UND Conflict Resolution to focus on politics and ‘civility in public conversation’ at annual symposium

The University of North Dakota Conflict Resolution Center (CRC) will explore the current state of political and public discourse at its fifth annual “Symposia on Conflict Transformation” seminar.

The CRC wants to use the occasion to talk about “civility in public conversation” and its impacts on society locally and beyond. The symposium is set for May 21-25, 2012. Most events will take place at in the River Valley Room of the UND Memorial Union.

Former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, a UND alumnus whose spent more than 30 years in local, state and national politics, will be a guest speaker for the event.

This year, its 25th anniversary as an organization, the CRC is adjusting its focus from personal/interpersonal and organizational concerns and moving more toward public arena issues, according to Kristine Paranica, CRC director.

“In fact, we are hitting the campaign trail by engaging in one of the hottest topics of our time,” she said. “We are inviting the public to talk about why we can’t debate and engage without inciting riots and taking hardline and extreme positions; and why Washington has gone from a place where our representatives could have lunch and still fight hard for what they believe to be right, to large empty spaces where you can’t be seen talking to someone across party lines.”

The CRC would like to use the seminar to provide a better understanding of civility across the United States, in Washington as well as in North Dakota. The seminar will detail possible causes of incivility in the public arena and how it influences society and democracies. It will also identify the potential pitfall s or consequences of public incivility.  The week will end with training civility from The Civility Experts from Winnipeg.

To learn more about this CRC seminar or about the organization, call 701.777.3664, or go to http://conflictresolution.und.edu

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