News Story

Sydney Youth Gather for First Intercultural Youth Dialogue Event 

Youth members of Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined together recently to host the first 2017 Intercultural Youth Dialogue event in Sydney.  This is a continuing series of events aimed at fostering intercultural and interfaith communication among young people through the sharing of thoughts and ideas on topics that are of common interest such as building relationships, communication skills, and healthy lifestyles.

n 2016, members of the Latter-day Saint community worked with Soka Gakkai International (a Buddhist organisation) to establish Intercultural Youth Dialogue through quarterly gatherings. This event has attracted young people who are eager to connect, share ideas and perspectives, and most importantly, build strong relationships together. The purpose of the initiative is to build deep and long- lasting friendships amongst youth through dialogue. 


As the events are not outcome driven and do not endorse any particular faith or belief system, young people can speak openly about topics that are relevant to them all in contemporary society, leading to genuine and lasting relationships.

The most recent event on April 29 was held at the SGI Centre in Sydney Olympic Park. The focus of the dialogue was “Pursuit of Happiness”. It included a multicultural and interfaith panel followed by small group discussions.  Panel member Rooan Al Kalmashi commented, “Forgetting…an emptying out of hearts and minds of so called toxic elements of those ideals and goals that might be contaminated by the material world. Hence such pursuits of happiness and joy require the absence of things, not their acquisitions.”  

In the small group discussions, participant Matthew Daly shared his perspective on the topic, remarking, “Our social tapestry cannot exist without embracing the different colours as well as the common threads that hold it together. The pursuit of happiness is universal and has no set path, but family is defined as a group who strive for a common goal and build relationships because expanded family means an expansion of pathways to happiness.” 


A wide variety of cultures, backgrounds and faiths were represented with more than 50 participants in attendance. Jason Callaghan-Barrett, a man who has attended past events commented, "The people are very pleasant to be around and are friendly. The subjects discussed are very interesting for me. I feel like there’s a lot of value up for grabs in these events and I’m glad that I’ve decided to come to them.”

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