Make a World of Difference!

Consider that visiting friends is a necessary custom, whatever they are, on foot, or mounted.  And if it be an enemy, this act of kindness is still good, for many an enemy by kindness becomes a friend.  And even if he does not become a friend, his enmity is lessened, since kindness is a salve to enmity.  Besides these, there are many advantages in visiting, but I am fearful of prolixity, good friend.  The sum and substance is this: Be the friend of all.  Like an idol-maker carve out a friend from stone because the multitude and concourse of a caravan will break the backs and spears of highway robbers.  — Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273)
by Helen Spector
World Parliament Board of Trustees

On July 26, a hot, sunny Sunday, 112 people from many faiths and perspectives and 5 counties (plus one from Spokane and one from Tennessee!) gathered to engage with each other in conversations that matter about strengthening our regional community.

Participants learned about the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions event in December. They then turned to each other around small tables to share stories and learn from each other about one of the major program themes that will be considered in Melbourne:  Strengthening Social Cohesion in Village and City.

Using the World Café process, people from 15 to 91 years of age shared what inspires us, how we connect with people different from our selves, and what gives us hope for strengthening our community in the region.   Supported by great refreshments, we engaged in three conversations with different people each time, making new connections, strengthening existing relationships, and learning from each other.

At the end of the day, the whole group created a mural of what gives us hope in our region, for our ambassadors to the Parliament will take to Melbourne to share with thousands coming from around the world during the weeklong event. The mural will return home as the centerpiece of our Post-Parliament event, February 21, 2010.

You will find a selection of photographs from our event at We also hope to post this album to the web page for future reference and for those in other cities to get a taste of our Portland-Vancouver Pre-Parliament event. You can download pictures from the gallery, including a good photo of the mural we created. Thanks to Lynne Taylor and Gwen Barnard for the great photos.

Plan to attend the Post-Parliament event and bring friends! Check often at the Portland/Vancouver Parliament web page to see developing plans for the Melbourne Parliament and for our February 21, 2010 Post-Parliament event plans as they develop!