Meeting Farah Pandith

Although Reach Out is primarily all about youth powered social and community based work, we also want to work towards gelling together people of different cultures and religions in Sri Lanka. One way is through inter-religious/cultural forum discussions; here, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, people of whatever beliefs, are encouraged to share the roots and content of their different cultures and lifestyles with each other, and learn. How else can a society grow unless you really understand why your neighbor wears the clothes he wears or does the things he does? And honestly, we’re just sick of everyone fighting because they have different opinions; we’re all different, the world is diverse, and it would suck if it wasn’t. So live with it, listen, and broaden your mind.

Next week we’ll be taking a step forward in learning more about Sri Lankan and World Muslim issues, and it’ll hopefully be a string of steps in culture and religion based work to come.

Farah Pandith is the first ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the United States Department of State. She was appointed to this position on June 23, 2009 by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and sworn in by Secretary Clinton at a ceremony at the State Department in the same year.

We at Reach Out will be meeting her next Friday, on the 19th of November, to discuss Muslims in Sri Lanka. It’s totally overwhelming that we – a less-than-one-year-old organization, of mostly young students and budding career women – are going to meet someone who’s actually met Hillary Clinton let alone the President of the United States! Big whoop.

The forum’s going to try to gauge the opinions of young Sri Lankan Muslims and Farah probably wants an idea of how everything’s running with Muslims here. We’ll be doing a little homework before the forum, about what kind of stuff we can discuss – but if you’ve got any suggestions on topics related to Sri Lankan Muslims that you think we should raise at the forum, call us (click About in the top right corner of the page for contact details).

Farah Pandith’s obviously been to so many countries, talked to people of different cultures and dealt with many issues, so there’s no doubt that there’s a whole lot we can learn from her. What’s going on with Muslims and attitudes towards Muslims in the rest of the world? We can’t wait to find out.

This forum was arranged by the American Center (down the road to Galle Face), and they’ll be organizing an inter-religion forum soon too, attended by an expert who’s well versed with religions and religious issues around the world. We’re guessing it’ll focus on cultural and social issues of religious communities and how they can work together.

We’ll keep you updated on what happens there and with Farah next week.
Peace!

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