GCJD, CCE to Host Civil Debate

The Global Center of Journalism and Democracy (GCJD) is collaborating with the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) to host Difficult Dialogues: Conversation, Not Confrontation on Oct. 5 at the CHHS outdoor amphitheater from 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. to learn about and discuss controversial topics.

‘Difficult Dialogues’ will be a series of civil debates provided once a semester to allow people to get past media misconceptions, learn the facts, and politely express their viewpoints.

GCJD Program Manager Christopher Arcos provides insight on the first topic, and how the event will be conducted.

“We will provide an opportunity to discuss a controversial or difficult topic; the first will be a Trump vs. Hillary,” Arcos said. “Many times, it’s impossible to have a conversation without it deteriorating into a shouting match. We hope that by providing an atmosphere for civil debate we can start to change the dynamic.”

Arcos has faith that civil discourse will be enough to encourage participation and tolerance through this upcoming presidential election.

“We believe that the coverage over this election has been overwhelmingly negative, and has little to do with informing voters about the policies of our candidates,” Arcos said. “For this reason, we believe it to be of the upmost importance to be able to offer a forum for students to have passionate discussions over the policies of their candidates, and to be able to do so in a civil manner.”

According to Arcos, this event is not about changing minds, but opening them to look past their own paradigm.

“Without a program such as this, it is our belief that students will only be able to take away the negatives portrayed throughout this campaign, and they will not be challenged to consider perspectives beyond their own political silos,” Arcos said.

To avoid bias, there will be many speakers utilizing the Fishbowl Technique to guide the conversation. Everyone will gather in a circle except a selected few, the discussion leaders, who will be in the center to address the audience’s questions or opinions.

“We have recruited students from the Bearkat Democrats, and College Republicans, as well as members from the Student Government Association to speak at this first session, which will be moderated by Dr. Charles Carlson,” Arcos said.

Arcos expects many to attend this free event as GCJD has been doing all it can to publicize this event. He encourages everyone to come for fascinating civil discourse and a chance to get a free t-shirt while supplies last.

The hopeful end result for these discussions will be that students leave with a newfound awareness and understanding of how to deal with difficult issues.

“The goal for this dialogue is for students to realize that they are capable of having important controversial conversations without demeaning one another, or their oppositional viewpoints,” Arcos said. “Whether or not someone’s mind is changed, we hope students will learn respect from this experience and recognize that their opinion is not the only opinion. Only through this challenging of one’s own perceptions can we truly become forever learners.”

There is one comment

  1. Joshua Luke Troxell

    Is there any way of getting in contact with these organizations? The Libertarian party would like to be represented, and I am the president for Youth for Johnson/Weld.

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