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Arts & Culture

Friendship Dinner brings global cultures together

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Niagara University welcomed the fifth annual Friendship Dinner of Buffalo's Turkish Cultural Center to the Castellani Art Museum Monday night, with a theme of Embracing the World through Education and Service.The Turkish center has held its annual Friendship Dinner in many places, including the lobby of Buffalo City Hall. 

Niagara President Father Jim Maher says his school is seeing an increasing interest in the world by students, including more of them taking a modern language and more studying abroad. Father Maher says the school needs to push that to students.

"We owe it to our students to do that. They come here and pay a premium price for education. And so we really believe that if we can provide an education in the laboratory of life, the world, we've done them a great service. I think it's essential. No place really these days can do without a global component to education," Maher said.

History Professor Mustafe Gokcek says he has his students interview people from other places to get a sense of the wider world and every summer he takes some students to Turkey to let them see a country which is both European and Asian.

Keynote speaker Ori Soltes says American students benefit from meeting students from somewhere else in a campus environment.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.