Monday, December 21, 2015

Calgary, Nov. 19, 2015 — Janyce Konkin, IofC’s Regional Coordinator of Programs in Alberta took two of IofC’s key messages to an audience of 150 gathered at the Hyatt Regency Hotel here for a conference on Calgary’s future.

One of these was “Building Trust Across the World’s Divides.” Emphasizing the difference between ‘tolerance’ and ‘acceptance’, she challenged them to “be bold – to explore different communities, to talk to new people in your own environment; to really take an interest in what works for you; embrace something new from an immigrant community you know little about, or that you have always made assumptions about.” 

IofC introduced as partner in community building

Janyce Konkin (IofC Canada Regional Coordinator - Alberta) with Malik Muradov, Executive Director of the Intercultural Dialogue InstituteJanyce was a panelist at a conference entitled Calgary 2020: Responsible Citizens Looking Into the Future. Organized by Calgary’s Intercultural Dialogue Institute, with IofC as an organizational partner, the event -- which ended with a gala friendship dinner -- was one of the highlights of the Institute’s calendar for 2015.

The conference explored the future of Calgary as a cohesive, harmonious community and examined various tools for reaching that goal. IofC was presented to the audience as a “partner in community building.” Participants also had an opportunity to learn more about IofC through the IofC display table in the foyer.

Speaking on the subject of “Building Cohesive Society: Responsibilities of Equal Association,” Janyce shared personal stories from her local work of community building. She referred to the feeling of emptiness many people report when they experience a lack of connection to their community, their families and to their specific immigrant group.

Change starts with the individual

The other IofC concept that Janyce highlighted was the belief that change must start with the individual. “If each one of us will take the initiative to change ourselves first, then the world around us will change also,” she concluded. We will build a community of common values, equal worth and respect. We become a better, healthier, safer, more dynamic society.” 

During the discussion period that followed the panelists’ presentations, Janyce’s call to be bold was answered by the many commitments that participants made to learn more about other ethnic groups and to welcome refugees to Calgary.


Image: Janyce Konkin (IofC Canada Regional Coordinator - Alberta) with Malik Muradov, Executive Director of the Intercultural Dialogue Institute