Affinity hosted its last luncheon of the year on Thursday, the 24th of November.

The event featured special international speaker, Professor Ori Soltes , from Georgetown University in the US, and was facilitated by ABC’s John Cleary.

The theme of the talk was ‘Finding Spirituality through Art in the Modern World: According to Jewish, Christian and Islamic perspectives’

Professor Ori Soltes spoke about the meanings gleamed from various artistic works across many faith traditions in the past, and how they depict common and unifying themes such as the oneness of the source, symbolism of light, naturalness of the diversity of paths to God, importance of going beyond self to finding God, ways of connecting with and experiencing God, role of understanding the other, loving and serving humanity as an essential element of loving and serving God.

Professor Soltes referred to individual artistic works as well as general trends and symbols, and thoughts of important philosophers and thinkers such as Merton, Rumi, and others from different faith traditions.

Overall, it was a highly engaging and interesting discussion and Ori’s expertise and insight was evident throughout.

There were many curious questions from the audience in the Q&A including architectural design, religious fundamentalism, and resources for further exploration.

The talk was recorded and is available for view via our YouTube channel and also linked below.

Ahmet Polat, CEO of Affinity, took the opportunity in his concluding remarks, to honour the work of John Cleary who has made such a significant contribution to the discussion of religion on national media.  John Cleary was presented with a gift of appreciation from Sr. Dr Giovanni Farquer on behalf of Affinity.

Mr Polat also announced the upcoming launch of Affinity’s new name and merger with a number of interstate dialogue organisations in February. Please be on the lookout for further details and invitations coming up.

Sincere thanks again to Prof Ori Soltes and John Cleary, and our lovely audience for their friendship and interest.



Professor Ori Z Soltes