Emory Report
January 20, 2009
Volume 61, Number 16



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January 20
, 2009
Encouraging dialogue on difficult issues


The current crisis in the Middle East has sparked controversy around the world on how to resolve issues in the region.

But in many cases, it has proven difficult for people to engage in meaningful discussion of these volatile issues, a fact that the Office of the Provost plans to address this semester through a series of activities designed to foster inquiry, and to help develop skills, knowledge and understanding.

For the past two years Emory has used this framework to tackle some of humanity’s most vexing subjects, from evolution to predictive health, religious diversity to social isolation, HIV/AIDs prevention to conflict in the Middle East, with the overall goal of inviting broader communication and understanding of these issues.

“Recent events in the Middle East again underscore the importance of sustained conversation about difficult topics,” says Earl Lewis, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Universities can’t resolve conflict in the Middle East, but we can provide a forum in which all members of the community are invited to take part in the dialogue, to share their expertise and experience, and also to learn from others.”

One of the first activities in the new series is “Prayers for Peace and the Peoples of the Middle East,” which will take place 12–12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 21, in Cannon Chapel. The service is sponsored by the Office of Religious Life. All students, faculty and staff are invited to gather for a time of reflection and prayer.