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March 13, 2019 at 8:34 am

Nellis in Dispatch | Civil Discourse Is Skill We Can Learn, Practice

President M. Duane Nellis, shown with 21st president logo

President M. Duane Nellis

Dr. M. Duane Nellis, President of Ohio University, authored a column in the Columbus Dispatch headlined “Civil discourse is a skill we can learn to practice.”

Nellis writes about the National Institute for Civil Discourse “tools that everyone can use in their homes, in their places of work and places of worship to start improving the quality of their conversations.”

We recently invited Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Executive Director Emerita for the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD), to our Athens campus to serve as the inaugural keynote speaker in this new series. Throughout her lecture, entitled “The Power of In/Civility: Engaging in Challenging Conversations Across the University, Community, Nation,” Dr. Lukensmeyer encouraged the audience to, no matter how hard, find common ground with someone they disagree with. If democracy is going to work, she explained, it has to be a conversation — but the quality of that conversation really matters.

We are living in a time with enormous challenges. Our actions may not correct overnight the broader national issues of incivility, but we can immediately change the quality of conversation in the circles of influence in each of our own lives. Only through this capacity to connect on that level can we have a chance of discovering common ground. And if we are able to call on our shared values of respect, civility and empathy, we will be a better society for it.

Read more in the Columbus Dispatch.

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