Community Engagement

Current

The Dialogue Society was founded as a grass roots community organisation. Between 1999 and 2006, its sole focus was bringing people together through community-based events. These events sought to mobilise first and second generation British Muslim communities, facilitating their exchange with, and understanding of, different cultures and faiths, while simultaneously encouraging the same pattern of behaviour among the UK's majority and other cultural and religious communities.

The Dialogue Society retains its commitment to dialogue at the community level, and its conviction that effective and authentic dialogue must always grow out of the concerns and activities of the community and feed back into it. However, the Dialogue Society's role in serving the community has changed through the diversification of its structure and services. While continuing to deliver community-based and targeted projects, it is now devoting further attention to (i) supporting local communities and stakeholders through London and regional representatives and (ii) capacity building through partnerships, consultancy, training, publications and advocacy. Through these approaches it can stimulate and support more work at the grassroots level than it could possibly deliver directly itself.

In an attempt to extend its work further and deeper at local community level the Dialogue Society is appointing London and regional representatives. London and regional representatives will work to increase intercultural dialogue, social cohesion and citizenship in a particular region by supporting existing initiatives and working in partnership with local people, organisations and stakeholders. Based in the region to which they are assigned, they will be well-placed to respond to the needs of that area and to understand and work with existing structures and services. To read more, click here.

An example of our capacity building work supporting local organisations in their community dialogue is the series of Dialogue Manuals to be published early in 2011. The manuals focus on projects and practices which the Dialogue Society has found to be effective in promoting intercultural dialogue and social cohesion. They provide inspiration, detailed advice and a range of helpful sample documents to assist in the smooth running of a varied selection of events. To read more, click here.

Another way in which the Dialogue Society builds capacity for community dialogue projects is through consultancy for regional dialogue groups. This service is provided to a number of organisations working to promote intercultural dialogue in regions throughout the UK. The Dialogue Society provides suggestions and support for projects and assists with organisational development, helping to make the work of the organisations in question more effective and more sustainable. Consultancy is provided for free through regular meetings, annual workshops and telephone support. To read more, click here.

The Dialogue Society's Schools also contribute to capacity building for community dialogue. The Dialogue School, which ran for the first time in 2010 with great success, is intended to equip young people (17-27 years) with the skills and understanding they need to become a new generation of leaders and organisers of intercultural dialogue. The Media School, a new project launched at the end of 2010, targets small to medium sized community groups. Its objective is to empower these groups to engage with the media in a more confident and positive way. This should enable them not only to avoid any misrepresentation but also to raise the profile of their work through active relationships with media outlets, enhancing its scope and impact. The Dialogue Society will also run its Success School in 2012 which aims to inspire, encourage and equip young people to aspire to and work towards success through engagement with those who are successful in their chosen field of occupation. Malcolm Gladwell, author of 'Outliers - The Story of Success' suggests that one of the preconditions of success is to become 'socially savvy' which comes through engagement with a wide range of people and circles. The Success Schools aims to facilitate such engagement. To read more on the Dialogue, Media and Success Schools, click here, here and here, respectively.

In addition to these activities the Dialogue Society continues to deliver community-based projects through initiatives such as the Noah's Pudding events. One of the Dialogue Society's earliest initiatives, this project brings diverse groups within the local community together to share in the delicious pudding associated with the Muslim festival of Ashura. Through this project, the Dialogue Society facilitated the distribution of approximately 10,000 bowls of Noah's Pudding throughout Greater London in January 2010. To read more, click here.

As part of its community engagement work, the Dialogue Society is planning a new project called London Trips targeting disadvantaged and minority community groups in the UK. Participants will engage in exploration of London's history, community and diverse cultures, with guided tours and activities catered to the needs of each group. The trips are intended to promote understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity in the city.

