Inspire Dialogue Introductions: Baraa Halabieh
“What makes humanity so beautiful is our multiculturalism… the variety in our colours, cultures and beliefs is what makes us all unique.”
As an asylum-seeker in the UK, I am one of the ‘strangers’ coming here from the Middle-East. So the question that I ask is: how can we reduce the fear and suspicion that all of us have about strangers? I think the first thing is that we should all start asking ourselves questions. What do we know about these people? Why are they coming here? What are they looking for? What do we know about their culture and their history? Are there any points of commonality between our history and theirs? Many people, when trying to find answers, go to the media, but the media focus on just a part of the truth to support their own agendas. But when we start researching by ourselves, we discover truths which can be unexpected, or even shocking. For instance, we might find out that the patron saint of England, St George, was born in Turkey to a Syrian mother. Another fact, which I discovered only recently, is that the Roman Empire used 500 archers from my home city in Syria, Hama, to protect Hadrian’s Wall in England.
The second point is that I believe we need to start conversations. In every city, in every community, there is a stranger, someone whom we could look at as ‘another’, and this is the best way to break the ice. When you start a conversation, within the first five minutes you quickly discover that this person is bright, talented, educated, just like you. We all have the same dreams, the same fears – and one of the fears we as asylum-seekers have is not being accepted here and of being judged for the actions of a minority, in which we did not participate.
What makes humanity so beautiful is our multiculturalism. There is no pure race: the variety in our colours, cultures and beliefs is what makes us all unique. There is so much more which unites us than divides us.
Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge
“When we go out and encounter others, we are asking for something that is not already there to come alive in us”read more
United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
“Most of these people do not need money, but they need somebody that they can have a conversation with.”read more
Senior Director of Law and Policy for Amnesty International
“The stranger or ‘the other’ is a notion that we construct in our quest for a resource. In reality, there is no ‘other’…”read more
“How do we have a dialogue with someone who is fifty years away from inhabiting this earth? This leads to considerations of inter-generational responsibility”read more
Brendan Simms and Alison Liebling
“We were criticised and ridiculed by other professional groups for coming into a maximum security prison with the word ‘trust’ in mind.”read more
Lord Rowan Williams
“To be able to imagine that things don’t have to be as they are is perhaps one of the most important things that human beings ever do.”read more
David Apthorp praises the Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque in Istanbul
“Standing here, before the plain, unadorned mihrab, it as if one has been brought to some ultimate secret.”read more
Dr Vasileios Basios talks to Jane Clark and Michael Cohen about new ideas in science
“I think we have to come back to considering the ancient concept of the ‘great chain of being’ – that somehow consciousness manifests itself from the rock to the plant to the human being.”read more
Vin Harris talks about the life of a remarkable man
“The purpose is not to preserve traditions for their own sake, but because they are of value to a world which desperately needs to be reminded of the vital importance of kindness and compassion.”read more
Elizabeth Roberts talks to Dr. Sunil Joshi
“There is a natural intelligence that is flowing through each tissue, each cell of the body, making a beautiful connection between your mind, your soul, your senses and your physical body.”
Charlotte Maberly on the new science of Gastronomy
“If we get food ‘right’, solutions to the majority of our current global crises will follow.”read more
Etel Adnan in conversation with David Hornsby and Jane Clark
“What we call love is a relationship that never ends; it is like a wave that keeps bringing you back to it, so we are like surfers who run after the perfect experience.”read more
Graham Falvey visits the Chauvet Caves in Southern France.
“The fundamental fact is that with these paintings, we created/discovered art. At the heart of their mystery lies a spiritual quest for understanding…”read more
By Jim Griffin
“There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy.”read more
Richard Gault on technology and our relationship to time.
“Lewis Mumford designated the clock as the most critical invention for our civilisation.”read more
A Conversation with Prof. George Pattison
“Mysticism is not necessarily something weird or wonderful: it consists of a certain kind of attention to reality in all its facets.”read more