Emory Report

April 24, 2000

 Volume 52, No. 30

Frye on the Year of Reconciliation

To the Emory community,

As you know, President Bill Chace has declared the academic year 2000-2001 the "Year of Reconciliation." The intention of this is to recognize the turn of the millennium in a way that will highlight the work of Emory faculty, students and staff; promote dialogue about matters of importance to all of us; and encourage discussion about the future of the University.

If we take the core idea of reconciliation to be the resolution of differences through an honorable search for truth and understanding, the beauty of it as a theme for the year is immediately apparent, for each of us can interpret it, whether literally or metaphorically, in a way that can encourage shared reflection and activity across the community and that is consistent with our own goals.

The centerpiece of the year will be the Symposium on Reconciliation, to be held Jan. 25-28, 2001. The symposium will begin with a keynote address by President Jimmy Carter on the evening of Jan. 25. Other principal guests will include Ambassador and Emory President Emeritus James Laney, Professor Edward Wilson of Harvard University, Justice Richard Goldstone of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, John D'Arms, President of the American Council of Learned Societies, and U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

Although the formal details of the symposium are still being worked out, an exciting program is shaping up that will appeal to many interests. It will consist of some 12 to 14 sessions, including panel discussions on global and regional conflict, the environment, health care, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, violence, social justice, psychological and spiritual responses to conflict, science and religion, and issues of reconciliation within the academy, such as competing academic values, consilience of the academic disciplines and commercialization of the academy.

Each session is being organized by a prominent Emory faculty member, and many University faculty will be involved as speakers and panelists for the sessions. A list of these individuals will be available on our website (currently under construction) at www.emory. edu/PROVOST/ReconciliationSymposium.

In order to increase the lasting impact of the symposium, the final plenary session will be conducted by Provost Rebecca Chopp, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Michael Johns and several of the deans, who will explore the implications of the symposium for Emory. In addition, workshops will be conducted on several of the session topics following the symposium, providing an opportunity for further discussion and for exploring possible courses for acting on ideas that emerge from the symposium.

The symposium will end with a special service in either Glenn Church or Cannon Chapel on Sunday, Jan. 28.

Other than the symposium, the Year of Reconciliation will provide many opportunities to explore the reconciliation theme. Already this spring, the Association of Emory Alumni has held its annual Alumni Assembly on this theme.

Events planned for next year include a town hall discussion with President Carter and a lecture by Professor Wayne Booth on "The Rhetoric of Reconciliation." In addition, there will be special lectures, courses and seminars, musical and theatrical events, devotional services, and service projects. We hope all units of the University-the various schools, departments, programs, centers and institutes, Campus Life, Human Resources, Employee Council, Student Government Association and other student groups-will plan activities around the theme of reconciliation.

A committee on the Year of Reconciliation has been formed to help coordinate and publicize such activities, and we ask that you call your activity to our attention. We will list related activities on our website and on a calendar of events that will be regularly published in Emory Report and elsewhere.

A "reconciliation" logo will be distributed soon and we hope it will be widely used as a way of identifying such activities with the Year of Reconciliation. Karen Poremski has been named coordinator of the symposium, and we ask those who are planning year-related activities to notify either Karen at 404-712-9280 or Jan Cahoon at 404-727-8796.

The co-chairs of the Committee on Reconciliation are myself, Robert Agnew, Steve Kraftchick and John Stone, and any of these individuals will be happy to discuss your ideas with you.

Please mark the dates of the symposium on your calendar now and plan to participate in as much of it and as many of the related events as possible. In addition, we urge you to incorporate the theme of reconciliation into your other activities next year insofar as it is appropriate.

We hope faculty will encourage their students to attend the symposium, especially any sessions that are particularly pertinent to the content of the class. And, in consultation with your dean, chair or other responsible person, we hope you and your unit will consider focusing regular lecture series, seminars, convocations, meetings and/or at least one special lecture on the theme of reconciliation during the year. Watch for further information from time to time via our website, e-mail and in Emory Report.

The spirit of the Year of Reconciliation will not passively come upon us but will emerge from our collective attention to the ways in which the idea of reconciliation bears upon our lives. Please plan to be an active participant and help us to make this a year of concerted dialogue and action.


Billy Frye


Emory University

Return to April 24, 2000 contents page