Deakin University in collaboration with AIS Iftar and Gulen Chair Signing

Deakin University; in collaboration with Australian Intercultural Society and the Deakin University Student Islamic Society; hosted its fourth Iftar dinner at the Deakin University Melbourne City Centre on Tuesday 14 July 2015. 88 invited guests including Deakin staff and students; community; civic and business leaders came together for the breaking of the Ramadan fast; a key dimension of the Islamic faith.

The evening’s master of ceremonies was Alfred Deakin Professor Fethi Mansouri; from Deakin University. Suleyman Sertkaya gave the call to prayer and recited several verses from the Quran; and a welcome speech was presented by Vice- Chancellor of Deakin University Professor Jane den Hollander who spoke of Deakin’s commitment to promoting a harmonious multi-cultural society and realising the benefits of connection and the exchange of ideas.

Guest speakers included Mr Ahmad Haris Saleem president of the Islamic society of Deakin University and Professor the Honourable David De Krester former Governor of Victoria and Fellow of the Royal Australasian Collage of Physicans. Professor the Honourable David De Krester’s wonderful keynote address  focussing on the idea that all faith share a belief in God while the pathways may be different if we can recognise and respect the commonality we could remove prejudices and move towards harmony.

The highlight of the evening was the official signing of the partnership to establish the Fethullah Gulen Chair at Deakin University this is a significant initiative that will assist in developing “the foundations of true dialogue where people of different traditions and beliefs get the opportunity to know one another and work together towards the ideal of living in peace together”; said Fethullah Gulen on the announcement that the Chair would be named in his honour. The endowed Chair reflects the growing strategic partnership between Deakin University; the Australian Intercultural Society and the Selimiye Foundation.

Later on; audience members had the opportunity to share their reflections on the night’s program. Jane Lewis from Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human rights commission suggested that social cohesion is one of language we need to move always from being tolerant and moving towards acceptance; understanding; welcome and inclusion.

At the end of the evening; Mr Ahmet Keskin Executive Director of AISgave the vote of thanks followed by an exchange of gifts.

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