Community Leaders' Iftar Dinner 2017
University of Wollongong, Affinity Intercultural Foundation Wollongong and Amity College host 5th annual Iftar dinner.
The University of Wollongong (UOW), Affinity Intercultural Foundation Wollongong (AIFW) and Amity College co-hosted their 5th annual Iftar dinner, at the UOW’s Innovation Campus on Monday 19th June. The event provided a platform to bring together community leaders from all backgrounds, cultures and religions, along with a number of teachers, principals and lecturers. The evening offering an opportunity to celebrate diversity and promote social harmony in our community.
Iftar is the meal eaten after sunset during Sawm, the fasting that occurs during the holy month of Ramadan. Iftar meals are also a symbol of friendship, understanding and social harmony. The event brought together over 140 community leaders from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Through the simple act of sharing a meal, attendees were able to learn from one another and strengthen connections and friendships.
With guests coming together in the spirit of understanding, the Iftar dinner provided an opportunity for attendees to reflect on the core universal values that unite as all, as well as recognise our differences as a source of strength. Ahmet Polat, Executive Director of Affinity Intercultural Foundation said that these conversations contribute to a better community, society and ultimately a better humanity. While Iftar dinners have traditionally been shared between Muslim families, Bilal Aydemir, General Manager of AIFW stated that Affinity is proud to open these dinners to the wider community. “Fasting is not only found in all the major traditions but being a peaceful meal, it has the ability to really bring people together from all walks of life. With the aim of breaking down barriers, overcoming prejudices and misconceptions, it creates an atmosphere of understanding and learning where anything can be discussed, from religion to politics, to how to overcome some of society’s common problems… simply by sharing a meal” Mr Aydemir said.
Dr Melissa Thompson, UOW’s Community Engagement Manager said that UOW is proud to continue to host an annual campus Iftar Dinner as part of the University's commitment to welcome all cultural and religious backgrounds, in the spirit of understanding. It is a reminder of the strength of our community and we hope this event provides an opportunity for a celebration of diversity and social harmony. We look forward to strengthening connections and building new friendships, learning from each other and reflecting on the core universal values that unite us all". UOW alumnus, Abdullah Aksu praised UOW for teaming up with AIFW and Amity College to promote cultural diversity, harmony and understanding.