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by Ejemen Iyayi

Beyond its gorgeous landscape and awesome selection of dining options, what truly makes Vancouver a beautiful city is its people. From neighbourhood to neighbourhood, deep stories walk the streets, passing through communities embedded with rich histories. There are so many stories yet to be shared and made, and plenty more histories waiting to be heard of and created. All this can happen when people come together in exchange. Particularly, in dialogue.

As the Youth Program Assistants for the Dialogues Youth initiative of the Vancouver Dialogues Project, Eugene and I intend to open up spaces – both online and offline – where members of First Nations, Urban Aboriginal and immigrant/non-Aboriginal communities can come together and exchange knowledge, opinions, ideas, stories, and much more.

These communities make up significant parts of Vancouver’s (and Canada’s) identity and, although each is unique, there stands a lot to be gained from strengthened relations between them. Dialogue is a key starting point for building common understanding and digging deep to find out how culture and community relations affect the thoughts, words and actions of people. With Dialogues Youth, we want to concentrate specifically on the engagement of youth in dialogue because the youth voice plays a big role in building the foundation of important social legacies such as the ones we are trying to build right here with the Vancouver Dialogues Project!

See Eugene and I as architects of spaces where youth can tell their stories, be heard, listen and take action on indigenous and immigrant topics! We want youth to TALK about common interests, CHALLENGE discrimination, SHARE their passions, BUILD understanding and CELEBRATE their cultures. Over the next four months (and beyond), we want to operate in the breathing spaces between communities where the potential to build and strengthen bridges of understanding thrives. Sounds fan-flippin’-tastic, doesn’t it? Well, then! What are you waiting for? Let’s roll! Start the conversation on Twitter (@DialYouthYVR), Facebook (/dialoguesyouthyvr) or contact us for more information!

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