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By Vinita Kinra

June 18, 2015: Aurora Cultural Centre was abuzz with activity to mark the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. The host was Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI), a pioneer in bridging cultural chasms by uniting community leaders from a diverse array of faiths to enhance mutual respect, understanding and appreciation between Canada’s multicultural mosaic of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Bahai and many others.

The Iftar party venue was the historic 1886 heritage building, formerly a Public School, beautifully restored as Aurora Cultural Centre that offers a wide range of inspiring artistic, music and heritage programs.

The speaker for the evening was Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Vice Provost of Aboriginal Initiatives at Lakehead University. She spoke on Truth and Reconciliation: The Canadian Experience and shared her perspective on the traumatic experiences suffered by native Indians caught in the Residential School System that operated from the 1880s into the closing decades of the 20th century.

Other highlights included engaging speeches by local mayors and MPPs; enchanting reed flute performance; delicious buffet-style dinner washed off with special Turkish coffee; and an entertaining presentation on the reasons behind fasting and purification of mind, body and soul.

All in all, a hugely successful event boasting communal harmony, cross-cultural camaraderie, and exchange of vibrant ideas between the rich tapestries of Canadians.

Interview with Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux published on The Auroran: