Their View: Promoting cultural respect, understanding

It was one of those beautiful autumn days in State College. The weather was perfect for an outdoor activity, and every tone of green, yellow and brown could be seen in the trees around the park.

On the third Sunday of September, Interfaith Initiative Centre County had organized an Interfaith Peace and Friendship Picnic at Sunset Park. People from different spiritual backgrounds not only shared their delicious foods with each other but also shared their thoughts, memories and blessings.

I had such a wonderful time!

For guests at IICC events, the atmosphere is always inviting, warm and friendly with great food if provided. This always reminds me of some events that are sponsored by the Turkish Cultural Center of State College.

The TCC organizes a variety of events in town throughout the year. Everything from coffee nights, friendship dinners, Ramadan dinner tents and discussion panels along with Thanksgiving eve dinners have been and continue to be organized for the diverse State College community. Among these, some events particularly come to the fore.

Coffee nights are benchmark events for TCC. A taste of Turkish experience in a nice, comfortable setting is the motto for the night. Each coffee night is special with its unique theme. For example, an ancient historic place in Turkey may be the theme for a coffee night (such as Troy, Cappadocia, Ephesus or Istanbul), and it is introduced with a short presentation.

This information is shared with a nice variety of Turkish food and Turkish coffee. Live Turkish music and some Turkish art demonstrations are some other cultural portions of this event.

By the way, serving delicious food is part of Turkish hospitality. Thus, guests are expected to come with an empty stomach.

Another well-anticipated event that TCC puts together is the Ramadan dinner tents; the first one was organized in July as a street fair on Locust Lane. It was a small taste of the Ramadan fast-breaking experience for people from different religions.

Many people from different parts of the community attended to experience this cultural and spiritual event. This diverse group included undergraduates, graduate students and professors from Penn State, community leaders and people from the borough.

All of these exciting events were held by volunteers to achieve the same goals as Interfaith Initiative Centre County: promoting respect, understanding, cooperation and friendship among people with different cultural and spiritual backgrounds.

Moreover, TCC is aimed at building and fostering strong and lasting friendships among the individuals of the community and those of Turkish background and origin.

If you receive an invitation from TCC or IICC, give us a chance and come to one of these events to enjoy warm, welcoming hospitality and delicious Turkish and American foods.

The next event co-sponsored by the Turkish Cultural Center and Interfaith Initiative Centre County is “Gratitude to God,” an Abrahamic table panel discussion, at 7:30 p.m. at the State College Friends School gym, 1900 University Drive, State College. Participants include Rabbi David Ostrich, of Congregation Brit Shalom; the Rev. Marvin Friesen of University Mennonite Church; Bekir Aksoy of the Golden Generation Foundation; and Sarah Q. Malone, IICC convener and moderator. Free parking on site and refreshments will be served.

You are warmly invited.