New student organization to promote through dialogue

Lauren McQueen, Staff Reporter

A group of Eastern students founded a new multicultural Registered Student Organization dedicated to peace and dialogue earlier this semester.

Esranur Aslan, a clinical mental health counseling graduate student, is the founding president of the organization, titled the Intercultural Dialogue Association.

Omer Topaloglu, the faculty advisor, said Aslan and a group of students approached him about forming the RSO.

“I have organized annual meetings and given seminars and talks regarding intercultural dialogue, tolerance and understanding,” Topaloglu said. “That’s why I was extremely excited to help these students form a new RSO dedicated to promote peace and dialogue among the people of different backgrounds.”

The organization is aimed to provide a forum for intercultural dialogue where individuals from different cultures, faiths, ethnicities, ages, etc. can get together, learn about one another and discuss matters of common concern, according to the RSO’s webpage.

The association will also attempt to promote respect and tolerance for cultural and religious differences in the Eastern community.

The group will organize lectures, seminars, meetings, foreign language classes, cooking classes, field trips, interfaith discussions, food, music, and dance festivals to increase cross-cultural understanding.

Topaloglu said the RSO wants to provide a peaceful atmosphere in which people can discuss common concerns without making others uncomfortable or trying to impose a personal agenda.

“Today, most of the social struggles in our community and society at large stem from the fact that individuals are quick to make a judgment about others, yet slow to extend their hand to make a connection,” Topaloglu said. “In essence, our common ground is much more than our differences and IDA aims to bridge people of diverse upbringings and make a case for shared values.”

During the fall 2014 semester, IDA will host a four-week long cooking class.

Since the approval for the new RSO came late in the semester, the group has postponed some of their activities until the spring 2015 semester.

For the spring, the group has planned free Turkish classes, cooking classes and an interfaith panel to carry on its activities at Eastern.

 

Lauren McQueen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]