February 2015, Issue 23

Dear Friend,

As always, I am pleased to keep you updated with the work we are doing at the London headquarters of the Dialogue Society and in our other branches across the country. However, this newsletter also has a special meaning for me, as it will be my last. In September 2014, as many of you may know, I stepped down from this position. I will however continue to give the Dialogue Society all my support as its Chairperson going forward. It is therefore my pleasure to introduce our new Executive Director, Sadik Cinar, who joins us from our Birmingham branch, in whom I have every confidence as a successor and from whom thenceforth you will receive the Dialogue Society newsletters. I would like to congratulate him and wish him all the best in this new position.

The last months of 2014 were extremely busy for all branches of the Dialogue Society. In London, we had the honour of organising and hosting the UK premier of Terry Spencer Hesser’s prizewinning film, ‘Love is a Verb’, which offers a deep and powerful insight into the work of the Hizmet movement across the world. The reactions of the audience during the Q&A session that followed the screening were overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic and can be accessed on the website of our co-organiser, the Centre for Hizmet Studies, here .

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the success of our November workshop, ‘Sense of Belonging in a Diverse Britain’ co-organised with Coventry University’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies. The two roundtables, the first held in Coventry and the second in London, were characterised by the enthusiastic participation of academics and audience alike. Authors explored the theme of a sense of belonging from different angles and each one contributed in a unique way to bettering our understanding of the challenges, but also opportunities, which surround this concept. An online version of the workshop proceedings can be found on our website here.

Following the Muslim tradition, we celebrated the Ashurah by organising various events around London and in all the other Dialogue Society branches during which people of different faiths and backgrounds were encouraged to come together and savour a delicious Noah’s pudding.

We start this year with renewed energy and enthusiasm, and are proud to announce the creation of new projects and the continuation of old ones, such as the Success School and the Dialogue School, which have already proven their worth over the years, the publication of our new issue of the Journal of Dialogue Studies and the Masters in Dialogue Studies postgraduate degree co-delivered with Keele University which is now in its fourth year.

In Manchester, the Connecting Community Circle will deliver two exciting events during the month of February; the first will focus on the identities, history, interests and challenges of the Kazakh community in the UK, while the second will address these questions from the perspective of the Azerbaijani community in the UK.

In closing, I’d like to reiterate that in our view, the positive and proactive work of ensuring the acceptance and belief in the necessity of dialogue, both inherently and instrumentally, is paramount to combatting the violent extremist ideology. Those that believe that their faith necessitates belief in dialogue and dialogue values cannot be lured into believing that their faith justifies violent extremism. Doing so in a positive and proactive way ensures that we avoid the pitfalls of being reactive to violent extremist ideology and all that that entails. We will continue to work in that direction with further research and community projects going forward.

Make sure to follow our projects’ development by visiting our website. We look forward to welcoming you at a Dialogue Society event near you soon.

Warmest Regards,

Ozcan Keles
Chairperson
Dialogue Society

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EVENTS - LONDON

UK Premiere of 'Love is a Verb'



04/11/2014 - On 4th November the Dialogue Society’s London branch, in collaboration with the Centre for Hizmet Studies and Global Vision Productions organized the UK premier of ‘Love is a Verb’, in the world-famous Empire Cinema in Leicester Square. The documentary centres upon Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic scholar and teacher, and the lives and stories of the people working in the movement inspired by its values and goals, known as ‘Hizmet’ (meaning ‘service’ in Turkish). It originated in the 1960s in Turkey and is now known and active in education and relief work around the world, including countries such as lraq and Somalia. Hizmet participants put their work at the service of all people regardless of their faith and religion through dialogue, education and relief work. Among others, the audience was introduced to the story of a Kurdish woman working in a school in Iraq and to the lives of two Turkish doctors operating in Somalia. After the viewing, the audience had the opportunity to engage in discussion with Terry Spencer, the documentary director, Ken Hunter, executive producer, and Hakan Berberoğlu.

