I wanted to go to the Parliament of the World's Religions ever since I first heard about it as a high school student studying religion. I would close my eyes and imagine the very first Parliament in Chicago in 1893, when Swami Vivekananda rose to address an American audience for the first time. The crowd wondered if this man from India even spoke English. When he greeted them – “Sisters and Brothers of America!” – the crowd rose to their feet in applause. “Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth,” he said in his famous address. “They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair."