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August 6, 2013 > A cultural program about Canada? Why?

A cultural program about Canada? Why?

Submitted By Karen L. McCready, Photo by Barry Rader

On August 10, Friendship Force will present a cultural orientation about Canada at the Milpitas Library. People may ask, what more is there to learn about those people so close to the northern border? Canada isn't really a foreign country, is it? Do we need a passport to travel there? Its determination to answer these questions and more says a lot about Friendship Force, an organization that has been promoting a deeper understanding of other cultures since 1977. The parent organization, Friendship Force International, encourages its charter clubs to learn more about the history, customs, language, and lifestyle of an international group before they host them for a one week stay or travel to stay in their homes.

The Friendship Force of the San Francisco Bay Area (FFSFBA), established in 1984, has hosted at least one group every year and traveled abroad at least once a year. These visits are called "exchanges," not because they are trading houses but because they are exchanging cultural knowledge and gaining a more global outlook. The second group FFSFBA is hosting this year, the Manitoba Club from Winnipeg, will visit the Bay Area from September 26 to October 3.

Earlier exchanges may have come from such exotic locales as Indonesia and South Africa. Certainly, these cultures may require some study in advance. Nevertheless, FFSFBA members do not want to assume that our neighbors just over the northern border are our cultural twins. They know that Canadians may be offended by this assumption, even though they may feel very friendly toward Americans. In fact, this stereotypical view inspired the topic for August 10, Canadians Are NOT just like US!" This program aims to show how Canadians' history, geography, ethnic diversity, and political system have created a culture uniquely theirs. In fact, some of the provinces sought union with Canada to avoid becoming part of the United States.

Although Friendship Force clubs do not always have the opportunity to host a club that they have visited, this hosting week will be a reunion for many members of both clubs. Several FFSFBA members traveled to Winnipeg to spend a week with them in September 2008. In those seven days, their members managed to show a cross section of their major religious groups, their First Nations tribes, their government, their daily lifestyle, and to convey their love of those windy prairies. FFSFBA members are especially eager to offer their members as good a time and to show them the best of the Bay Area, in a down home style.

The public is invited to attend this free program, deepen their understanding of Canada, perhaps even contribute their own knowledge from first hand experience in Canada, and learn more about Friendship Force's many opportunities to travel and learn about other cultures. Right here in the Bay Area, FFSFBA offers a full calendar of social and cultural events for meeting new friends and discussing global concerns.

"Canadians Are NOT Just Like US!"
Saturday, Aug 10
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Milpitas Library
160 N. Main St., Milpitas
(510) 794-6844
(510) 579-3797
www.ffsfba.org www.thefriendshipforce.org

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