Diverse Traditions. Shared Values.

This is the second year I've attended the "Dialog & Friendship Dinner" hosted by the Multicultural Arch Foundation. It's quickly become an annual tradition for the interfaith roundtable NCCJ community organizer Humanities Prof set. Multicultural Arch was started in Salt Lake City in 2004 by our Turkish Muslim community "as a non-profit organization with a mission to promote mutual understanding, respect, appreciation and cooperation among communities of diverse backgrounds in the Salt Lake Area through extending hospitality, raising awareness of different cultures and faiths, providing moral leadership, and offering educational opportunities." There is a theme for each dinner, held annually during the holy month of Ramadan, and this year's theme was "Diverse Traditions, Shared Values." Last year the theme was "Respecting the Sacred."

In addition to religiously and culturally diverse speakers (this year Baha'i, LDS/Mormonism, and Islam were represented), they have artistic performances unique to Turkey and/or the Middle East in general. Last year we saw a woman marble paper, an art known in Turkish as Ebru. This year there was a calligraphy performance as well as a musical number with a Ney (reed flute). The Ney is the instrument of choice for Sufi or Mystic Islam and is incredibly hypnotic. I absolutely loved seeing it played live. Before the event the calligrapher wrote everyone's name as represented on the RSVP list and we all received a 5x7 note card, made to look like papyrus, with this gorgeous script. How thoughtful is that? Last year we all took home a bit of marbled paper.

My favorite thing about this event is the hopeful spirit that everyone brings to the room. It is not a fundraising event and yet we are treated to a three course meal at the Hilton City Centre, no cheap feat. The foundation asks for nothing more than an RSVP and they give a full night of entertainment and fascinating conversation. I leave this event each year a better person.

(I'll update this post with photos from this year's event as soon as they update their website)

The Duke of Earl in the D.C. Metro

Capturing The Moment