Polarization—just get over it! It's easier said than done. But if we are to take serious steps and effectively engage with others to overcome our extreme differences, where do we start? Canadian Mennonite University's (CMU) upcoming Face2Face discussion will feature a panel of provincial MLAs and policy analysts exploring their unique experiences with polarization.
Open to all, the conversation titled "Polarization: Get over it! Stories that lead the way" will take place Monday, February 27, at 7:00 PM in Marpeck Commons on the CMU campus. It will also be livestreamed for those who cannot attend in person. Admission is free.
The panel will feature the following:
Jodi Dueck-Read, Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution Studies at Menno Simons College, a program centre of CMU, will host the event.
"Polarization tears at the fabric of communities, making it difficult to sit through difficult conversations and engage meaningfully and deeply with community members," says Dueck-Read. "In this forum, we will hear stories that lead us in new directions and encourage us to find connections across messy divides."
With the panelists from across the political spectrum representing various ideologies and lived experiences, the conversations, questions, and answers brought up through the discussion will help light a new path forward as we find improved ways to walk beside one another. The event will also include opportunities for questions and comments from the audience.
Each panelist will share examples of stories of how they have managed to overcome polarization in their careers, personal life, and beyond—in a divided and often vitriolic world, hearing success stories can bring hope to mend our own experiences with polarization.
"We may find tangible resources, rooted in our own stories, to use in future conversations with people who think differently than us," says Dueck-Read.
Previously, CMU hosted a Face2Face panel discussion in 2020 titled "Us and Them: How did we become so polarized?" The conversation dealt with polarization in public discourse and discussed the various contexts that cause conflict.
Join this next installment of the Face2Face series as we expand upon the previous discussion, consider new ways of reconciling with one another, and explore real-life examples of how people have been unified through mutual understanding and relationship building.
Face2Face is a series of events and conversations with CMU faculty and special guests designed to engage the community on various current events and issues at the intersection of faith and life. Previous Face2Face discussions can be found on CMU's Face2Face YouTube playlist here.
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