On October 24th, 2010 approximately 150 influential people from the bay area came together in the Hall of Cities at the Marriot Hotel in Santa Clara for the 4th Annual Dialog and Friendship Dinner hosted by the Pacifica Institute.  Political figures, academia from local colleges and universities and religious leaders from various faiths came together to discuss the importance of intercultural, interfaith dialog.  The night started with a welcome message from the president of the Pacifica Institute, followed by dinner and a very inspirational speech given by Dr. Jannah Scott, the Deputy Director from the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives of the Department of Homeland Security.

Dr. Jannah Scott’s reflections centered on how President Obama’s priorities for interfaith dialog and cooperation are manifested through strategic initiatives in federal government, with an emphasis on Homeland Security, and how these efforts align with the Pacifica Institute’s priorities of service or “hizmet.”   Dr. Scott outlined President Obama’s three priorities to strengthen the nation as:  1) interfaith dialogue, 2) service and 3) engaging our youth. She pointed out that these three priorities match closely with Pacifica Institute’s goals and motivations.  Dr. Scott also eloquently pointed out that “we must realize that our strength comes from unity and not from division.”
Following the keynote speech, the guests of the 4th Annual Dialog and Friendship Dinner were captivated by a live Anatolian Music Performance.  Finally, the night wrapped up with a round table discussion in which guests talked amongst themselves.  In conclusion, some food for thought that came up during the round table discussion… We must “value diversity rather than just tolerate it.”