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February 22, 2011 > World Friendship Day Celebration

World Friendship Day Celebration

By Karen McCready

Friendship Force members have visited homes on six continents. They have shared meals and met families, experiencing everyday life in Estonia, Nanjing, Cape Town, Belo Horizonte, Winnipeg, Sydney, and Jerusalem-just to name a few. Some regions, however, are so isolated and volatile that even Friendship Force members can know them only vicariously.

On February 26, Friendship Force's World Friendship Day will celebrate the central purpose of the organization-global friendship-and commemorate its international anniversary. For greater understanding of other cultures, the club has featured speakers from Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and India in the past few years. At the meeting in Fremont on Saturday, February 26, a journalist recently returned from Pakistan will speak on "Perceptions vs. Reality of Pakistan." Johannes and Anna Maria Brodel, a violin and cello duo from Dresden, Germany, will play Chopin. Also, members will discuss their plans to host Indonesians from Java in July and to travel to Biarritz, France in May for a home stay with club members there.

The public is invited to enjoy this free international program, along with light refreshments, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church.

The featured speaker, Sahar Ghazi, is an International Fellow in Stanford's Knight Fellowships Class of 2011. She is part of a very select group of eight international journalists who are sponsored for a year on the Stanford campus to pursue a media passion. Ms. Ghazi's aim is to "develop an online context portal for Pakistan's young, breaking-news-oriented electronic media."

Born on Long Island to Pakistani parents, Ghazi completed a degree in economics and political science at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2003. Her work for non-profits in Washington, D. C., led her into television and a move to Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2005 as associate producer for Pakistan's first independent news channel, GEO News TV. She helped to launch Pakistan's first English language TV channel, DawnNews, in Karachi in 2006. In the five years before her return to the U. S., she observed and documented Pakistan's 2005 earthquake, suicide bombings, general elections, terror attacks, often in spite of the challenges of a state of emergency and a media blackout. Her 2009 documentary series on U. S.-Pakistan relations, "The Disposable Ally," may be seen on YouTube. Her talk promises to provoke thought and enlighten us about our complex relationship with a long time ally

On this 34th anniversary of the international organization, The Friendship Force of the San Francisco Bay Area invites you to join the celebration. In the spirit of the occasion, wear international costume if you wish. Come and enjoy food, fellowship, classical music, and learn the meaning of Friendship Force's motto: "Changing the way you see the world."

World Friendship Day Celebration
Saturday, February 26
Noon to 3 p.m.
First United Methodist Church
Cole Hall Meeting Room
2950 Washington Blvd. (near 680) Fremont
(510) 794-6844

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