‘We have to take account of all cultures and build respect’

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A Council officer whose job is to encourage citizens of different backgrounds to get on better wants people to embrace Londonderry as ‘One Place’ with ‘Many People.’

Community relations officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Angela Askin, is encouraging people to get involved in Cultural Awareness Week which runs from September 28 to October 4.

“In understanding and taking account of other cultures we learn to build the mutual respect that the community needs to thrive and grow.

“The events taking place next week offer people a great way of being part of that process,” said Mrs Askin.

Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council, said: “There is one message that we hope everyone will get from the Week: Nothing about the future can be taken for granted.

“The job of learning to live peacefully is not yet done and if we want this place to be positive and inclusive, we all have to play a part in making it so at village, town, city and regional levels.

“It is very encouraging to see the variety of events taking place this year involving people of all ages and backgrounds.

“There are performances, sporting events, discussions, workshops and launches of new books and resources. Public bodies, sports clubs, schools, churches, charities and community groups are all taking part and with a shared goal of making this a place of understanding, hospitality and welcome for strangers as well as for friends.”

Community and ethnic groups across the city will be staging a whole host of events to highlight the many cultures and traditions practiced throughout the district, and the Mayor, Elisha McCallion has also encouraged everyone to show their support.

“I am delighted to launch the programme today and to see so many groups from such a diversity of ethnic backgrounds participating in this year’s events.

“The week provides the opportunity for people here to learn and understand more about the different cultures that make up such a large part of our local community.

“I’m looking forward to taking part in some of the many events and I want to encourage everyone to join in the festivities and celebrate the diversity which makes our city such a great place to live.”

Over 180 events are taking place across Northern Ireland to mark Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week which is in place to celebrate diversity, highlight best practice and consider what it means to share one place as many different people.

Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week is now in its 13th year and is organised by the Community Relations Council. Local councils, public bodies, schools and community and voluntary organisation run various events throughout the Week.

A full listing of Community Relations Week events can be found at the www.nicrc.org.uk website.