The last Tea Party
His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was served tea upon his arrival at the House of Literature in Oslo for the very last Tea Time tea party. A total of 3 500 tea parties have been held since the Tea Time campaign was launched two years ago.
Originally planned to last only a week, the campaign has proved to be extremely popular.
Tea Time was organised by the Norwegian Centre against Racism, and encouraged Norwegian Muslims to invite their Norwegian neighbours into their homes for a cup of tea to become better acquainted. The chance to talk together, exchange experiences and listen to one another provides a means of breaking down prejudice.
At the House of Literature yesterday evening, four members of the Muslim community shared the most frequent questions they had been asked. Generally the conversation over the teacups revolved around issues that apply universally, and it was obvious that much more unites people than divides them. Parents of small children face the same challenges: How do you get the children to school on time? Don't you find diaper changes stressful?
The tea parties also provided the opportunity to ask questions about religion. Some guests asked why the Muslims do not use the Bible, while others wished to know more about the role of women in Islam.
Gudny Ingebjørg Hagen told the audience about her Tea Time visit. Kari H. Partapuoli, Director of the Norwegian Centre against Racism, gave a presentation on racism and immigration, while Victoria Marie Evensen and Hanne Martinsen of Dinamo gave an evaluation of the campaign.
Took tea in Grünerløkka
Her Majesty Queen Sonja and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit have both attended a Tea Time tea party. In March 2011 they visited the Adampour family in their home in Grünerløkka in Oslo. His Majesty The King mentioned the visit in his annual New Years Eve speech that same year:
The Queen and the Crown Princess enjoyed an informal and friendly tea party with a family originally from Iran. It was clear to all that our similarities far outweigh our differences. I think this is often the case, whether our neighbour comes from Hønefoss or from the Himalayas. And our differences do not necessarily have to divide us. Conversing with a neighbour over a cup of coffee or tea can help us to better understand our individuality and appreciate the resources inherent in our diversity. It also gives us a chance to explore our differences more closely. That is a step we have to be willing to take, as it will give our conversations an even broader dimension.