Programs of Compassion: An Introduction to Hot Topics
By Suha Ahmad Alsyoufi
There are so many things I can write about as I plan programs for next year around the topics of compassion, diversity, and faith. I think the most fitting is what keeps me going and keeps me inspired. We each have our individual likes and dislikes, our inner selves are so unique but we can find ways to connect around these differences. Our beliefs whether spiritual, religious, humanistic are what keep our moral compasses in sync. Here are some words of inspiration that are keeping me hopeful, grounded, inspired, and moving forward.
“If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we could treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.” Marvin J. Ashton
One of the many programs that I co-ordinate is Hot Topics. This is a lunch and learn discussion series promoting a specific issue and facilitated by expert panelists. Each month encourages attendees to participate in dialogue around a specific issue and hear the opinions of others in attendance. Some of the topics we have discussed in 2014 are gentrification; the immigration crisis, specifically the humanitarian crisis with 1000s of children at the border; the death penalty; US involvement in other countries; and reproductive rights just to name a few.
Planning for next year has me reflecting spiritually as I question current events. Watching what’s happening in Ferguson, MO as Dr. Cornell West was arrested along with all of the topics that have been discussed this year have me planning action orientated sessions on Civil Disobedience and non-violent crisis training. In other areas I am thinking about leading groups around coalition building so that our communities can congregate effectively with one another around the social issues that are touching our humanity.
These latest events could lead me to feel hopeless but I have to look and move forward. Programs of compassion such as planting seeds of hope and bohemian dialogue are just a few of the programs to be offered. For me the key is moving forward, staying inspired by our current situation instead of discouraged by them.
View the calendar of upcoming Hot Topics events by clicking here.
Suha Ahmad Alsyoufi is currently Assistant Director of Education, Programs, & Connections at Scarritt-Bennett Center. In her current position Suha is responsible for Diversity training for individuals and organizations, facilitator training, cultural sensitivity training, as well as other programs such as Hot Topics and World Harmony Interfaith Breakfast. As a highly skilled trainer, she couldn’t have found a better place than Scarritt-Bennett Center whose mission statement is dedicated to the eradication of racism, the empowerment of women, and spiritual formation.