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Roundtable on Youth, Education and Sense of Belonging in a Diverse Britain



26/11/2014 - The Dialogue Society’s London branch was proud to host a roundtable on the theme of ‘Youth, Education and Sense of Belonging in a Diverse Britain’ on 26th November 2014 at its London offices. The event was a continuation of the topics discussed during the roundtable held in Coventry on 20th November, and featured speakers Prof Roger Griffin (Oxford Brookes University), Anisa Mustafa (University of Nottingham), and Marlon Moncrieffe (University of Brighton). After presenting their papers on themes which included transcultural humanism, Muslim identity politics, and reconceptualising mass migration in school history lessons, the panellists had the chance to engage in a lively question and answer session with the audience. This final moment gave all the event’s participants the opportunity to explore and develop a better understanding of the ideas of belonging in contemporary British society.

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The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting

23/07/2014 - The Dialogue Society Book Group have met to discuss in the last four sessions the works of Sayed Kashua (Let it Be Morning), The Joy Luck Club by Amy Ta, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and The Fish Can Sing by Halldor Laxness. During the sessions the participants took part in a lively dialogue regarding the intercultural themes in each work, while discussing the relevance of each book's themes to other topics such as conflict, cultural bias, discrimination and immigration.

  • 02/02/2015 | The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 12: The Fish Can Sing, by Halldor Laxness
  • 27/11/2014 | The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 11: Let it Be Morning, by Sayed Kashua
  • 16/10/2014 | The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 10: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • 03/09/2014 | The Dialogue Society Book Group Meeting 9: Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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    Noah’s Pudding Celebration

    November was a busy month for East London Community Connector, Tamer Yigit, who organized many events based around the tradition of Noah’s Pudding. Traditionally made during the Muslim Festival of Ashura, this special dessert symbolises the food that Prophet Noah made at the end of the Great Flood. The Dialogue Society uses this delicious dessert as a way of bringing together different communities and promote interaction between neighbours. Noah’s Pudding is a perfect symbol of the vision of a multicultural society that the Dialogue Society promotes: the many different ingredients retain their own flavours and textures in the finished pudding and the combination tastes great, just as in a growing multicultural society different people retain different traditions and beliefs while being part of a harmonious whole. This November, people were able to enjoy Noah’s Pudding at London Metropolitan University and at the London Assembly, where Mayor of London Boris Johnson took part in the celebrations.

  • 27/11/2014 | Noah’s Pudding Celebration at London Metropolitan University
  • 16/10/2014 | Noah's Pudding Celebration with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson
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    PUBLICATIONS

    Workshop Proceedings: “Sense of Belonging in A Diverse Britain”

    Dialogue Theories

    This workshop proceedings was published to accompany two conferences held in London and Coventry. The scholars included address four key themes: Economy and Politics; Multiple Identities; Diasporic Communities; and Youth and Education. Together they address contemporary issues of what belonging means in the multi-faceted landscape of Britain today.


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    Journal of Dialogue Studies, Vol 2 No 2

    Dialogue Theories

    This edition of the Journal incorporates papers that focus on ‘dialogue ethics’ as well as its wider themes. Ranging from the philosophical to the practical, topics included are policymaking and migration, civic dialogue, integrity, mental health and artistic practice. These areas of study are discussed around the integral concept of dialogue, which enables thoughtful and creative interplay between such diverse papers.


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    Press Release

  • 07/01/2015 | In Response to the Recent Attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris
  • 17/12/2014 | In Response to the Recent Attacks in Peshawar and Sydney
  • EVENTS - BIRMINGHAM

