Opening a dialogue about diversity
Fostering friendship among different cultures is the aim of the Talk to Me International Youth for Peace Conference.
The four-day event uses open space technology and offers cross cultural leadership training; a mystery city tour; and workshops in art, music and creative writing.
Co-organiser Peter Chatteris says the conference in St Heliers will give young people a platform to discuss issues such as integration and religious differences.
‘‘There’s been a huge change in the makeup of New Zealanders. This is about trying to alleviate attitudes of suspicion and fear.’’
Rev Stan Stewart floated the idea last October to commemorate the centenary of St Heliers Church and look to the future.
‘‘At that time ISIS was cutting the heads off men, women and children. It just felt like hate was being generated hugely. I came up with the idea of getting people together as human beings and letting them get to know and respect each other.’’
The event is targeted towards 16 to 30-year-olds and organisers are keen to attract people of all cultures and religions.
Project co-ordinator Dr Anna Storck has a PhD in political science and a master’s degree in European culture and politics.
Receiving cultural leadership training will take young people far, she says.
‘‘You need to have such competence to deal with people in the workplace or in the community who think in another way and have other values.’’
The conference will be held at St Heliers Church from July 3 to 6.
Rev Stan Stewart, Yukari Uetsuki, Peter Chatteris and Dr Anna Storck are organising the Talk to Me Intercultural Youth for Peace Conference.