Open­ing a di­a­logue about di­ver­sity

Central Leader - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABA­DIA

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.

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