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Center Partners with Seattle Fire Department to Offer Training Sessions

August 29, 2019

Dedicated to serving the community, the Middle East Center works to increase understanding of Middle East cultures and traditions. As organizations are increasingly recognizing that they must serve diverse populations, the Middle East Center is extending its expertise to offer training. In an innovative initiative started in 2019, the Center is beginning to provide training workshops to the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) so these first responders can deliver culturally sensitive services to Seattle’s Muslim communities. Recent immigrants — especially those from Muslim-majority countries — face challenges when they interact with emergency services. To ease the situation and reduce misunderstandings, the Center now provides onsite sessions and webinars, facilitated by MEC Affiliate Faculty, David Fenner, that strengthen SFD’s ability to deliver culturally sensitive services to this population. The training aims to demystify Islam, dispel stereotypes, and offer cultural context while exploring specific strategies to enhance and strengthen the interaction between SFD battalion personnel and local Muslim communities. The success of this collaboration between the Center and the SFD to develop culturally competent care in times of crisis was expressed by a workshop participant who wrote: “Please give us more, more, more….very helpful service for the community.”