Eindhoven in Dialoog 2011 Celebrating Eigen Wijs, cultural diversity and peace

Wednesday, 09 November 2011

By Karen Choo-Haeberle

EINDHOVEN – Eindhoven in Dialoog 2011 was organized for the third year running in the multi-cultural Dutch city, as part of the nation-wide “Week of the Dialogue” in The Netherlands.
Kicking off the week-long event on 31 October was a celebration of the city’s diversity through a display of colorful lamp-post banners around town showcasing smiling Eindhoven-ers of different nationalities and cities of origin. Photographer Saskia Holtjer embarked on this ambitious project earlier in the year to capture the broad ethnic and cultural diversity which makes up Eindhoven and gives the city its known vibrance. This project is initiated by OVAA, an organization which identifies, initiates and advises on the development of diversity and gender in society. A selection of Saskia’s photographs for this project is being displayed in the Van Abbe Museum from 1 to 13 November 2011.

The week’s outdoor banner exhibition culminated in the “Day of the Dialogue” on 4 November with over 350 international participants meeting at more than 45 venues around Eindhoven. The successful turnout was a 52% increase as compared to that 2010.
Observing this year’s theme Eigen Wijs, which can be literally translated to “Own Wise”, “one’s own way of doing things” or “stubbornness”, the participants connected with one another and shared some of their most tenacious decisions which helped shaped their lives and dreams. Through such open communication, the project hopes to promote more love, respect, thoughtfulness and trust among the community, and to encourage people to work together to build a better community where there is space for everyone’s uniqueness.
It is estimated that a total of 20,000 people took part in this year’s nation-wide dialogue – an increase from 15,000 in 2010!Karin Kamperts, a volunteer coordinator for the Eindhoven in Dialoog project is ebullient about the increase. She said, “This shows that more and more people are appreciating the opportunity to meet and connect with new people and at the same time, have an open-hearted dialogue where they can share their experiences and dreams with one another.”
At one of the 45 dialogue sessions taking place around Eindhoven, in the Van Abbe Museum, dialogue participant and Leadership Trainer Michel de Rooij shared his philosophy with all present: “Communication comes from community; community comes from coming-to-unity. It’s all about being one instead of being alone!”   When asked about her dream, Eindhoven in Dialoog volunteer Toni Cruz shared, “Philippines, where I come from is really a beautiful country, and I wish for peace in my homeland.” In line with the dialogue’s theme, a candle lighted by the World Peace Flame (Carina: Pls  hyperlink this to http://worldpeaceflame.org/) – a symbol of peace, unity, freedom and celebration – was placed at each dialogue table as a reminder of the essential freedom of the human spirit to create peace at any time under any circumstances. About Eindhoven in Dialoog Eindhoven in Dialoog is organised to celebrate Eindhoven’s fast-growing cultural diversity. At last count, this city is made up 158 different nationalities all living, studying and/or working together in Eindhoven. The yearly dialogue, its organization and its funding is 100% dependent on social capital and the commitment of its pool of community volunteers. For more information, please visit www.eindhovenindialoog.nl . – END –
credited to Saskia Holtjer, photographer

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