The El Paso branch of the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest had the pleasure to host its 9th Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner. Around 350 people from different ethnic, religious, and cultural views gathered on Monday, November 10th, at the Camino Real Grand Ballroom.The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Congressman Beto O’ Rourke. The theme was “Giving Back to the Community, the Role of Politicians in Fostering Civic Engagement”. The Dialogue Institute fundraiser for El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank. This year Dialogue Institute award recipients were Tanny Berg, President of Shalom Group (Community Service Award), Rabbi Larry Bach, Temple Mount Sinai (Interfaith- Dialogue Award), Veronica Escobar, El Paso County Judge (Leadership Award), and KINT, Channel 26, Univision (Media Award).The event ended with a live sand show.
Estela Casas, the anchor from ABC 7, was the mistress of ceremonies for this year’s Annual Banquet and Friendship Dinner.
MEDIA- Please click the following links to see the video and article about this year’s banquet:
El Pason’s Fighting Hunger Food Bank
This year, The Dialogue Institute of the Southwest choose El Pasoan’s Fighting Hunger Food Bank to be the organization to be benefited by the banquet’s attendees.
Mrs. Sinclair urged attendees to donate by sharing her experiences with people in need. She said that there is no better feeling than to see a child’s hungry stomach full of food and happiness. Mrs. Sinclair’s remarked touched the hearts of many attendees. By the end of the night, Sabri Agachan, Dialogue Institute representative, handed Mrs. Sinclair a check of $3941.
Congressman Beto O’Rourke
Congressman Beto started by thanking the community for allowing him to represent them in D.C. The congressman said: “I’m Incredible grateful for this opportunity”.
“The world can learn a lot of from the El Paso and Cd. Juarez community. We are the largest bi-national metroplex anywhere in the world. El Paso and Juarez are amazing trade partners, we share cultural values, and are ultimately linked. 3 million people share this valley with limited resources such as water, good air, and land. Even in spite of the historical land problems, resource scarcity, and etc., Mexico and the United States have been able to solve their problems through dialogue. By going through courts, agreements, and legal actions we have been able to live in harmony. The point of dialogue is not necessarily of the agreement, but its of understanding. That’s why we hold town-hall meetings, to create dialogue and understanding. In conclusion, the dialogue is fundamental to achieving peace.
Senator Jose Rodriguez
Senator Jose Rodriguez welcomed the guests to the 9th Annual Dinner. He mentioned that the community should celebrate the fact that an inter-dialogue organization such as the Dialogue Institute was actively working to promote dialogue between individuals. He said, “In my eyes, the Dialogue Institute is an organization that is unmatched across the nation”. The Senator also took the time to recognized the award honorees; Tanny Berg, Judge Veronica Escobar, Univision, and Rabbi Larry Bach. The senator talked about his experience in Turkey and how thankful and glad he was to have had the opportunity to go. “We met with academicians, politicians, supreme court members, congressmen, journalists, and members of the chamber of commerce. I can tell you that Turkey is a dynamic, modern, forward -looking country.It is wonderful to see people with different cultures, beliefs, and political views, coming together and involving in dialogue.”
Judge William Moody
Judge Moody gave a few remarks about his trip to Turkey. He said that Turkey was a wonderful nation full of history and passionate people. “We had the opportunity to eat great food, meet wonderful people, and experience beautiful scenery. We went half-way around the world to see a beautiful place. Turkey is the crossroads of the east and west, of cultures, and of the great religions of the world.” Moody said that by going to Turkey, he learn more about Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Scholar, who seeks to promote peace and dialogue. “He has created a movement by unifying the business, educational, political, and religious factions of Turkey, in order to make this a better world.” Moody also mentioned how many people, inspired by Gulen’s movement, put of their time skills, and love to make this world a better one. “If we can get a bit of inspiration from these people, what a great, great world this would be.”
Jose Rodriguez, Senator, State of Texas
Jacob Prado, Mexico Consul General of El Paso
Dr. William Serrata, President, El Paso Community College
Lily Limon, City Representative, District 7, City of El Paso
Hal Marcus, Artist
Armando Velez, Editor in Chief, El Diario de El Paso
Msgr. Arturo Banuelas, St. Mark Catholic Church
El Paso Community College
Temple Mount Sinai
Charles and Ann Horak
Jack Heidemann, Temple Mount Sinai
St. Joseph’s Catholic School
El Diario de El Paso
Cathedral High School
El Pasoan’s Fighting Hunger
St. Mark Catholic Church
EPCC Diversity Programs
St. Pius X Catholic Church
Rev. Alberto Cordova
Rep. Lily Limon
Berg & Salom
Connie Vasquez & Hilda Kelley
Cherry & Les Lieberman
Maria Cortes Gonzalez
Sr. Elizabeth Swartz