Date posted: January 3, 2015
Ashok Sajjanhar, the Secretary of the Indian Interior Ministry’s National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH), in a statement he made during a workshop organized by the Journalists and Writers Foundation’s (GYV) Intercultural Dialogue Platform (KADİP), indicated that involvement in dialogue work encourages one to learn one’s faith more profoundly.
As part of its efforts to extend bridges of dialogue between diverse people and cultures by organizing events for different cultural and religious groups, the KADİP held the “Coexistence Workshop” in Istanbul.
Ashok Sajjanhar, Interfaith Foundation President Professor M. M. Verma, and Indialogue Foundation President Bilal Açıkgöz from India, and Professor Niyazi Öktem, a lecturer at Fatih University, KADİP Secretary-General Kudret Altındağ, Abant Platform Secretary-General İbrahim Anlı, and GYV Vienna Representative E. Yasemin Aydın from Turkey and Özlem Arslan from Australia attended the workshop which put the spotlight on coexistence experiences in different countries, cultural and religious diversities as assets in social life and universal human values.
“We need to cooperate for propagating the coexistence mindset”
Speaking at the program held in GYV’s Kuzguncuk office on December 24, Sajjanhar draw attention to the fact that the organizations working in the same field in different parts of the world should cooperate with each other to promote the coexistence mindset, family values, respect for sacred values, and dialogue efforts for the solution of problems.
Sajjanhar explained that dialogue helps people attain deeper knowledge about their own faith. “Unfortunately, people are not sufficiently informed about their own religious beliefs. When they get involved in dialogues activities, they will certainly learn more about their own religion,” he said.
Profess Verma placed emphasis on the importance of getting young people take part in dialogue work. Verma also maintained that in addition to the use of opinion leaders and role models, dialogue activities should be propagated also for ordinary people.
Professor Öktem explained the historical process for peaceful coexistence and the Hizmet movement’s contribution to this process, briefing participants about the meetings organized by the KADİP for sharing peaceful coexistence experiences with different countries. He proposed to hold a similar program with India in New Delhi. “There are lots of things we can learn from each other,” he said.
Touching on the fact that certain deep-rooted prejudices urge people to keep away from different cultures, KADİP Secretary-General Altındağ indicated that with the schools they run in 160 countries around the world, Turkish businessmen are contributing to the growth of a generation of dialogue by providing educational services to children of diverse cultures and religions. “Even if families do not like each other, their children can befriend each other at these schools as they are ready to accept others with their true identities. This understanding will prove to be a sturdy barrier to manipulations in future,” he said.
Following the exchange of ideas and experiences, the Indian and KADİP delegations gave each other presents and posed for souvenir photos.
Source: Intercultural Dialogue Platform , December 31, 2014