June 2011, Issue11

Dear Friend,

I hope you are well and enjoying the amazing summer weather.

As the temperature rises and we begin to reach for cold drinks our thoughts are with those affected by drought and war in Somalia, as well as with those struggling towards a stable and just future in Middle Eastern and North African countries, and with all those closer to home feeling the effects of the financial crisis.

It is my pleasure to update you on the latest developments and events at the Dialogue Society. We are delighted to announce that the Dialogue Society is now an official partner of Queen Mary University, which is one of the UK’s leading research-focused higher education institutions. We look forward to fruitful collaboration. Our organisation is continuing to grow. Since our last letter, the Midlands Dialogue Forum has decided to become a branch of the Dialogue Society, and a new branch has launched in Durham. We look forward with excitement to developing our work together and striving to facilitate quality intercultural dialogue projects across the UK.

In London our first four “Community Coordinators” are working on our new initiative to strengthen the Dialogue Society’s work at the community level. Their role is to promote intercultural dialogue, social cohesion and citizenship in their home boroughs, primarily by getting to know existing community organisations and stakeholders and supporting existing projects which share these goals. They are seeking to build partnerships between different groups and to adopt a helpful supportive role, rather than setting up any new projects which may be in competition with existing initiatives. Ultimately we hope to have Community Coordinators in every borough in London.

Highlights in our programme of events over the last months have included very successful Census Awareness events in London and Birmingham, a roundtable discussion with FCO Minister Alistair Burt on “the Arab Spring and Libya” and a series of Reading-based discussions on the “Big Society”.

Our events calendar is beginning to wind up for the summer, but as you will see our first autumn events are already planned. We look forward to hosting you at one or more of our branches at our remaining summer events or in the autumn.

Warmest Regards
Ozcan Keles
Executive Director

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Launches

Launch of Birmingham Branch


We are very pleased to announce that board members of the Birmingham-based Midlands Dialogue Forum have decided to follow the Education and Dialogue Charity and the Fellowship Dialogue Society and formally join forces with the Dialogue Society. The Dialogue Society has been providing regular consultancy and support to Midlands Dialogue Forum since its establishment last year in its projects promoting intercultural dialogue in the Midlands. We believe that the move will help to create a cohesive, streamlined organisation that can more easily deliver consistently high quality projects in different localities. Henceforth, Midlands Dialogue Forum will continue its work as the Dialogue Society, Birmingham branch with a geographical reach of the Midlands. The Dialogue Society website now has a Birmingham Branch section, and the branch’s forthcoming events are listed on the homepage along with those run at Head Office and at the Leeds, Southampton and Durham branches.

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Launch of Durham Branch


We are also delighted to announce the launch of a new Durham Branch of the Dialogue Society. After considerable discussion with all those concerned it was decided that it would be beneficial for the Leeds Branch to split into two distinct branches in order to increase the reach of the Dialogue Society’s work in the North of England. Bilal Demir, previously Coordinator for the Leeds Branch’s activity in the Durham area, is now taking on the role of Director of the new Durham Branch.

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Launch of London Community Coordinators


In an attempt to extend its work wider and deeper into communities, the Dialogue Society is appointing a series of London Community Coordinators. Their role will be to localise the Dialogue Society’s work at the community level and to support existing local services and projects run by community groups and stakeholders.

Tamer Yigit, who has been working in East London since October, and Amir Sabonovic, who is now focusing on the Borough of Westminster, have been joined this year by two further volunteers.

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Official Partnership with Queen Mary University


Queen Mary UniversityThe Dialogue Society is proud to announce that we are now official partners of Queen Mary University, one of the UK’s leading research-focused higher education institutions which was ranked 13th in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) according to the Times Higher Education. Discussions with academics attending our events illuminated areas for possible fruitful collaboration which we will be exploring in the context of this official partnership.

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London Community Coordinator Highlights

Dialogue Society Supports Islington Faiths Forum Community Festival

Dialogue Society Supports Islington Faiths Forum Community Festival, 30.03.2011

30.03.2011 - The Dialogue Society was one of the contributors to the Islington Faiths Forum’s celebration of community work and services in Islington. Tamer Yigit, the Dialogue Society’s East London Community Coordinator, attended with hundreds of delicious Noah’s Puddings, as well as publications and information on the Dialogue Society’s work. Needless to say, the stall was very much enjoyed by guests. The Community Festival featured live entertainment, a free vegetarian lunch and information and advice for all visitors. It was a successful and enjoyable event.

