International Day of Friendship was created to inspire peace and bridge building. At the beginning of August, The Way to Happiness Association of Tennessee will bring together a diverse crowd to dialogue for the occasion a third time.
Terrorism, shootings, war—it’s become commonplace to hear of these things day after day in a stream of news. Yet, there is a group of people determined to bring people together despite differences of race, color and creed. It’s all happening at the International Day of Friendship dialogue at the beginning of August in the community hall of the Nashville Church of Scientology.
International Day of Friendship is an annual observance, dignified in 2011 by the United Nations General Assembly with the idea that “friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities,” according to un.org. The resolution emphasizes that young people, as future leaders, can be brought together in activities with different cultures. This promotes international understanding and respect for diversity.
The Way to Happiness will hold its third annual dialogue for the day at the beginning of August, with several community leaders coming together to participate. Organizers want to get as many ethnicities into one room as possible, so are holding an “International Potluck” as part of the event. “The whole point is bringing a diverse group of people together to talk about things that matter in the hopes that this will spread throughout our community,” says Rev. Brian Fesler, pastor of the Church of Scientology, and co-organizer of the annual event.
“There are so many problems in the world today caused by a basic misunderstanding of each other. If we learn something about other people we might end these problems, disputes and upsets altogether,” he says.
The Way to Happiness Association of Tennessee (TWTH-TN) is partnering for this effort with the Church of Scientology which will host the program, as well as Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church. TWTH-TN provides a community betterment program based on the book The Way To Happiness by L. Ron Hubbard. The program is predicated on the fact that one’s survival depends on the survival of others—and that without the survival of others, neither joy nor happiness are attainable. Several concepts in the book promote dialogue and friendship. Among them, “Respect the Religious Beliefs of Others,” “Be Worthy of Trust,” and “Try to Treat Others As You Would Want them to Treat You.”