Conflict, Understanding, Respect and Peace: Northeastern Reflects

Mission of the Series

At their best, campus communities model the dialogue and respect for difference that we so often find missing in the wider world. Recognition of diversity is central to building a strong campus as well as a fully functioning society. And yet campuses can also be subject to efforts, sometimes from the outside, to sow conflict based on religion, race, ethnicity, citizenship, sexual orientation or other individual traits. Northeastern faculty and students are deeply engaged in studying the promises of diversity as well as the roots of hatred and violence from a wide variety of perspectives and in numerous locations of the globe. Students and faculty also participate actively in local, national and international efforts directed at preventing violence, resolving conflict, and building peace.

As members of the Northeastern community we recognize that our work abroad can only be effective if we carefully reflect on our challenges at home. In fact appreciating diversity and building bridges across our differences are essential for establishing sustainable communities over the long term and for educating global citizens.

In the spirit of elevating civility and ethical reasoning on campus and in the wider world, the College of Social Sciences and Humanities and the Office of Student Affairs will organize a yearlong series of six events hosted by Distinguished Professor of Political Science Michael S. Dukakis. The opening event will have the theme “Understanding Hate.” Each event will trace the arc from recognizing conflict or injustice to building peace. These events are open to the entire University community and are designed to spark broad conversations about both the challenges and promises of increasingly diverse societies.

To build what we call civic sustainability on our campus, faculty from the College of Social Science and Humanities together with Northeastern’s Office of Student Affairs are offering programming linked to the core events. These programs will invite our students into a deeper conversation in a wide array of venues, from the residence halls to orientation sessions. We also invite Northeastern faculty from any field to integrate aspects of this effort into their courses or extra-curricular activities.

Together, we can become pioneers in civic sustainability—practicing civility in engaging with diverse opinions and in acknowledging wrongs of the past, broadening personal networks, finding common ground in social action, and making the world a better place.