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Census 2011 Awareness Event, East London

Census 2011 Awareness Event, East London, 07.04.2011

07.04.2011 - The Dialogue Society was delighted to host a helpful, interesting and well attended Census Awareness Event for Islington residents. We were joined by four engaging speakers: Jeremy Corbyn MP for Islington North, Jennette Arnold, London Assembly Member, Cllr Richard Greening, Deputy Leader of Islington Council and Sue Beveridge, Census Area Manager for Islington. They underlined the importance of the census in ensuring the area receives a fair share of government funding by giving an accurate picture of the local population. A range of questions and concerns raised by attendees were addressed and everybody enjoyed refreshments together after the discussion.

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Events London

Dialogue Society Directors Meet Richard Barnes, Deputy Mayor of London

Dialogue Society Directors Meet Richard Barnes, Deputy Mayor of London, 07.06.2011

07.06.2011 - The Dialogue Society met Deputy Mayor of London, Richard Barnes at City Hall, Home of the Greater London Authority. The meeting included discussion about social cohesion in London, referring to key community projects carried out by the Dialogue Society to create a more integrated Britain. The Deputy Mayor was particularly impressed by the Noah’s Pudding Community project and our East London representative Tamer Yigit will be distributing bowls of the traditional dish to the Greater London Authority in the coming weeks.

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Roundtable with FCO Minister Alistair Burt

Roundtable with FCO Minister Alistair Burt, 02.06.2011

02.06.2011 - The Dialogue Society was proud to host FCO Minister Alistair Burt for a fascinating discussion on the Middle East, the Arab Spring and Libya. Mr Burt explored the differences and parallels between the various uprisings of the “Arab Spring”, and the role that other countries, such as the UK, can appropriately play as the situations develop. His presentation also looked at the conditions required to reach a solution in the Middle East and at the action of the international community in Libya. A distinguished group of politicians, civil servants, academics and NGO workers engaged in a lively discussion. Issues raised included the UK’s accountability for previous dealings with oppressive regimes, the recent review of the Government’s “Prevent” agenda and the need for government support for diaspora communities wishing to contribute to the development of their countries of origin.

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Other Events

Events Birmingham

Raising Awareness for the Census

Raising Awareness for the Census, 24.05.2011

24.05.2011 - This seminar was organised to raise awareness among Birmingham citizens, in particular minority groups, concerning the 2011 Census. Seminar participants included graduate students from University of Birmingham and Keele as well as representatives of local interfaith and intercultural dialogue organisations. Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak, outlined the importance of the census for giving an accurate picture of the population and its needs in different regions and responded to the questions of participants. It was a helpful and interesting evening.

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Success School Seminar 1, with Adrian Lee, Chief Constable, Northamptonshire Police

Success School Seminar 1, with Adrian Lee, Chief Constable, Northamptonshire Police, 12.05.2011

12.05.2011 - With this seminar the Dialogue Society, Birmingham Branch launched the Dialogue Society Success School, which is intended to be run at different branches around the country. The aim of the School is to inspire, encourage and equip participants to aim high and to work towards success. Its primary target audience is local young people whose personal circumstances may create additional challenges as they work to fulfil their potential in education and in their working lives. This particular seminar, with Adrian Lee, Chief Constable of the Northamptonshire Police, was designed to attract the attention of participants to the ethical dimension of success and leadership. Mr Lee illustrated his theoretical arguments with examples from his own experience gained in the course of his own personal success story.

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Other Events

Events Leeds

Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Manchester (Session 8)

Muslim-Christian Dialogue in Manchester (Session 8), 21.05.2011

21.05.2011 - As part of the workshop series organised in collaboration with local communities, Dialogue Society, Leeds Branch volunteers from Manchester once more came together with the Christian congregation of St. Bride’s Church for dinner and dialogue. Our hosts at the St. Bride’s Church had lovingly prepared a delicious meal for the participants. Following the meal, we continued with our Scripture reasoning workshop based on the lives of prophets.

