The age-old tradition of ‘breaking bread’ is one of the most powerful ways to facilitate conversations and connections with other people. Universally, there are few celebrations in the world that do not involve food in some way, be they religious or familial to even a first date, they all involve food. So what better way to facilitate intercultural connections in the heart of Melbourne than a Pop-up City Square Interfaith/intercultural dining experience. 

The ‘I’ll Dine With You’ dinner was held on Monday 29th February at 6pm. The interfaith / intercultural dinner was inspired by the 2015 twitter hashtag #illridewithyou campaign, and was hosted by the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne.

This unique dining experience was held on a spectacular 80 metre long table that gave Melbournians a chance to actively support what we do best, connecting with people of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds through great conversation over food.

Helen Summers, Founder & Director of the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne who conceived the idea stated that, “For every one person who has a positive experience of meeting someone outside one’s own circle, at least ten other people will be informed and thus a wave of acceptance and appreciation may follow. Most fear of the other is due to a lack of understanding and limited opportunities to meet and socialise.”

Event spokesperson Monique Toohey and member of the Australian Muslim community said, “Culture is the vehicle by which we are able to get to know each other and build vibrant societal relationships. Intercultural events such as this one inspire curiosity for difference and create an environment that gives permission for people to ask questions respectfully about one another’s beliefs, traditions and hopes for the future.”

Further stating “When we come together we activate our doing of difference. It’s not at all uncommon for people to gravitate towards what is familiar and similar. Our dinner provides an opportunity for people who share different social and cultural scripts that influence their daily living to get to know each other in a relaxed environment”.

This was an exciting opportunity for members of the public who are committed to a flourishing and diverse Victoria, attending an event where they exchanged stories over good food.

The event was celebrated in collaboration with 19 sponsoring and supporting diverse organisations such as the Islamic Council of Victoria, The Council of Churches, the Australian Multicultural Foundation, Benevolence and the Sikh Interfaith Council.