It is my great pleasure to be addressing you from NWLA’s wonderful new offices at The Cultural Center in Langley. We are all so grateful to add this momentous achievement to our list of things to celebrate this holiday season.
Over the weekend a wonderful group of volunteers filled The Center with the comforting smell and festive cheer of pine, cedar, spruce, and holly. NWLA’s first Christmas tree is up, the fire is lit, and the Cultural Center is coming to life. We look forward to the enrichment and vibrancy The Center will bring to Whidbey Island and Langley in particular. Please come by anytime and visit our new home!
Our recent Moroccan event was just the first of many on our upcoming programs schedule, designed to foster cultural diversity and understanding. This December and into 2011 we have many exciting events, programs, and projects in the works. Cross-cultural communication is critical to our well being and survival on this planet, as we all must engage in conversations on social, environmental, and health issues with worldwide significance.
I am reminded of an old Sufi story about an elephant in a dark room and the people that attempt to describe it by detailing the parts they can touch. Their experiences are so different that they begin to argue, righteously convinced of the validity of their own viewpoint. One describes what he believes is a thick pillar, another a rope, a third a curved horn. It is the darkness of the room which blinds them. Only when they each lit a candle are they able to illuminate the full shape, dimension, and movement of the elephant.
There isn’t any one personal or cultural viewpoint on the critical global issues that now face us, like the “elephant” in the room. It takes the light of many candles to perceive the whole. It is our goal at NWLA to light as many candles as possible; to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions, and cultures; to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural diversity; to share information on creative breakthroughs from countries around the world; to cultivate an informed empathy towards all human beings.
Please join me in offering a huge thank you to all of NWLA’s wonderful Board, teachers, staff and volunteers who work hard to bring this light to our community. Very special thanks go to Robert Crawford and Norm and Danielle Bodine, without whom none of this would be possible.
Wishing you and yours a happy Holiday season and we hope to see you soon!