Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI) GTA joined forces with the Children’s Aid Society of York Region and the York Region District School Board to organize a panel discussion during an Iftar dinner on May 23.

Bringing together some 100 Muslim and non-Muslim Canadians in the York region as part its annual “Intercultural Ramadan Friendship Dinner” series, IDI GTA provided a venue to discuss trauma-sourced problems, one of the fundamental issues affecting various sectors including education and business.

Titled “Being a Trauma-Informed Organization,” the panel was hosted by Michael Bowe from the Children’ Aid Society of York Region at Bayview Secondary School in Richmond Hill.

“Each one of us has experienced trauma in different ways,” Vidya Shah, one of the panellists who works as an assistant professor at York University’s Faculty of Education said. According to Shah, four I’s of the trauma are as follows: Ideological, Interpersonal, Internalized, Institutional.

Ideas and beliefs can often be a problem in the sense that children get traumatized when they can’t achieve a particular goal they are tasked with, she said, furthering her example in the education sector to explain the interpersonal source of the trauma: “Educators may interact with parents with an assumption about the level of their competencies and care.” This causes problems very often, she said.

A much larger problem is what traumatic message people get from their surroundings and the world itself, Shah elaborated on the internalization of the problem and continued: “As per the institutional dimension, certain dress-codes can be traumatic for some.

” Vidoll Regisford of Puralotor Inc also spoke at the panel, giving examples on the issue from the business sector. Replying to question by a teacher on how to deal with superiors without seeming like a problem-maker if superiors are the ones who inflict trauma, Regisford said “taking a position always means taking a risk. Let’s accept this first.” He went on to say that those who want to stand up against traumatic relations must be courageous.

Every year, IDI GTA hosts a series of community Iftar (fast-breaking) dinners during the month of Ramadan. Iftar dinners bring together people of various faith and ethno-cultural backgrounds and serve as a means of building dialogue and cross-cultural awareness. They address various topics related to common teachings and values in different faith traditions and cultures. A centrepiece of the event is a panel discussion or a keynote address by those with relevant expertise with regards to a pressing/relevant matter of discourse. Guests of the series include civic and community leaders, York Region employees/administrators, public and Catholic board educators/administrators, faith leaders, professionals from different human services sectors (e.g. child welfare, children mental health, public health, etc.), as well as, foster parents and their families and community, members/families.