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Greenville Peace and Dialogue Dinner 2012

Atlantic Institute's (formerly South Carolina Dialogue Foundation) second annual dialogue dinner was held on Monday, September 24, 2012 at the Embassy Suites in Greenville. The theme for the event was "Empathy: Walking in Another's Shoes". The purpose of the dialogue dinners is two-fold, to introduce the community to enlightened topics by distinguished speakers as well as to encourage dialogue amongst the attendees while they enjoy the evening.

The event was emceed by local anchor of WYFF Channel 4, Carol Goldsmith, who began the evening quoting a poem from Rumi, setting the tone of a welcome to share dialogue. Mr. Akif Aydin, President, Atlantic Institute (formerly South Carolina Dialogue Foundation), also welcomed the attendees and speakers and reminded them of a Chinese proverb: A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.

The three distinguished speakers followed: Dr. A.Kadir Yildirim, Professor of Political Science at Furman University; The Honorable John W. Matthews, Jr., South Carolina State Senator; and, Dan Waldschmidt, CEO of Waldschmidt Partners International who is a corporate strategist and a popular keynote speaker.

Speakers shared their own impression of empathy. Dr. Yildirim began with a personal story highlighted by his own experiences as a student and a professor, and contrasted living in different parts of the United States. He also discussed the theory of modernization and the concept of empathy is a modern characteristic that occurs out of necessity in urban environments, not necessarily traditional settings where people are more familiar with each other and their expectations. He highlighted the need for empathy, but asked the audience to evaluate their own stories and decide how empathy applied to them. He also encouraged the attendees to take their conversations further by extending invitations to those they met this evening.

Senator Mathews warmly greeted the audience and immediately shared his impression of empathy by stating that, "In order to walk in another's shoes, you must first take off your own". He also noted that he had visited Turkey, and admitted that if he had been asked to write an essay about the nation before and after his visit, they would have been completely different. He stated empathy is necessary, but difficult to emulate if you don't have the time and energy, and cited an example from his own life wherein he and his wife took a young boy under their wings, but felt they could have done more if they could have invested more time. He asked the audience to remember this in their own lives.

Mr. Waldschmidt captivated the audience with a story from 1920 regarding a girl, Hazel Miner, who sacrificed her own life for her younger siblings by using her body to cover them in a blizzard. He noted that this is the strongest form of empathy, to actually lay down your life for a friend. He challenged the listeners to take empathy to a deeper level and look for a meaningful way to express empathy to the community.

Additionally, the audience was treated to a presentation of live Turkish calligraphy by Aydin Cayir who came from Turkey. Mr. Cayir created calligraphy artwork for each of the speakers as the audience watched, and then they were presented as gifts to the speakers and emcee as a thank you for their time.

 

Columbia Peace and Dialogue Dinner 2012

Atlantic Institute (formerly South Carolina Dialogue Foundation) Columbia Branch was pleased to host its 5th Annual Friendship Dinner on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at the Columbia Marriott Hotel under the theme of "Empathy: Walking in Another's Shoes."

Keynote Speakers Senator Vincent A. Sheheen and Kemal Korucu, Istanbul Center delivered keynote speeches in which they gave wonderful insights and personal experiences about empathy.

Following the keynote speeches was a live calligraphy demonstration in which calligrapher Aydin Cayir presented the finest illustrations of this traditional art form. Attendees received their personalized calligraphy after the presentation.

 

Charleston Peace and Dialogue Dinner 2012

Atlantic Institute's (formerly South Carolina Dialogue Foundation) third annual dialogue dinner was held on Thursday, September 27, 2012 at the Francis Marion Hotel in Downtown Charleston. The theme for the event was "Empathy: Walking in Another's Shoes". The purpose of the dialogue dinners is two-fold, to introduce the community to enlightened topics by distinguished speakers as well as to encourage dialogue amongst the attendees while they enjoy the evening.
Mr. Akif Aydin, President, Atlantic Institute (formerly South Carolina Dialogue Foundation), welcomed the attendees and speakers and reminded them of a Chinese proverb: A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books. The two distinguished speakers followed: The Honorable Phil P. Leventis, South Carolina State Senator; and Elvan Aktas, Associate Professor of Finance at Valdosta State University.
Additionally, the audience was treated to a presentation of live Turkish calligraphy by Aydin Cayir who came from Turkey. Mr. Cayir created calligraphy artwork for each of the speakers as the audience watched, and then they were presented as gifts to the speakers and emcee as a thank you for their time.

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