Rumi Forum promotes unity, understanding
Published: Monday, November 9, 2009
Updated: Monday, November 9, 2009 23:11
Crystal chandeliers provided the light for 85 people to come together over food and drink for one conversation of change.
The Rumi Forum, an organization that promotes intercultural ideas of peace and tolerance, held its first dinner event, titled "The Necessity of Intercultural Dialogue," on Thursday.
The dinner was hosted by the Rumi Forum's Delaware chapter and organized by president Adnan Ozsoy.
Ozsoy says with the accompaniment of food, exchange about ideas is more effective.
"We value dinners; sharing food brings all people to the same table," he says. "It's helping bring down these vices."
Ozsoy says food works to further these ends in many situations because food often serves to bring people together. Luncheons and various cultural food deliveries were the means by which the chapter spread the word about its forum. However, the dinner was the first of its kind and was used to build a platform for exchanging ideas.
"The Necessity of Intercultural Dialogue" dinner provided a host of speakers for the guests to listen to. Ozsoy says it was good to hear from people who had a wealth of experience to share.
National Rumi Forum president Emre Celik was one of those experienced who took to the podium. In his introduction speech, he said ideas forming the dialogue need to be cross-cultural, mutual process.
"Dialogue at its very essence is a two way process," Celik said.
Guest speaker Michael Walsh, New Castle County sheriff, shares the same beliefs. Walsh said the area in which that he grew up was an amalgamation of different cultures — cultures that were clearly divided as well as brimming with ignorance. Ignorance, he says, brings on bigotry.
"[Ignorance] is the stagnant pond where you stay within yourself," Walsh says.
Ozsoy says the group is trying to reach out to many people from all different cultures, all over the world.
"We bring up the voice we need to appreciate the diversity," Ozsoy says.
Senior Bayram Saparov, a member of Delaware's Rumi Forum, says being a member of the Rumi Forum helps to foster intercultural dialogue in the first place.
"As long as I can remember, there is always ‘they' who we don't really know, but have an opinion about," Saparov says. "But how about remembering that ‘they' are people too? Even that alone says we have a lot of common ground for starters."
Saparov says that as person who has different cultural values, he knows people have misconceptions and generalizations. Generalizations shape their ideas, he says.
"Perhaps one of the most effective way of letting people know our values is to form a friendship group that will convey our messages that we really treat people with respect no matter their background," he says. "Rumi Forum does the job beautifully in a cultured, friendly way."
Ozsoy says the chapter holds the same value for him and gave him a chance to know of himself and others too.
"It helped me to learn about my beliefs," Ozsoy says. "We believe in the idea of peace and tolerance."
Saparov says he hopes to be a part of other activities involving the Rumi Forum, as the dinner was a great opportunity to talk to leaders of community and politics.
"Not only do you have an opportunity to talk to community and political leaders, it takes place in a friendly environment and good food on top of that," Saparov says.
He says the dinner will inspire and motivate the group to continue the dialogue about friendship.
Celik says it is important to bring people of different backgrounds together, especially those in our own state.
"May all the colors of Delaware come together," Celik says.