptance for the many faiths and cultures that make up Manitoba’s rich tapestry. Through their many collaborative projects, they have worked in the community, in the classroom, in places of worship and they have achieved what many only dream about. They have used the universal language of art to bring faiths together and to help Manitobans learn about understanding, respect and acceptance in our increasingly multi-faith province. Among their major projects are the ‘In the Spirit of Humanity’ project, a multi-year project which allowed students of all ages to explore religious and cultural diversity and to express their experiences through visual art and other forms of artistic expression. Leap in Faith is a DVD used in Manitoba schools, focusing on eight faith and spiritual traditions. Currently, Lodha and Dirks are working on a book that will build on the DVD.

“Manju Lodha and Ray Dirks truly embody the spirit of this award.” said Lt.-Gov. Filmon. “Their tireless efforts and collaborative, creative approach inspires us all to broaden our circle of friendship and continue to seek a greater understanding of one another.”

The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Advancement of Interreligious Understanding is presented each year at a ceremony at Government House, most often to an individual, who best embodies understanding between all religious groups.

Past recipients include:

  • Devon Clunis, former chief of police for the City of Winnipeg;
  • Rev. Karen Toole, former provincial spiritual care co-ordinator, radio host and newspaper columnist;
  • Rabbi Doctor Neal and Carol Rose, professor of religion at the University of Manitoba for more than 30 years and Carol is a writer, poet and spiritual teacher;
  • the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, former minister of foreign affairs and president of the University of Winnipeg and life-long active lay member of the United Church of Canada;
  • the late Dr. Redwan Moqbel, former head of immunology, faculty of medicine at the University of Manitoba and a member of the Bahai Faith;
  • Dr. Atish Chandra Maniar, a Hindu priest;
  • Mae Louise Campbell, an Ojibway Métis elder; and
  • Zane Zalis, a composer and musician.


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