ICC is a community center where people of different backgrounds can come together to engage in interfaith dialogue, social action projects and educational programming built to promote pluralism and social cohesion based on mutual respect and harmonious coexistence.
- Promote the participation of individuals and families with various ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds in civic engagement, cross-cultural and interfaith dialogue, and community service.
- Develop a vibrant community of engaged citizens with the resources to peacefully mitigate any social and political conflict through effective cross-cultural approaches.
- Decrease a culture of misunderstandings, fear and violence
In 2011, the World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE) established a new cultural center for the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area. Located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the International Cultural Center (ICC) is a forum where people from all traditions can converge to promote principles of peace, social harmony and plurality.
The ICC is a unique space for cultivating positive social networks — where the community can foster a sense of belonging and youth can channel their energy into peaceful, productive outlets. Over the last year, youth from the Greater Washington DC area have participated in a range of activities at the Center that promote social action. Youth Against Hunger is our signature monthly program that was created in response to the State Department’s call to action, “2011 Hours Against Hate.” In this program, the ICC brings together youth ages 6-24 from divergent socio-economic and ethnic groups to volunteer over 2011 hours to make sandwiches for low income segments of our community. On average, 700 sandwiches are made and then distributed and delivered to area homeless shelters. Another social action project is creating classroom supply “Back To School Kits” for homeless and/or other low-income children in need. The ICC also acts as a Food Referral and Distribution Program, providing low-income members of our community access to resources at local food banks and non-profit organizations. Often times, when needy community members cannot pick up resources at local food banks, our staff and volunteers have provided transportation and/or have dropped off groceries to their homes.
The ICC’s community building programs include community discussions, pancake breakfasts and tea times. One recent event at ICC was a pre-Thanksgiving Community Tea Time in which various groups discussed the importance of gratitude. Our programs also include cultural festivals that celebrate the diversity of our community and our world, through art, music, poetry and spiritual celebrations. The participants and partners of these events include faith leaders, community activists, NGO’s, universities, business leaders and young professionals, including but not limited to:
• The US Institute of Peace (USIP)
• The Montgomery County Office of Faith and Community Partnerships
• Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society (JIDS)
• Church of St. Nicholas (Darnestown)
• Montgomery County Muslim Foundation (MCMF) (a grassroots, non-profit group devoted to encouraging civic engagement)
• Capital Area Interfaith Friends (CAIF) (a volunteer service-oriented youth interfaith group)
• Jewish Council on Aging (JCA) (serves all communities-non denominational)
• Am Kolel (a Jewish renewal community located in Montgomery County, Maryland)
• The Muslim Community Center, (MCC)
• The Islamic Society of the Washington Area
• Washington Hebrew Congregation
• The Church of Ascension (Gaithersburg and Silver Spring locations)
• Bethesda Interfaith Network
• Gaithersburg Interfaith Alliance
• Washington National Cathedral Interfaith Programs
• The University of Maryland
• George Mason University
• Montgomery College Professors and Students
Our educational programs include hands-on workshops, seminars, and town hall discussions with policymakers, analysts, and academics on critical issues that affect our community such as conflict resolution, domestic violence, and the impact of September 11 on our youth. One recent educational program was a workshop by Dr. Qamar ul-Huda (Senior Program Officer, Religion and Peacemaking Center at the US Institute of Peace in Washington DC) on how to transform offense into an opportunity for dialogue. We believe our educational and interactive programming encourages and breeds a culture of civic engagement.