June 2012, Issue 16

Dear Friend,

As London gets out its best tea set ready to host guests from around the globe at the Olympics, I am pleased to be writing with the latest news from the Dialogue Society.

The beginning of May saw the second of our two academic workshops on ‘Debating Multiculturalism’, organised by the Dialogue Society Birmingham Branch in partnership with Keele University and Fatih University, and held in Istanbul. If you have not already discovered them, I invite you to have a look at the collected papers of the two workshops, which you can download free from the website.

Also recently published on the website is a series of columns exploring the causes of and responses to last summer’s riots. These columns were contributed by a range of academics working in relevant fields and are all available to read on our homepage.

A diverse range of events have been taking place during the summer months, here in London and around the country. At the request of Air Marshal Andy Pulford we held a constructive roundtable discussion of the relationship between British Muslims and the Royal Air Force. Cherie Blair joined us for an inspiring final session of our first Dialogue Society Success School, and Shami Chakrabarti’s Straight Talk finished this year’s London events schedule on a high note. The Bristol Branch marked the Queen’s Jubilee with a multicultural party with Bristol Multi-faith Forum, as well as arranging several other community events in partnership with this and other local groups. You can read about these and a host of other discussion forums and community events below.

While we are now winding up our events schedule for the summer, planning for the next academic year proceeds apace. We are looking forward to more Straight Talks and a host of other discussion forums, several Success Schools, a new intake of Dialogue Studies MA students, and much more. Amidst the planning and work on ongoing projects we found time to hold a stall at the Civil Service’s annual conference, Civil Service Live, raising awareness of the Dialogue Society’s work and keeping an eye out for potentially fruitful partnerships.

I would like to wish all of our Muslim friends a very good Ramadan, and to wish you all an enjoyable summer.

Warmest Regards
Ozcan Keles
Executive Director
Dialogue Society

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Civil Service Live 2012

Civil Service Live 2012, 03.07.2012-05.07.2012

03.07.2012 - 05.07.2012 - The Dialogue Society were proud exhibitors at this year’s Civil Service Live held at Kensington Olympia from 3rd- 5th June. The three day exhibition included a series of conference sessions, workshops and keynote presentations given by Permanent Secretaries and Senior Civil Servants including the Head of the Civil Service Sir Bob Kerslake and Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood. The event provided an excellent opportunity for dialogue between the public, private and third sectors, bringing them all under one roof to learn, share and explore new forms of engagement.

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Dialogue Society Annual Advisors’ Dinner

Dialogue Society Annual Advisors’ Dinner, 26.06.2012

26.06.2012 - A diverse group of Dialogue Society advisors and friends joined Dialogue Society staff for dinner at a restaurant in London to hear about recent developments and to offer their perspectives on the charity's current work and future development. Staff from the London office gave short presentations on the Dialogue Society's recent projects, including discussion forum series, courses and publications. The event provided an excellent opportunity for Dialogue Society staff to share the organisation's progress with its distinguished, trusted and supportive friends and to benefit from their insights.

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Shami Chakrabarti has a Straight Talk with Steve Richards at the Dialogue Society

Shami Chakrabarti has a Straight Talk with Steve Richards at the Dialogue Society , 21.06.2012

21.06.2012 - The Dialogue Society hosted Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, for the final Straight Talk programme of this year’s series. Steve Richards, Chief Political Columnist for The Independent newspaper prompted the human rights campaigner with direct questions about human rights issues in Britain. Shami Chakrabarti highlighted that the danger in Britain is ‘complacency’ and that people in Britain are at a risk of not caring because their own privacy and free speech have not been compromised too far in their lifetimes. However, Chakrabarti emphasised that for a democracy to strive and survive it needs checks and balances on non-negotiable rights and freedoms, and that is exactly what she and the organisation that she works stand for. The interview covered a spectrum of prominent and important human rights issues and the audience were able to put forward their questions and comments during the Q & A.

