Our Friendship Festival was a great occasion this year. It is now almost a decade-old tradition. America is still number one arms exporter to the world. If we do not have the power to stop exporting fire to the world, Oberlin should be proud that it is a friendship exporting city. Thanks to Oberlin Friendship Circle, our festival is growing every year. Specific thanks go to Helene Tiley, Monica Dix and Brian King who led OFC this year tactfully with dedication. Also Megan Cox, joined this year as the president of PACS and helped developing a model organizational friendship between OFC and PACS (Peace and Conflict Studies). OFC leadership has transferred this year to Gillian Chanko, Brigit Cann, and Kiera Markham. They are dedicated to lead OFC to new horizons. Delaviz Eftekar and Grover Neville who are former OFC leadership graduates of Oberlin were gracious to join and help the festival in many ways. Mohit Dubey from conservatory always brings beautiful music and adds to the spirit of our festival. Cathrine Spencer, Al Carroll, Joyce Parker, Polly Carroll and many more advocates from Kendal, helped our festival to be a broad friendship bridge between the college and the city. Mr. Bryan Burgess, the President of Oberlin City Council brought us an important Friendship Resolution. Meeko Israel composed his usual amazing friendship poem. Oberlin President Carmen Ambar Joined our festival this year and brought new spirit. Some students from Student Senate joined the festival very actively with entertaining plant-cultivation project. Olivia Fountain of Allen Museum gave a new dimension to the festival by facilitating a project that explore senses and meanings of friendship in art works. Dr. Ali brought us Friendship T-Shirts from Cleveland. Beads Paradise shop at Oberlin under the new owner Sylvia and her employee Adeline made a major contribution by making artistic friendship bracelets. Taher Modarresi a Harvard educated medical doctor came for festival from Philadelphia.
All above-mentioned are each a whole philosophy of friendship in a human being. They bring a friendly spring to Oberlin before flowers bloom. They pioneer blossoms, each and every soul a living roadmap for paradise on earth.
Bellow, please find the text of the OFC Mission Statement:
The Oberlin Friendship Circle
Promoting friendship as a radical foundation for social change, the Oberlin Friendship Circle [OFC] seeks to build community among people of all religious and cultural identities. Among other values, we mobilize for peace deeper than the absence of conflict, and for ethics deeper than the demands of justice. We engage in community learning and service rooted in caring partnership beyond obligation. OFC created the original International Friendship Day at Oberlin College on April 8, in the spring of 2010, and we continue to focus on this annual celebration as a celebration of our mission.
OFC is dedicated to transforming friendship from a unidimensional term to a worldview. We believe that friendship should be used as a means of approaching and conducting national and international politics and relations and also as an ultimate goal for all relations. Friendship is a fundamental principle of the human condition and is a basic necessity that can be traced back to the beginnings of almost every culture and group of people. The tenets of friendship include generosity, equality, appreciation of difference and diversity, and a spirit of embracing. Through a paradigm shift based on friendship, we might see a great improvement in the overall quality of life. Our group works to encourage these ideas through communal bridge-building and education. We believe that indifference, loneliness, human isolation and divisive extremism of any kind are against basic tenants of all religions and true democracies.
We are pleased that our annual Friendship Festival on April 8th is already established as an Oberlin tradition. Gradually some other neighboring cities are joining our festival. Cities of Oberlin, the City of Boulder, Colorado, Lorain and Elyria have ratified this day and we hope other cities of the world will join us in our festival and also in recognizing the importance of friendship as a worldview.
Every Wednesday of the school year, we hold a Friendship Tea from 5-6 in the Multifaith Lewis House, during which we drink tea, enjoy cookies, perform music, recite poetry, pet bunnies, and engage in friendly conversation with our peers and professors. This is a vital time of the week for many students to decompress and share their thoughts and passions in a welcoming atmosphere. We share a connection with Peace and Conflict Studies and have participants among college students, the Oberlin Conservatory, Kendal Community and city residents.