Bishop Anthony delivers Affinity lecture
|Affinity advisory board member Bishop Kevin Manning received the inaugural award for interfaith dialogue in 2004 from Mehmet Ozalp.|
Catholic Outlook, May 2012
The Affinity Intercultural Foundation was formed by a group of young Australian Muslims in 2000 to meet the needs of the Muslim community in interacting with the greater society along with the needs of the general public to increase its awareness of the Muslim community, its religion and culture.
Affinity’s Co-Founder, Mehmet Saral, said since its foundation Affinity had endeavoured to foster mutual respect, understanding and acceptance. “We have also engendered an appreciation of the richness of our diverse community and helped make this society a model for other communities around the world to emulate.”
Bishop Anthony Fisher OP was invited to deliver the first 2012 Affinity Lecture in the series. His presentation was entitled ‘Reflections on World Youth Day and Challenges for Australian Youth Today’.
On 14 March, a packed room heard Bishop Anthony describe the experience of WYD08 when hundreds of thousands of people joined Pope Benedict XVI in Sydney.
He said the Pope addressed the young people who had travelled from all around the world to be in his presence and listen to his words of advice.
Bishop Anthony vividly recalled the Holy Father’s call to the youth to "treasure the valuable skills, assets and knowledge they have and use it to leave a lasting legacy for the next generation".
This message was one of the many messages Pope Benedict left with the WYD audience as he asked each one of them to challenge themselves to do good for their community and environment.
Bishop Anthony commented on some of the challenges young people face today in the form of drug abuse, not showing reverence to their parents and seniors, and promiscuity.
To the many youth who seek his advice, he has been able to revive within them the awareness of their environment, their existence and their relationship with their creator.
During the Q&A, Bishop Anthony mentioned the importance of engagement with other members of society to broaden their experience so people could learn from each other. He also acknowledged the role Affinity has played in bringing together people of diverse backgrounds.
Through these engagements people are able to broaden their perspective and reflect on their own life experience providing a more expansive view on society.
Executive Director Ahmet Keskin thanked Bishop Anthony for his presentation and echoed the call to action of Pope Benedict to the audience members to leave a positive mark in every person they are in contact with, one that leads them towards goodness and community harmony.
Bishop Manning joins board
Bishop Kevin Manning, Bishop Emeritus of Parramatta, has joined Affinity’s advisory board, which has been established to assist the foundation in its outreach program.
Mehmet Saral said the advisory board offered a wealth of experience. “The board will not only counsel Affinity on new initiatives but will also serve to promote the message of social harmony within society.
“We believe we have a strong line up and we look forward to working with them and our friends for a brighter future.”
Bishop Manning received the inaugural Affinity Award for Interfaith Dialogue in 2004. Other award winners include His Eminence Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney.
The members of Affinity’s advisory board are: Senator Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Jim Mein, Director, Schools Ministry at Uniting Church Board of Education; John Oldmeadow, former Executive Director Uniting Church NSW Synod Board of Education, & current Director of Dromkeen; Peter Manning, academic, producer, author, writer; and Prof Rosemary Johnston, Head of Education at UTS.For further information about Affinity Intercultural Foundation visit: www.affinity.org.au
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