Mevlana Rumi Mosque and Community Centre organised a ‘Friendship Dinner’ with help from a team of Dialogue Studies MA students currently on a work placement at the Dialogue Society for 10 weeks. The idea of the event was to bring people from all sectors of our local community together for a friendly meal and for discussion of issues of local importance. It was hoped that the event would promote interaction and friendship between all different groups within the local community. It also aimed to promote discussion of important social issues, encouraging people to reflect on these together, have their say, listen to others, and begin to think about constructive solutions to shared difficulties. A panel of local stakeholders and community leaders responded to key points from the evening’s discussions.
The event was a great success, very well attended by local people of a range of cultural backgrounds. Guests enjoyed food and a chance to meet each other after the speeches. They all stressed that the friendly social interaction promoted by The Friendship Dinner offered the opportunity for everyone to have a say and enter into a constructive dialogue which would really help to build a strong, active and cohesive local community.