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Roundtable with Air Marshal Andy Pulford CBE on a Dialogue Between the Royal Air Force and the British Muslim Community

Roundtable with Air Marshal Andy Pulford CBE on a Dialogue Between the Royal Air Force and the British Muslim Community, 19.06.2012

19.06.2012 - Royal Air Force Officer, Air Marshal Andy Pulford CBE, formed a dialogue with the British Muslim Community over a roundtable discussion at the Dialogue Society. Participants explored key areas around what the British community think of the Royal Air Force (and the wider British Armed Forces), why Muslims are underrepresented in the Royal Air Force, why Muslims join the youth cadet organizations (such as the Air Training Corps) but then do not consider a career in the RAF and whether being a Muslim and working for the Royal Air Force (and the British Armed Forces) involves a conflict of interest. Air Mashal Pulford spoke for 20 minutes and opened the floor for guests to give their perspectives on the areas under discussion.

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Final Success School Session with Cherie Blair

Final Success School Session with Cherie Blair, 29.05.2012

29.05.2012 - The Dialogue Society was delighted to be joined by Cherie Blair for the final session of the 2012 Success School. In an interview with Co-Director Ilknur Kahraman, Mrs Blair, known professionally as Cherie Blair QC, gave an inspiring account of her journey to professional success as a leading barrister, and of her motivation for founding her own charity, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. The first member of her family to go to university, she spoke of her consciousness of the untapped potential of women like her own mother and grandmother, who both left school before the age of sixteen. Following the interview, there was no shortage of questions from Success School participants. A number of regular Success School attendees received certificates at the end of the session. In all, thirty participants have attended regularly, exploring the meaning of success and the attitudes and skills through which it may be attained. The Dialogue Society would like to thank all those who have been part of this first Success School, and especially our wonderful speakers.

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Mothers’ Day Meal

Mothers’ Day Meal, 12.05.2012

12.05.2012 - To mark Mothers’ Day in Turkey, the Dialogue Society Manchester Branch arranged a ladies’ day out with a meal at a restaurant. A group of thirty-five local women, representing several different cultural backgrounds, along with some of their children, came together to enjoy one another’s company in a relaxed, celebratory environment. Mothers were presented with roses.

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Other Events


Academic Workshop: Debating Multiculturalism 2

Academic Workshop: Debating Multiculturalism 2, 03.05.2012-05.05.2012

03.05.2012 - 05.05.2012 - The beginning of May saw the Dialogue Society hold the second of its two academic workshops on the theme, ‘Debating Multiculturalism’. The workshop, arranged by the Birmingham Branch in partnership with Keele University and Fatih University, was held in Istanbul and explored experiences of multiculturalism across Europe as well as in the UK. A distinguished, multinational group of researchers from fields ranging from education to communication studies presented and discussed their diverse perspectives in a series of lively panel discussions. They also had time to engage in more informal dialogue over group meals and visits to some of Istanbul’s unmissable sights. The proceedings of the workshop, published in advance, are available to download on the Dialogue Society website.

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Live Performance by Dawud Wharnsby-Alphonse and “One World Choir”

Live Performance by Dawud Wharnsby-Alphonse and “One World Choir”, 19.06.2012

19.06.2012 - This event was co-organised by the Dialogue Society Bristol Branch with Building the Bridge and the Bristol Multi Faith Forum as a means of promoting community cohesion and inter-faith dialogue. The evening started with the African based Christian group 'One World Choir' singing a few hymns and some cultural songs before leaving the stage to Dawud Wharnsby, who got the crowd of over fifty people, from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, on their feet. The leader of the singing group, Alphonse, and Dawud then did a duet together which was a great example of two talented singers with different faiths and ethnic backgrounds coming together to produce spectacular entertainment. Dawud sang many songs including 'Don't Talk to me about Muhammad' and 'Taleal Badru aleyna' with Alphonse joining in with his drum. They also showed mutual respect through short speeches and stressed the fact that Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and all other faiths can live together side by side in the perfect harmony aptly demonstrated by their duets. The event finished with Dawud's CD and books going on sale, with profits donated to charity.

