By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The 13th Annual Dialogue Institute of Oklahoma City’s Friendship Dinner and Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday, March 30. The event will take place at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 741 N. Phillips Avenue, in the downtown Medical Center. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.
Former Governor Brad Henry will serve as the event chair. The ceremony will honor three Oklahoma community leaders,
Oklahoma City Thunder star Enes Kanter and his LIGHT FOUNDATION will receive the Humanitarian of the Year Award. Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award and longtime community activist Mary Blankenship Pointer will receive the Global Vision Award.
This year’s keynote speaker will be Interfaith activist Rev. Dirk Ficca.
With twenty year of experience in the global interreligious movement, Dr. Ficca has served as Executive Director of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions and as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Benton Harbor. He is also a moderator of Chicago Presbytery’s Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations.
A graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary (Class of 1982), he has taught at DePaul University, Garrett Evangelical-Theological Seminary, and the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.
Ficca is a member of Chicago Presbytery and serves as the convener of its Ecumenical and Interreligious Work Group. He was awarded the Fethullah Gulen Award for Peace and Dialogue by the Niagara Foundation in 2012.
“The dinner is among our signature events where we recognize outstanding achievements of those that dedicated themselves in the profession and service to society by generously contributing their time, energy expertise and resources,” said Kadir Akkus, Outreach Director of the Dialogue Institute Oklahoma City.
“Each year the Dialogue institute raises money to benefit a local non-profit for their commitment to Oklahoma and its people. This year’s ceremony will benefit Positive Tomorrows.”
With over 25 years of service, Positive Tomorrows is Oklahoma’s only private, tuition-free elementary school specifically serving homeless children and their families. Students at Positive Tomorrows receive a quality, trauma-informed education while their parents get the support they need to create a better life.
The Dialogue Institute of Oklahoma City offers a place to promote mutual understanding, respect and cooperation among people of diverse cultures and faiths by creating opportunities for direct communications and meaningful shared experiences.
“It is an honor to be selected to receive the Global Vision Award on behalf of our community,” said Mary Blankenship Pointer, Senior Vice President and Corporate Relationship Manager of Republic Bank and Trust.
“To build a great world, it requires that we all work together for the greater good. The Dialogue Institute is a wonderful asset where people from different cultures get together to look for solutions to problems affecting our world.”
On Friday, February 10, The Dialog Institute of the Southwest and Raindrop Turkish House hosted Turkish journalist Mahir Zeynelov during the Dialogue Luncheon Forum. Zeynelov was deported in 2014 for “posting tweets against high-level state officials,” according to the New York Times
He discussed recent Middle East developments, ISIS, freedom of press and other important topics. at Raindrop Turkish House in Oklahoma City.