Past

In the past, the Dialogue Society has explored a range of community-based methods of promoting community cohesion (in addition to its longstanding Noah's Pudding project).
These included:-

  • Whirling Dervishes performances highlighting the spiritual and ethical dimension of faith in society. These were held at large, prestigious venues like the Wembley Conference Centre and the Hackney Empire. Between 2004 and 2007, the Dialogue Society organised over 30 Whirling Dervishes events. The events sought to unite people of diverse faiths and cultures in an exploration of the path of love, understanding and universal peace taught by Rumi, the founder of the Sufi order to which the whirling ritual belongs. Each event included an exhibition on Rumi and the Anatolian Sufi tradition, a video clip and a magical performance by Whirling Dervishes from Turkey.
  • Communal Fast-Breaking Friendship Dinners organised during Ramadan where neighbours, friends and passers-by, irrespective of faith or background, were invited to share in the after-sunset meal to break the day-long fast.
  • Essentials of Peace gatherings at which the common characteristics and teachings of the three Abrahamic faiths were explored together by representatives of each before mixed audiences.
  • Community celebrations of religious festivals. Members of different cultural and religious groups united to share the joy of Eid meals, Christmas services and St George's day celebrations. A highlight was the shared celebration of Eid, Hannuka and Christmas in December 2007, an occasion charged with good food, good will and shared festivity.
  • A shared exploration of Jesus from Christian and Muslim perspectives and a conference bringing together Muslims, Christians and Jews to consider the virtues of the prophets.
  • A number of small group dialogues with local police forces, exploring methods for effective engagement with minority groups. Participants had time to meet each other informally over refreshments after the main proceedings. The meetings were very positive and productive.

