Sir Martin Luther King had once said “People fail to get along with each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other. They don’t know each other because they have not properly communicated with each other”. The discussions hosted the first and second sessions of “Forum for ONE”, bear testimony to the reality of these wise words. The idea sharing platform was indeed a great opportunity to create awareness among ourselves about the social concern of conflicts between different groups of individuals. The productiveness of the sessions was also a motivation to continue these discussions, and so we decided to host a third session of the series of discussions.
Accepting our invitation for the third session of “Forum for ONE”, Rotaractors from the Rotaract Club of University of Colombo, Faculty of Management & Finance joined us for a discussion on the 22nd of October 2018 at the Royal College Skills Center. “What are the factors that create different groups in our society?” was our first question, to kick start the forum that day and the responses proposed by those gathered for discussion included language, religious beliefs, lifestyles and education. Though simple, the answers for the question proved that it was a good opener to challenge us to rethink as to why there is diversity in our society. “Are these differences or divisions beneficial to us? Or should we bridge the gap between different groups? Is there a difference in the way in which different generations react to social problems?” were questions that followed, leading the gathering to a brainstorming session on the topic at hand. It was certainly rewarding to hear the vivid ideas that were presented to the house that day, as many shared their views on the questions that were raised, citing even their personal experiences.
Differences which do not involve discrimination is healthy diversity in society; Mutual understanding among individuals about this diversity is an essential element for the existence of such a diverse society; The keen interest of the modern day youth to interact with different individuals irrespective of differences among them is a positive aspect of society that promotes such understanding; The willingness of individuals to welcome new comers to their circle of acquaintances and supporting them to build a bond with his or her new community is a trait that each of us should possess if we are to contribute to the strive of creating a society where diversity co-exists; were the key learning of the third session of “Forum for ONE” held that evening and proved to be a Community Service effort which was not in vain.
By Rtr. Dinithi Warnasuriya