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Conviction: Recognising and Protecting Vulnerable Individuals

Conviction: Recognising and Protecting Vulnerable Individuals, 14.06.2012

14.06.2012 - This event was organized by the Dialogue Society Bristol Branch in partnership with Bristol Multi-Faith Forum, Building the Bridge, and St John's Church in Bristol. Ms Kalsoom Bashir of the Bristol Muslim Women’s Network gave a talk about how to recognize and help vulnerable people. As part of the seminar, participants watched a short video, ‘Conviction’, about Isa Ibrahim from Bristol. In 2009 he was caught and convicted of terrorism related offences. The film uses this well-known case to help people explore the issue of violent extremism and the ways in which communities and the police can address the problem by working together. Participants got into small groups to discuss certain questions related to what led Isa Ibrahim to develop extreme views. The Conviction project aims to highlight the importance of early intervention work, illustrate how quickly vulnerable people can be adversely influenced by extremist rhetoric and raise awareness of the issues around violent extremism so that people can work together to tackle them.

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Other Events


Making Dialogue Effective 3: Effectiveness in Dialogue for Conflict Transformation

Making Dialogue Effective 3: Effectiveness in Dialogue for Conflict Transformation, 22.05.2012

22.05.2012 - The Dialogue Society, Durham Branch, continued its ‘Making Dialogue Effective’ discussion series with a conversation on ‘Effectiveness in Dialogue for Conflict Resolution’, led by David Penn. David Penn is a member of the Newcastle Conflict Resolution Network, a Quaker initiative addressing the causes of conflict and supporting peaceful initiatives for managing it. He works with the Churches Regional Commission, an ecumenical organisation supporting social action by churches, and has a strong interest in social and issues in Eastern Europe. He brought his varied experience to bear on the topic of dialogue in conflict resolution, giving an insightful presentation which prompted an interesting discussion among the diverse group of participants.

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European Muslims, Civility and Public Life: Perspectives on and From the Gülen Movement

European Muslims, Civility and Public Life: Perspectives on and From the Gülen Movement, 31.05.2012

31.05.2012 - This event concluded a series of launch events for this new book, co-edited by Dialogue Society advisor Professor Paul Weller. It was organised in partnership with the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture, Regents Park College, Oxford. The book comprises a selection of edited papers from a conference on the ‘Gülen Movement’ (or ‘Hizmet Movement’) held by the Dialogue Society in London in 2007. Professor Weller's opening overview of the book touched on key perspectives from Fethullah Gülen on Muslim identity and public life in Europe; on civility, co-existence and integration; on the movement's development in a variety of different European contexts, especially in the Netherlands, France, Germany and Northern Ireland, and on the movement's role in challenging terrorism. He was joined by Revd Nicolas Wood, Director of the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture, Dr Martin Whittingham, Director of the Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, and Dr Ziya Meral, a London-based Turkish researcher, analyst and writer. Each speaker gave their perspectives on the book and its themes. The panel then responded to audience questions.

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Community Engagement Breakfast

Community Engagement Breakfast, 12.06.2012

12.06.2012 - The Dialogue Society Southampton Branch arranged a community breakfast to strengthen relationships between the local police force and local residents. Chief Superintendent Dave Thomas gave an engaging presentation on the work of the Southampton police before opening the floor to questions from a diverse group of attendees. The event gave local people the opportunity to enter into a direct dialogue with the police and explore issues such as gangs and antisocial behaviour, Stop and Search and muggings. Chief Superintendent Thomas emphasised that Southampton’s Local Police Teams are genuinely keen to listen to the perspectives and concerns of the local community and to build strong partnerships with local people.

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In this issue



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