In an age of polarized viewpoints and extremist-driven agendas, a unique New York-based non-governmental organization, Intersections International, promoted mutual understanding and dialogue while in residence at Central Oct. 28-31.
The theme for the week’s activities was “Welcome the Stranger” which included a dialogue between central Iowa military veterans and civilians, intended as a community-building and social healing exercise. The veteran-civilian program addressed the cost of conflict in society by providing tools for reconciliation and healing. The group also led workshops, classroom presentations, a convocation and a teach-in during the week.
“The residence was premised on interaction and active involvement with a wide range of the campus community,” says Lyn Isaacson, associate dean for global education. “Between workshops for student leaders, student development, staff and faculty, class visits, work with music ensembles, chapel, the veteran-civilian dialogue and the culminating convocation, we estimate more than 500 people were involved. Through all of these events we were reminded of the importance of listening and opening ourselves to the lived reality of others as the first step in meaningful dialogue across lines of difference.”
Intersections International programming covers a range of topics, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, values-based leadership, global peacemaking initiatives and the role of the arts in change for social justice.
Intersections International works in communities of conflict by promoting peace through dialogue and uses direct service programs, advocacy, educational and informational outreach. It is a global initiative of the Collegiate Church of New York in New York City.