“Food is a universal language that can bring people together,” says Kalpna Woolf, the former BBC head of production and the founder of the 91 ways organization, which recently held Bristol’s first ever International Peace Café.
The landmark event invited food and flavors from all the communities across the city. The occasion provided a space to talk and listen to stories from women from different backgrounds with the aim to build greater understanding between cultures.
The first pop-up café showcased the incredible tastes of Syria, Iran, Sudan and Russia, among other countries.
“Food is a great way of speaking to people,” says Woolf, whose family came from India. “When we share food, we share our national identity, our heritage and our culture. I often quote the story of my father who said: ‘When you eat with someone, you become a part of their memory and they become a part of yours.’”
Woolf believes the idea will resonate with any big city in the world. “We are getting messages of support from around the U.K. I think we are feeling the mood of people — they want to connect.”
“We have heard stories of love, happiness, family, loss, war, conflict, health, what works in this city and what doesn’t. When people get together over food, they can talk about anything.”
So very proud to be a part of the @91 Ways team. Well done to everyone involved in making Bristol's first Peace Cafe such a huge success!— Annora Sutton (@AnnoraSutton) November 21, 2015
The initiative offered a new viewpoint and interaction of people, many of whom are from far-flung countries, some of them in the midst of great turmoil.
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