Intercultural Dialogue Institute – Ottawa organized its first interfaith gathering at Sala San Marco on Monday, February 28, 2011. The theme was ‘Living Together as Neighbours’. The friends of IDI –Ottawa attended the program and enjoyed seeing different cultural and religious community leaders around. People from Chapel Ridge Free Methodist Church, St. Matthias Anglican Church, The Hellenic Community of Ottawa, Britannia United Church, RCMP Ethnic Liaison and National Crime Prevention Office, Kanata Pentecostal Church, Ottawa Pastoral Care Training, First Baptist Church, the Anglican Church, NCR Muslim Coordinating Council, Ottawa Presbytery United Church of Canada, Ottawa Sikh Community, the Buddhist Community, the Jewish Community, St. Elias Cathedral, the Canadian Forces Attraction & Diversity Office, Radio Current Affairs, CBC Radio –Ottawa, EMC Newspaper, Media 55 from Toronto, Professors from the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, and Saint Paul University, Members of Parliament, Parliamentary Secretary of Multiculturalism, Lawyers, bureaucrats and businessmen.
The Master of Ceremony was Rev. Jim Baldwin from the Britannia United Church. The welcome speech was given by Dr. Yavuz Zeybek, chair, Intercultural Dialogue Institute – Ottawa. The keynote speaker was Father Alex Michalopulos, Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church of the Hellenic Community of Ottawa. Aboriginal and Ethnic Liaison Officer of RCMP talked about the ‘Meet Your Neighbours’ program. Lise Zarac, member of parliament talked about how valuable to do intercultural trips.
The Ebru Water Marbling art show was performed by Hulya Arslan. All the attendees found her show to be quite good, with some of the attendees even trying to perform as well.
Rabbi Arie Chark, The Metivta of Ottawa, Senior pastor Richard Trenholm of Kanata Pentecostal Church, Mr. Zakaria Khan of the NCR Muslim Coordinating Council, and Dr. Harpal Buttar of the Ottawa Sikh Community gave impression remarks.
At the end, Dr. Alice Wong, Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism talked about how important such interfaith gatherings were. She encouraged all the communities to come together and share their experiences with each other to create dialogue.
The program was ended with group photos and best wishes for the future gatherings.