LONDON – 16th April 2012 – The Dialogue Society is proud to announce the launch of a new publication, Workshop Proceedings: Debating Multiculturalism 1 which comprises unedited papers submitted, accepted and printed in advance of the ‘Debating Multiculturalism’ academic workshop to take place in Konya, Turkey, between 16th and 22nd April 2012.
The Dialogue Society is organising this first workshop through its Leeds Branch in partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University and Mevlana University.
A second workshop on the same theme will take place in Istanbul in May and will look at multiculturalism across Europe as well as in the UK, whilst the first workshop will focus primarily on the UK context. Each workshop will balance the perspectives of academics with those of practitioners concerned with intercultural relations.
The acute contemporary relevance of the topic of these workshops hardly requires an introduction. Since the Second World War, European societies have increasingly experienced ‘multiculturalism’ in the sense of people of diverse cultural backgrounds living side by side. The ‘State multiculturalism’ so publicly criticised last year in David Cameron’s Munich Speech was a UK example of European government policies embodying a concern to ensure acceptance and respect for the cultural and religious identities of minorities.
While the geographical focus of the first workshop’s papers is the UK, Konya provides a fitting backdrop for debates concerning multiculturalism. It was the home of the Sufi poet Rumi, who lived at a time when the Konya region was significantly more diverse in terms of community and confession than it is today. Rumi’s profound spiritual insights and his conception and practice of the religious life encouraged peaceful coexistence on the basis of respect for different traditions and engagement in shared social and cultural activities.
Naturally the views expressed in the papers are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Dialogue Society. A further volume of selected papers taken from the two workshops will be published in due course.
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Notes to editors
The Dialogue Society is a registered charity, established in London in 1999, with the aim of advancing social cohesion by connecting communities through dialogue. It does this by bringing people together through discussion forums, courses, capacity building publications and outreach. It operates nation-wide with nine regional branches across the UK. The Dialogue Society aims to facilitate dialogue on a whole range of social issues. It stands for democracy, human rights, the non-instrumentalisation of religion in politics, equality and freedom of speech. For more information see www.dialoguesociety.org.