Campus News

Diversity and Understanding Take Center Stage

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 12, 2009)The University of Kentucky student organization, Interfaith Dialogue Organization (IDO), presented its fourth annual Dialogue Dinner recently at the University of Kentucky.

"The purpose of the dinner is to bring community and university together to promote religious and cultural diversity," said Mehmet Saracoglu, UK graduate student and president of IDO.

In 2006, IDO was established at UK as a nonprofit student organization by students from different religions and cultures to promote dialogue, friendship, understanding, diversity, compassion, respect and love toward fellow human beings by sharing cultures and spiritual traditions of the world's great religions.

During a special ceremony, IDO presented the 2009 Rumi Peace Award as well as its third annual Interfaith Dialogue's Excellence Awards (IDEAs) to those who contributed to dialogue, better understanding and cultural diversity at the university and in the community.

The campus IDEA was presented to UK HealthCare, while the community IDEA went to Mohamed Nasser for the Christian-Muslim Dialogue Group. The family of Pat Smith, victim of the crash of Flight 519, received the 2009 Rumi Peace Award as a commemoration for their extensive community work.

IDO`s 2009 Dialogue Dinner is organized in cooperation and with the continuous support of Rumi Forum from Washington, D.C. The Rumi Forum was founded in 1999 with the mission to foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue, stimulate thinking and exchange of opinions on supporting and fostering democracy and peace all over the world and to provide a common platform for education and information exchange.

After presenting the Rumi Peace Award to the Smith family, Emre Celik, president of Rumi Forum, addressed those gathered for the IDO dinner, which included city and state government officials, administrators and faculty from UK and other local colleges and universities, and leaders of other community organizations.

The keynote address, “Transforming Global Education: The Gulen Movement and Religious Peacebuilding,” was presented by Jon Pahl, professor of the history of Christianity in North America at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.