Gift of Love

26 February 2024

In commemoration of the World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW), BRIDGES CC orchestrated a poignant artistic endeavor titled "Gift of Love." The event unfolded on February 9th within the venerable confines of the Bishop's Cathedral in Plovdiv, a city bestowed with the distinction of being the European Capital of Culture in 2019, steeped in historical and spiritual significance dating back to the Roman era.

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Under the auspices of Her Excellency Ambassador Andrea Ikić-Böhm and with generous backing and collaborative support from the Embassy of the Republic of Austria, this artistic spectacle endeavored to forge connections among youth from diverse backgrounds, bonded by a shared commitment to creativity and universal human principles such as religious tolerance. Adhering to the thematic motif of the year 2024—exemplified by the hue "peach fuzz" and the stylistic ethos of the Renaissance—the performance served as a clarion call to rekindle humanity's most cherished and authentic values: love, collaboration, empathy, and understanding, with a reverential acknowledgment of spirituality's enduring influence on global harmony.

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A cohort of 56 youthful participants, representing a spectrum of religious affiliations including Armenian, Muslim, Christian Orthodox, Catholic, Buddhist, and pagan traditions, convened as members of the "Bridges Children" community. Through the expressive medium of art, they endeavored to convey messages of devotion to the divine, compassion towards the 'other,' and solidarity with their fellow beings. Through a multifaceted presentation comprising paintings, choreographed dances, musical renditions, and poetic recitals, attendees were treated to a tapestry of cultural richness and spiritual reflection.

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Culminating in a collective rendition of "We Are the World," symbolizing solidarity with global compatriots, the event bore witness to the convergence of individuals from disparate backgrounds in a shared celebration of diversity and unity. Alongside the dedicated team from BRIDGES CC, representatives from three additional Cooperation Circles in Bulgaria—Evropress CC, Dialogue Center CC, and Seed for Change CC—attended, alongside esteemed figures such as Father Petar Gramatikoff, a pivotal figure in URI's establishment in Bulgaria. Notable dignitaries, including Father Hrach Muradyan of the Armenian Church and Regional Mufti Taner Veli, lent their presence, alongside youth leaders from the Jewish community and municipal representatives from Plovdiv and partnering organizations from across Bulgaria.


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With the Bishop's Cathedral brimming with 200 attendees, those unable to secure physical attendance availed themselves of the event's livestream on social media platforms. Following the formal proceedings, a convivial gathering of 40 individuals—including organizers, partners, VIP guests, participants, and the Austrian Ambassador—engaged in informal discourse over Armenian cuisine and fine wine, fostering an atmosphere of conviviality and camaraderie. Buoyed by the effervescence of shared experiences, plans were laid for future intercultural and interfaith initiatives, underscoring the enduring legacy of the "Gift of Love" performance.


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This artistic tableau, "Gift of Love," represents a cornerstone in the broader mosaic of events convened during the World Interfaith Harmony Week. It encapsulates our overarching objective of erecting bridges that transcend boundaries of creed, institution, and ideology, fostering interconnectedness and understanding among diverse communities. Moving forward, we endeavor to integrate this event into the WIHW platform and aspire to garner recognition through application for one of the prestigious awards bestowed by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Jordan, honoring exemplary contributions to global interfaith dialogue and cooperation.


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