After the end of the Community Café Dialogues 2012 PaCSIA has started another series of community cafés, this time in co-operation with Griffith University Multi-Faith Centre. So far we have facilitated three community cafés with a strong context on interfaith dialogue. The first one brought together students from Griffith University and others to dialogue about the relationship between faith and social justice. The second dialogue was organised in conjunction with GUESS, the Griffith University Sri Lankan student group. After the government of Sri Lanka claimed victory over the LTTE in 2009 Sri Lanka is in the middle of a peacebuilding and reconciliation process. This also impacts on Sri Lankan diaspora members living in Australia. The community café brought together Sri Lankan students, academics, community members and other interested people to discuss individual and collective views on the peace process. Participants were enthusiastic to discuss their ideas and concerns with each other in the safe and respectful environment of the Multi-Faith Centre. This dialogue will continue later in the year.
The most recent Interfaith Community Café was held on 17 October 2012. Senior members of Queensland Police Service (QPS), including the current Commissioner Bob Atkinson and the incoming Commissioner Ian Stewart met with Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Hare Krishna faith leaders and community members to discuss relationships between community and QPS. The advantage of the community café method for such an event is the opportunity for many in-depth conversations to happen at the same time and for participants to build relationships without having to represent their constituencies in a large group. Participants welcomed this opportunity and suggested that the dialogues continue.
More information on the Interfaith Community Cafés is available on the Griffith Multi-Faith Centre Facebook page.