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Article Title Date
Interfaith Week 2018: Freedom of Religion or belief in the context of countering violent extremism and hate crime 14 Nov 2018
The Dialogue Society Book Group - Meeting 21: Touch the Water, Touch the Wind, By Amos Oz 21 Jun 2018
Community Iftar in Sutton: Knife crime and community cohesion 01 Jun 2018
Community Iftar in Chatham: Community Engagement 28 May 2018
Community Iftar in Welling: Community Engagement 25 May 2018
Community Iftar in Croydon: Knife crime and community cohesion 24 May 2018
The Annual London Community Iftar 23 May 2018
The Dialogue Society Book Group - Meeting 20: Harare North, By Brian Chikwava 09 May 2018
The Dialogue Society Book Group - Meeting 19: Pearl of China, by Anchee Min 07 Mar 2018
The Dialogue Society Book Group - Meeting 18: A Pale View of Hills, by Kazuo Ishiguro 07 Dec 2017
The Dialogue Society Book Group - Meeting 17: Bread Givers, by Anzia Yezierska 10 Oct 2017
The Dialogue Society Book Group - Meeting 16: Water Reflects the Bamboo's Shadow: The Untold History of Two Families: the Dungans, the Cina Babas, the Old Man and Women of the Steppes, by Omer Shener 05 Sep 2017
The Dialogue Society Book Group - Meeting 15: The Lonely Londoners, by Sam Selvon 04 Jul 2017
The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 14: Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri 24 May 2017
Easter Friendship Dinner and Panel Discussion on post-Brexit Britain: Communities in Collison or Cohesion? 21 Apr 2017
Eagle Community Centre Annual Friendship Dinner 23 Mar 2017
Mevlana Rumi Mosque and Community Centre Annual Friendship Dinner 21 Mar 2017
Friendship Dinner and Hizmet Open Day in Redbridge 07 Feb 2017
Screening of 'Love is a Verb' in London 10 Jan 2017
Mevlana Rumi Mosque and Community Centre Annual Friendship Dinner 22 Mar 2016
Eagle Community Centre Annual Friendship Dinner 16 Mar 2016
The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 13: The Missing Rose, by Serdar Ozkan 02 Apr 2015
Eagle Community Centre Annual Friendship Dinner 26 Mar 2015
Mevlana Rumi Mosque and Community Centre Annual Friendship Dinner 10 Mar 2015
The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 12: The Fish Can Sing, by Halldor Laxness 02 Feb 2015
The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 11: Let it Be Morning, by Sayed Kashua 27 Nov 2014
Noah's Pudding Celebration with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson 19 Nov 2014
UK Premiere of 'Love is a Verb' 04 Nov 2014
The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 10: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan 16 Oct 2014
The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 9: Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 03 Sep 2014
The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 8: Embassytown, by China Mieville 23 Jun 2014
The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 7: Sour Sweet by Timothy Mo 14 May 2014
The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 6: World and Town, by Gish Jen 18 Mar 2014
The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 5: A Distant Shore, by Caryl Phillips 04 Feb 2014
Noah’s Pudding Celebration at Amity Community Centre, Redbridge 31 Dec 2013
Noah’s Pudding at Ilford Police Station 31 Dec 2013
Noah’s Pudding at Islington Interfaith Week Event 21 Dec 2013
The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 4: The Bastard of Istanbul, by Elif Shafak 10 Dec 2013
Noah’s Pudding Celebration at Greater London Assembly 20 Nov 2013
The Dialogue Society Book Group - Meeting 3: Life of Pi, by Yann Martel 07 Nov 2013
The Dialogue Society Book Group - Meeting 2: White Teeth, by Zadie Smith 10 Sep 2013
The Dialogue Society Book Group - Meeting 1: No Longer At Ease, by Chinua Achebe 27 Jun 2013
Knife Crime Awareness 06 Mar 2012
Neighbourhood Cohesion through Noah's Pudding 12 Jan 2010
Dialogue with Local Police: Methods of Effective Engagement 24 Nov 2009
Marylebone Service: Earnest Cultivation Yields Fruitful Harvest 23 Nov 2009
National Interfaith Week: The Necessity of Interfaith Dialogue 21 Nov 2009
Dialogue with Islington Council: ‘Mechanisms and Interventions for Community Cohesion’ 19 Nov 2009
Dialogue Society’s 10th Anniversary Dinner and Awards Ceremony 17 Nov 2009
Police Engagement with the Muslim Community 16 Jan 2009
Lunch Reception for Dialogue Society's Neighbours 15 Dec 2008
Dine & Discuss Series with Dialogue Society Volunteers 23 Sep 2008
Dialogue Stall at IslamExpo 11 Jul 2008
Lets Celebrate together: A season of Eid, Hannuka and Christmas 28 Dec 2007
Sharing an Eid Meal 20 Dec 2007
Sufi Path to Peace: Love Everyone for the Sake of the One 05 Nov 2007
Dinner: Ramadan Interfaith Fast Breaking Dinner (Iftar) 06 Oct 2007
Meeting with Christian Muslim Forum 01 Jul 2007
Award to Dialogue Society from the Unitarian Chapel for Outstanding Work 30 Apr 2007
Community Conference - Essentials of Peace: Truthfulness & Trustworthiness of Prophets 29 Apr 2007
Ashura - Noah's Pudding at Rosslyn Hill Chapel 24 Feb 2007
Ashura - Noah's Pudding at Hampden Way Nursery 18 Jan 2007
Sharing the Eid Meal 31 Dec 2006
Jesus in our Heart: Rose of Mary 16 Dec 2006
Whispers of Love; Whirling Dervishes 13 Nov 2006
Dinner: Ramadan Interfaith Fast Breaking Dinner (Iftar) 20 Oct 2006
Interfaith Picnic 16 Jul 2006
Community Conference - Essentials of Peace: Love of the Prophets 30 Apr 2006
Ashura - Noah's Pudding at Quaker Friends House 21 Feb 2006
Ashura - Noah's Pudding at St. Peter's Church 20 Feb 2006
Ashura - Noah's Pudding at Rosslyn Hill Chapel 19 Feb 2006
Sharing the Eid Meal 03 Feb 2006
Joint celebration of Christmas at St. Peter's Church 20 Dec 2005
Whispers of Love, Whirling Dervishes 22 Nov 2005
Sharing the Eid Meal 23 Oct 2005
Dinner: Ramadan Interfaith Fast Breaking Dinner (Iftar) 12 Oct 2005
Dinner: Ramadan Interfaith Fast Breaking Dinner (Iftar) 13 Sep 2005
Community Conference - Essentials of Peace: Compassion of the Prophets 24 Apr 2005
Ashura - Noah's Pudding at Retirement Home 19 Feb 2005
Ashura - Noah's Pudding at St. Peter's Church 18 Feb 2005
Community Event: Sharing the Eid Meal 20 Jan 2005
Community Event: Interfaith Fast Breaking Dinner 03 Dec 2004
Community Event: in the Footsteps of Abraham - Fast Breaking Dinner 18 Nov 2004
Community Event: Fast Breaking Dinner 10 Nov 2004
Whispers of Love; Whirling Dervishes 02 Oct 2004
House of Lords Dinner & Award Ceremony 16 Mar 2000
 

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