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Roundtable Discussion with Dr Ian Law: “Ethnicity and Education in England and Europe”

Roundtable Discussion with Dr Ian Law: “Ethnicity and Education in England and Europe”, 09.05.2011

09.05.2011 - Dr Ian Law, Reader in Racism and Ethnicity Studies at the University of Leeds and Founding Director of the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies, joined the Dialogue Society, Leeds Branch, for a fascinating discussion of “Ethnicity and Education in England and Europe.” He shared the results of qualitative research conducted in different countries in Europe. The roundtable discussion was attended by lecturers and graduate researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University and the University of Leeds. During the discussion participants shared their experiences about how to foster inter-ethnic dialogue and cohesion, with some interesting examples from Macedonia, where there is a sizable Turkish community.

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Other Events

Events Durham

Roundtable Discussion with Prof David Leat: “Enquiry-Based Curriculum and Learner Relationships”

Roundtable Discussion with Prof David Leat: “Enquiry-Based Curriculum and Learner Relationships”, 07.06.2011

07.06.2011 - Prof David Leat, Director for the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching at Newcastle University, joined the Dialogue Society, Durham Branch for a fascinating discussion of “Enquiry Based Curriculum and Learner Relationships.” In his presentation Prof Leat discussed the various benefits of an enquiry-based curriculum. The Question and Answer session focused on the question of whether this model has been successfully implemented in other countries. Discussion continued over dinner. The event concluded this season’s programme of Dialogue Society events in the North of England (Durham and Leeds Branches).

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“Classroom Dialogue”: Seminar with Prof Christine Howe

“Classroom Dialogue”: Seminar with Prof Christine Howe, 04.05.2011

04.05.2011 - The Dialogue Society, Durham Branch, was pleased to host Professor Christine Howe of the University of Cambridge for an absorbing exploration of collaborative group work in the classroom. Drawing on studies of such group work in elementary science conducted over a period of twenty years, Professor Howe highlighted its potential to promote children’s conceptual understanding, especially when they have differing perspectives on a certain subject. Her presentation included examples of how teachers can engage students in doing collaborative work in the classroom and how it can be seen to help the learning process. The discussion that ensued gave participants a chance to share their views on classroom dialogue and their past experiences relating to how it can be improved.

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Events Southampton

“Big Society... from a Liberal Democrat Perspective”: Seminar with Kirsten Bayes, Former Deputy Leader, Reading Borough Council

“Big Society... from a Liberal Democrat Perspective”: Seminar with Kirsten Bayes, Former Deputy Leader, Reading Borough Council, 12.05.2011

12.05.2011 - This seminar concluded the Dialogue Society, Southampton Branch’s exploration of the Big Society from a range of political perspectives. Kirsten Bayes, former Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader of Reading Borough Council, gave her own reflections on what “Big Society” does, could and should mean. Her presentation was followed by a lively debate about the current government funding policy and its effect on small charities and social enterprises. A diverse group of participants included local politicians and representatives from local community organisations.

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“Big Society... Big Questions...”: Seminar with Alok Sharma, Conservative MP for Reading West

“Big Society... Big Questions...”: Seminar with Alok Sharma, Conservative MP for Reading West, 13.04.2011

13.04.2011 - In the second of the Dialogue Society, Southampton Branch’s three “Big Society” seminars, Mr Alok Sharma gave a detailed examination of the idea of “Big Society” and asked, “Are we ready for the Big Society in Reading?” The seminar was well attended by guests including local councillors, academics, faith leaders and representatives from local community organisations. Participants put a range of questions to their local Conservative MP. There was heavy criticism of funding and grants policies at both the local and the national level.

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Other Events

In this issue


Video

Media School - Week 8: Understanding and Using New Media

Media School - Week 8: Understanding and Using New Media

FORTHCOMING


Other news

Past & Forthcoming Events

Visit our Events page to see the number and range of work carried out by the Dialogue Society. Users can view the events in categorical or chronological order.

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Internship at the Dialogue Society

The Dialogue Society is currently offering volunteering placement opportunities for candidates from all backgrounds and interests. We provide a unique, dynamic and stimulating work experience where volunteers are encouraged to plan, build and deliver their own projects whilst contributing to other ongoing projects and tasks.

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Support the Dialogue Society

Regardless of your means and time, there are a number of ways you can support the Dialogue Society. Click below for some practical suggestions.

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Feedback

The Dialogue Society would appreciate any feedback or ideas you can provide on its work. Please visit the website to send us any comments you would like to make.

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Dialogue Society
402 Holloway Road,
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T   + 44 (0) 20 7619 0361
E   info@dialoguesociety.org
W  www.dialoguesociety.org

Dialogue Society - 402 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PZ. Ph: +(44) 20 7619 0361