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Thursday, May 5, 2011

MEDIA - Intercultural Dialogue Organization shows love

The Kentucky Kernel

Intercultural Dialogue Organization shows love

For decades, many organizations at UK have focused on reaching out to the student population by promoting positive missions throughout the school year.

In 2006, the Intercultural Dialogue Organization has been successful with their mission to promote respect and love toward all cultures, backgrounds and religions.
The organization was founded by Mehmet Saracoglu, a graduate research assistant in the mining engineering departing, with the help from Peter Berres, a former professor in the College of Health Science.
The Intercultural Dialogue Organization begun after Saracoglu and Berres went on a trip to Turkey and met several people to learn similarities, differences and how to solve problems within cultures.
Saragoclu thought it would be a good idea to form an organization based on understanding the similarities and differences on diversity, faiths and improving different communities.
The issues discussed within this organization are existing issues that could make the world a better place, according to Saraglo.
The Intercultural Dialogue Organization has been open to all backgrounds, and the students and members work together to also give back to the community.
“I appreciate IDO because it is a vital organization that allowed me to form a personal bond with different individuals, and I was able to look at people beyond the personal stereotypes,” future IDO member Alysha Lewis, senior Agriculture Biotech major, said.
“The members in this organization have volunteered at different functions like Dance Blue and organizations like God’s Pantry,” Saracoglu said.
All the hard work and dedication to make the world a better place paid off when the Intercultural Dialogue Organization’s president, Saracoglu received his first award, the President`s Commission on Diversity award in Student category, in 2007.
Recently, Saracoglu received the MLK Spirit Award on behalf of the organization at its 4th Annual Dialogue Dinner on April 14.
The Annual Dialogue Dinners are yearly banquets that are held to stimulate thinking and exchange opinions on supporting democracy and peace all over the world over a well prepared dinner.
The Dialogue Dinner is open to students, government and city officials and people not related to UK.
“After I attending the Dialogue Dinner I felt that it was an event that all students should experience, to hear different perspectives about existing issues in the world,” Maurisha Ross, Agriculture Communications senior, said.
This formal dinner is sponsored by Rumi Forum, whose mission is to foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue.
According to Saragoclu, some inspirational speakers from different religions and cultures travel from all over to speak at the Dialogue Dinners.
This year Sitki Ozcan, director of policy studies at Georgetown College, spoke at the Dialogue Dinner.
In 2009, Mark Swanson, Lutheran Seminary from Chicago, spoke about “A Common Word,” which means “love God and love neighbor.”
Members of IDO are planning for the next Dialogue Dinner that will be based on the Ramadan.
“The potential speakers may be the Ambassador of the U.S. and Turkey and some government officials,” Saracoglu said.

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