Arab, Kurdish and Yazidi scholars, poets, artists and activists from across Europe gathered at the Brussels Branch of the Churches of Scientology for Europe in July to bridge cultural differences and increase understanding among those of the Arab diaspora and their European colleagues.
The program began with a fine arts and heritage exhibit featuring the Arabic calligraphy of professors Maher Aziz from Sint-Truiden and Arif Mahmoud from Verviers, and painting and graphics by French artist Manal Thebian. The artists were on hand to answer questions and describe their work and inspiration.
Myriam Zonnekeyn, Belgian spokesperson for the Churches of Scientology for Europe, welcomed the guests on behalf of the Church.
The cultural forum opened with a speech by Muhammad Al-Shammari, president of the C.C.E.A.M., the Euro Arab Council Center for Multiculturalism, who presented a film providing a visual overview of the cultures of the region beginning with ancient Mesopotamia.
“Harmony and understanding for mankind no matter the color, religion or race,” was the message of the program. “Now more than ever, peace and unconditional love is needed for all living things on this planet.”
Interazione (Interaction), an Italian interfaith organization, presented its work to foster communication and cooperation in Sardinia. They use The Way to Happiness, the nonreligious common-sense moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard, and promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to cultivate respect, brotherhood and peace.
Dr. Mohamad Doreid, a founding member of the European-Arab Centre for Multiculturalism from the University of Cagliari, Italy, spoke of the need to create paths of cultural mediation by connecting European universities in diverse Mediterranean countries.
Dr. Maroun Karam, representative of the Maronite Central Council in Europe, and Dr. Eya Essif, Secretary General of the United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation (an NGO with Special Consultative Status to the UN ECOSOC), spoke of creating channels of peace and cooperation through multiculturalism.
The Forum strengthened the conviction of those attending that multicultural communication, understanding and cooperation unites people regardless of their nationalities, countries of origin, cultural roots, or religions. And it is the key to cooperation and peace.
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