On Feb. 5, USU welcomed to campus Utah Governor Spencer Cox, and Founder of the Moral Courage College Irshad Manji for the first annual President’s Forum on Conflict & Conflict Resolution.
President Elizabeth Cantwell helped moderate a discussion between Cox and Manji about the current state of political polarization, what role universities play in our democratic republic, and ultimately how to overcome differences and navigate interpersonal conflicts.
After that initial discussion, Manji and her Managing Director at the Moral Courage College, Allison Gerrard, then discussed five methods of communicating across differences:
— Breathe. Deeply.
— Don't merely seek common ground. Create it.
— Ask a sincere question about what your "Other" believes.
— Listen to learn, not to win.
— Ask another question by starting with three simple words: "Tell me more..."
Along with the forum, Manji and Gerrard also met with various groups across campus, talking with students, staff, and faculty.
The overall goal of the forum series is to help members of the university community learn the skills necessary to navigate conflicts in their personal and professional lives — and help ultimately foster a culture of respect and open mindedness.
USU hopes to bring in several speakers each year, and each event is going to focus on a conflict resolution theme or topic. By hearing from these experts, the Aggie Community can learn to have productive and meaningful conversations despite ideological divides.
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