3rd Peace and Dialogue Iftar Dinner

3rd Peace and Dialogue Iftar Dinner
Boston Dialogue Foundation of Revere, MA, in collaboration with Public Conversations Project, Follen Community Church, The Center For Jewish-Muslim Relations, and United Parish Church, hosted its 3rd Annual Peace and Dialogue Iftar Dinner on October 15, 2005. Over 200 people from dynamically diverse backgrounds packed The Dante Alighieri Center in Cambridge, where the event was held, for a night of sharing, understanding, and dialogue. During Ramadan when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, Iftar Dinner is the evening meal that ends the daily fast, and is usually shared with family, friends, and neighbors in the spirit of thanks and generosity.
The atmosphere was crackling with curiosity, enthusiasm, and hope, as individuals from varied religious, cultural, and age groups mingled and interacted. Indeed, this year marked the Foundation’s most successful Dinner to date with over 68 religious and cultural groups represented by speakers, guests, and award recipients.
The evening began with a formal welcome by Carin Yasli, Boston Dialogue Foundation’s Operations and Public Relations Coordinator. Guests were seated by reservation at tables where individuals from different beliefs and backgrounds were purposefully seated next to one another, ensuring the maximum possibility of interfaith and intercultural interaction. The soft and tranquil sound of the Moroccan Ney, a traditional wooden flute, was played by local musician Bujmnaa Razgui while guests helped themselves to buffet tables full of varied dishes such as stuffed grape leaves, roasted lamb, spiced chicken, rice, salads, and Middle Eastern and Turkish delicacies.
The speakers for the evening, Charlie Radin, Sandy Seltzer, Bob Pasmino, and Johannah Segarich, presented their views of interfaith and intercultural dialogue after dinner. All of the speakers not only reminded the participants about the importance of and urgent need for education and dialogue, but also about the need for constructive community and individual action as well as fostering open channels of communication.
Special guest speaker Johannah Segarich, a professor of music at Middlesex Community College, asked the audience to think about how to move forward to develop more proactive ways of dialogue and understanding, and to sincerely try to cast away prejudices and misconceptions and to be productive instead of passive. She reminded everyone that making a difference and most importantly making an effort to bring people together in the hopes of fostering peace and community may not be easy, but it is vitally necessary in our country and in the world today.
An awards ceremony ended the evening in an enjoyable and spirited way. Clara Wainwright, Mary Lahaj, Lucinda Duncan, and Janet Penn were awarded for their assiduous efforts of promoting peace through dialogue.
As guests exited the event, each one re-sounded their feelings of satisfaction and hope and it was evident that sentiments of joy and inspiration were flowing after such a unique and inspiring evening. Boston Dialogue Foundation looks forward to an even more successful and heartwarming event next year and that each guest will return for the 4th Annual Peace & Dialogue Iftar Dinner.15Oct05_3 15Oct05_6 15Oct05_1 15Oct05_2