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2018 Dalton Institute

Save the Date for the 2018 Dalton Institute

Who Is My Neighbor?:
The Power of Compassion and the Rhetoric of ‘Us vs. Them’

Antron Mahoney, panelist at the 2016 Institute

Antron Mahoney, panelist at the 2016 Institute

Respect, compassion, and inclusion are concepts widely promoted in civil society. These ideas unite under the religious notion that one should “love thy neighbor.” Often identified in more contemporary contexts as the Golden Rule or the the notion that in times of disagreement an individual should walk a mile in another’s shoes, such ideas are found across faith traditions throughout history:

Christianity: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Mark 12:31)
Judaism: That which is hateful to you do not do to another (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)
Islam: None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself (40 Hadith of an-Nawawi 13)
Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful (Udana-Varga 5.18)
Taoism: I am good to the man who is good to me, likewise, I am good to the bad man (Tao Te Ching)

Intergroup understanding requires an understanding of the ways in which we shape in-group and out-group identities. Who gets to be “in” and who is kept “out”? What characteristics define the border between “us” and “them,” and how do we navigate identities, others’ and our own, when that border is ambiguous or invisible? What are the spoken and unspoken rules that govern our interactions with those we perceive as being one of “us” versus one of “them?”

The recent presidential campaign highlighted social, demographic, and ideological differences in visible, and often uncomfortable, ways. College campuses have become focal points in the battle of ideas about who we are as a nation, where we are headed, and how people of diverse backgrounds are (or are not) granted a claim to the “American” identity.

The 2018 Dalton Institute will explore identity as a power structure and higher education’s role in balancing the values of individual liberty and universal inclusion.

Guiding Questions

These guiding questions are not intended as a comprehensive list, but may provide focus for program proposals and a basis for reflection by all attendees.

  • How do higher education institutions conceptualize and define “diversity?” Do student experiences of difference on campus resemble the story told by institutional data and mission statements?
  • What is the role of free speech in the academy? Are institutional missions better served by free expression, even when that expression may be hurtful to the campus community? Are students better served by the exclusion of controversial speakers, even when such exclusion undermines the marketplace of ideas?
  • Who occupies the identities of “us” and “them” on today’s college campuses? How are demographic shifts changing the way we serve, students, campus communities, and the larger society?
  • How might we leverage spirituality, secular values, and our missions as institutions of higher education to better support learning, development, and success for students, faculty, staff, and our communities?

Important Dates

July 31, 2017 Call for Awards Opens
July 31, 2017 Call for Programs & Papers Opens
Sept. 5, 2017 Registration Opens
Oct. 2, 2017 Award Nomination Deadline
Oct. 2, 2017 Program/Paper Proposal Deadline
Nov. 3, 2017 Program Acceptances Emailed
Nov. 20, 2017 Award Winners Notified
Dec. 1, 2017 Earlybird Registration Deadline
Jan. (TBD), 2017 Hotel Block Rates Expire
Feb. 1-3, 2018 28th Annual Dalton Institute (Registration Opens Sept. 5, 2017)

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