    Academic Workshop: Sense of Belonging in a Diverse Britain



    20/11/2014 - The Dialogue Society’s Birmingham Branch, together with Coventry University’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies, were delighted to host the Academic Workshop “Sense of Belonging in a Diverse Britain” on 20th November 2014 at Coventry University. The event was made up of three panels. The first, “Economy, Politics and Sense of Belonging”, featured three speakers, Dr Nasar Meer (Strathclyde University), Dr Stephen Cowden and Dr Gurnam Singh (Coventry University), and Rebecca Ehata (University of Manchester). During the second panel, Audrey C. Allas (Durham University), Qaisra Sahraz (Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts), and Dr Josephine Kwhali (Coventry University) examined the theme of “Multiple Identities and Sense of Belonging”. The third panel focussed on the subject of “Diasporic Communities and Sense of Belonging”, and included the work of Oula Kadhum (University of Warwick) and Michalis Poupazis (University College Cork). Our speakers engaged in a stimulating discussion on the different ways in which a sense of belonging (or lack thereof) may be influenced, constructed or threatened in majority and minority communities. You can access the workshop proceedings here.

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    EVENTS - BRIGHTON

    Noah’s Pudding Celebration in Brighton and Hove with Mayor of Brighton and Hove Cllr



    27/11/2014 - Noah’s Pudding was enjoyed in Brighton on 27th November 2014. Sharing this delicious and homemade dessert offers a way to establish and reinforce relations between people coming from different background. Councillor Brian Fitch, the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, and Chief Inspector Dave Padwick were just some of those who attended the event.

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    Other Events

  • 03/02/2015 | Reception in Recognition of Dialogue Society
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    EVENTS - HULL

    Noah’s Pudding Celebration in Hull

    06/12/2014 - To celebrate the Muslim festival of Ashurah, the Dialogue Society’s branch in Hull held its Noah’s Pudding event on 6th December. Sharing Noah’s pudding with neighbours and friends is a well-established, good tradition that the Hull branch is proud to offer every year. On this joyful occasion participants had the opportunity to taste a delicious homemade desert while enjoying the company of friends old and new.

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    EVENTS - MANCHESTER

    Noah’s Pudding Celebration

    16/06/2014 - Recognising that sharing food with other people in the community encourages individuals to come together and promotes interaction and friendship, on 6th December the Dialogue Society’s branch in Manchester organized two Noah’s Pudding celebrations in Manchester and in Sheffield respectively.

  • 06/12/2014 | Noah’s Pudding Celebration in Manchester
  • 06/12/2014 | Noah’s Pudding Celebration in Sheffield
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    Community Engagement Breakfast with Keith Levy Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS)



    30/01/2015 - On 30th January the Manchester branch organized a Community Engagement Breakfast which featured as a speaker Mr Keith Levy from the Voluntary Action Sheffield organization. The participants gathered at the Hull office at 10.30 am and shared a lovely breakfast while having an enjoyable and meaningful conversation.

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    Forthcoming

  • 07/02/2015 | Connecting Communities Circle: The Kazakh Community
  • 28/02/2015 | Connecting Communities Circle: The Azerbaijanis Community in Sheffield
  • 24/06/2015 | Connecting Communities Circle: the Kurdish community of Northern Iraq
  • 04/03/2015 | Prevent Extremism
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    EVENTS - SOUTHAMPTON

    Noah’s Pudding Celebration in Reading with Mayor of Reading Cllr Tony Jones



    10/12/2014 - The Southampton branch of the Dialogue Society was very happy to organise a Noah’s Pudding event in Reading. The Mayor of Reading, Cllr Tony Jones, and Inspector Beverley Pearce from Reading police were among the participants of the event. Guests enjoyed each other’s company over puddings and other refreshments and shared the unique experience of coming together as individuals.

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    Noah’s Pudding Celebration in Basingstoke and Deane with the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Cllr Roger Gardiner

    03/12/2014 - On December the 3rd Noah’s Pudding was handed out in Basingstoke by the Southampton branch of the Dialogue Society. Cllr Roger Gardiner, the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Inspector Paul Maginnis, Officer in Charge of the Safer Neighbourhood and Community Safety teams in Basingstoke, and Revd Andrew Ashdown, Interfaith Adviser for the Winchester Diocese, were some of the people who gathered to enjoy the delicious pudding.

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    In this issue


    FORTHCOMING

    MANCHESTER

    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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