Meet Our Affiliates: Intercultural Dialogue Institute
The Intercultural Dialogue (IDI) Institute was founded in 2010 in collaboration with several organizations as an effort to “advance social cohesion through personal interaction by promoting respect and mutual understanding among people of all cultures and faiths through dialogue and partnership.”
Founded by Turkish Canadians who are bound together by a source of inspiration as derived from the example of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic scholar, author, poet, educational advocate, and former preacher, IDI currently has 9 chapters and offices in five Canadian provinces.
Connection is at the heart of all that IDI does. States National Director Ahmet Tamirci, “Intercultural Dialogue Institute is an organization dedicated to promoting intercultural cooperation through exposure and communication. We aim to advance social cohesion by connecting communities, empowering people to engage and contributing to the development of ideas on dialogue and community building.”
IDI is founded on the quest to answer the question, “How can citizens of the world live in peace and harmony?” Explains Tamirci, “We strive to eliminate or reduce false stereotypes, prejudices and unjustified fears through direct human communication. We do this by bringing people together through discussion forums, educational programs, social and cultural initiatives.”
Faith plays a large role in IDI’s question to answer this foundational question. In particular, IDI sees faith as an opportunity to bring people together, not as a tool of division. Notes Tamirci, “We believe that Religions has played and continue to play key roles in shaping the history of human kind. According to some, the next century is going to be the era for the clash between religions or religious groups. However, religions have an important message for the healing of our wounded society instead of being a source of division. We believe knowing is the first step to harmony and love, and, in this regard, “Interfaith Dialogue” is crucial to discovering the ‘other’ and finding possible ways for cooperation.”
IDI and Faith in Canada 150 both hold a common commitment to bringing diverse Canadians together for a time of celebration and dialogue regarding their common heritage and commitment to preserving the role of faith in common life. Tamirci said,“Interfaith dialogue is a cooperative, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions at both the individual and institutional levels. We appreciate the role of Cardus and Faith in Canada 150 initiative which aim to facilitate these communications, which will provide a common ground of dialogue for every faith and non-faith tradition to discuss, explore and understand each other, and offer insights about their shared future in Canada's 150th anniversary of the Confederation.”
As Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary fast approaches, IDI is prepared to facilitate continued connection and dialogue between Canadians. In this regard, their programming will focus on story and the importance of discussion. States Tamirci, “Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary and we believe that it is a time to look deeply into the stories we tell ourselves about this country. The fabric of Canada looks vastly different than it did in 1867, so it’s time to reflect on Canada’s past, present and future. It is time to have a conversation about our Canadian identity and questions such as how it is constructed, how the social and cultural identities are inextricably linked to issues of power, value systems, and ideology.
In this regard, we organize programs for different audiences to reflect on these questions. These programs includes youth contests for the high school students (Creative Minds Youth Contest: artessay.ca), discussion series and cultural showcases which aim to demonstrate the diversity in our multicultural society.”
Faith in Canada 150 would like to thank the Intercultural Dialogue Institute for its partnership. For more information on the Intercultural Dialogue Institute, please visit: http://www.interculturaldialog.com/
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