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News from my Google Alert on Dialogue

My daily google news alert for “dialogue” – which, admittedly, I don’t always keep on top of – featured some interesting articles today.  UTSA’s The Paisano published an article called “Immigration series emphasizes open dialogue,” which provided a nice overview of a dialogue at the University of Texas – San Antonio on what it means to be an American.  The dialogue is part of the UTSA Talks! dialogue series.

United Press International also published an article on a DC dialogue involving Islamic and Catholic scholars called US Muslims, Catholics hold dialogue. “Concerned about derogatory references to Islam in a recent papal lecture,” the author explained, “these scholars gathered to reaffirm both the importance and the vitality of Muslim-Catholic relations.”

A number of other articles were listed in today’s news alert, but I found these two the most relevant to NCDDers.  If any of you subscribe to this or the “deliberation” alert and have an interest in keeping the D&D community informed, consider becoming part of the group blog and contributing regularly!U.S. Muslims, Catholics hold dialogue

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (UPI) — Leading U.S. Islamic and Catholic scholars have held a Washington conference to strengthen their inter-faith dialogue.

The meeting was held on Oct. 11 and was inaugurated by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and the Center for American-Islamic Relations, CAIR said in a statement.

CAIR said a group of prominent scholars, both Catholic and Muslim, attended the meeting and held what the organization described as “an intensive conversation.”

“Concerned about derogatory references to Islam in a recent papal lecture, these scholars gathered to reaffirm both the importance and the vitality of Muslim-Catholic relations. They strove to ratify by their presence and their shared insights the continuing significance of a mutually-supported dialogue of religions and cultures,” the CAIR statement said.

CAIR said the scholars “sought to counter any efforts to diminish the positive record of interreligious understanding achieved by Catholics and Muslims in the four decades since the Second Vatican Council. They pledged themselves to renewed efforts, such as workshops, conferences and future publications, which could sustain and expand the good work that has been done by so many Muslims and Catholics to foster deeper interreligious appreciation and harmony.”

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (UPI) — Leading US Islamic and Catholic scholars have held a Washington conference to strengthen their inter-faith dialogue. …

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Immigration series emphasizes open dialogue
by Amy Grewal

October 16, 2006

     “What does it mean to be a real American?”

     This question was interpreted and defined in many different ways last Tuesday in the JPL Regents Room as part of a dialogue series, “UTSA Talks! Immigration.”

     Sponsored by the Global & Intercultural Communication Alliance (GICA) and the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID), the event was the second in a three part series.

     “We start each series differently,” Sherice Gearhart, GICA president said. “Last time we had a keynote speaker, this time we have a fishbowl and we plan to have a panel next time, but that’s still in the works.”

     According to Gearhart, immigration was the chosen topic because of its reoccurrence in the news last semester.

     “We felt it needed to be discussed in a constructive way instead of a debate,” she said.

     Approximately 100 students, faculty and staff were seated at roundtables throughout the room; each person was given a number assigned to a particular table.

     “We want people who don’t normally talk to each other to talk about sensitive topics,” Diane Pina, OID diversity trainer said. “We want the chance for opinions to be out there. There’s no right or wrong answer, this is a chance to explore these issues.”

      Pina also emphasized the importance of open dialogue, especially among students.

     “What better time in your life to explore intellectual topics, beliefs and values?” she asked. “Dialogue is a fundamental part of education to prepare people for work, and even life.”

     Sara DeTurk, GICA advisor and communications professor, also encourages students and faculty to actively participate in dialogue.

     “It is a great way to share experiences in a non-confrontational and non-competitive way,” she said.

     A fishbowl, made up of eight facilitators including students and faculty, sat at a roundtable in the center of the room and began the dialogue, discussing what it means to be an American.

     Each person took turns discussing the topic and offering his or her viewpoints.

     “We talk about the opportunity in America, but where do we draw the line,” Kalia Malone, student facilitator said. “Should I be grateful for what I have or strive for more perfection?”

     Fishbowl members also interpreted the American dream, describing it as a state of mind and how one feels in this country.

     “America is what you make it to be,” Ernest Willliams, another facilitator said. “I make sure my parents’ values are instilled in me.”

     Malone feels that the equality of the American dream needs to be reviewed.

     “We limit what people can aim at,” she said. “Not everyone has access to the same dream.”

      The third “UTSA Talks! Immigration” dialogue event is scheduled for Oct. 31 in the JPL Regents room from 2-3:15 p.m. For more information, contact the Office of Institutional Diversity at 458-41200.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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