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Published June 13, 2010, 08:21 PM

Celebrating Culture And Diversity

A six day event has several activities open to the public, UND's Conflict Resolution Center and community groups are hosting "Got Culture?! Exploring Our Diversity."

Immigrants from all over the world are meeting in Grand Forks this week for a conference celebrating culture.

This six day event has several activities open to the public, and organizers hope it will bring people closer together.

UND's Conflict Resolution Center and community groups are hosting the event.

Organizers say it's an important event to examine cultural diversity and to take a look at the challenges people face.

With more immigrants settling in the area, organizers of the conference "Got Culture?! Exploring our diversity" say it's important to learn about cultural differences.

”You know our country and certainly our state has always included immigrants and we've found ways to co-exist and hopefully we'll continue to do that to help our communities to get to know each other through communication.” said Kristine Paranica, director of the Conflict Resolution. Center

In the last decade around 400 immigrants have come through Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota in Grand Forks. This conference is a place to learn about their history.

“Monday is going be a day for example where you listen to people who have immigrated here since the early 20th century, so the early 1900's. I don't always know all of my own stories, and I wonder what's my cultural heritage, so it gives a chance for all of us to learn a little more about that and also each other.”

Paranica says the less we know about one another, the harder it is to understand and embrace differences.

“The more separation we put between each other the more fear we have,” said Paranica,”Those are strong precursors for violence. I would hate to see things like that happen.”

And this conference is just one way Paranica says she can help make a difference.

“I think my biggest worry is in the schools to have kids experience segregation or bullying because of what they look like and who they are. I think there's a good chance this is going to plant some important seeds in the community.”

The conference is scheduled for June 14th-19th, ending with a celebration of National Refugee Day.

For more information on the event you can go to conflict.resolution@und.edu

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