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Robert George (Photo Credit OSU)
Sean Nealon
Published: 04 January 2024

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Two scholars with Ivy League ties will speak Jan. 22 at Oregon State University about the need for universities to lead the way in reviving the art of civil discourse in a society increasingly characterized by division and confrontation.

Cornel West, who teaches at Union Theological Seminary and formerly was a professor at Harvard University and Princeton University, and Robert George, a professor at Princeton, will take part in the event.

The event, “Difficult Conversations: The University’s Role in Restoring Civic Dialogue,” will talk place at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 in the Austin Auditorium of LaSells Stewart Center on Oregon State’s Corvallis campus. It is free to attend and open to the public but registration is required.

Inara Scott, senior associate dean for teaching and learning in the Oregon State College of Business, will moderate the discussion.

West and George, who have forged a deep rapport and high mutual regard despite holding contrasting ideological views, will share insights on conducting challenging discussions with empathy, respect and a shared pursuit of truth, thereby reinforcing the foundations of a vibrant democratic society.

West is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary where he teaches on the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as courses in philosophy of religion and African American critical thought. He is the author of several books, including “Race Matters and Democracy Matters,” “Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud” and most recently, “Black Prophetic Fire.”

George is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton. He served as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and is a former judicial fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States.

He is the author of many books, including “Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality,” “In Defense of Natural Law” and “The Clash of Orthodoxies.”

The event is a partnership between the Office of the Provost and the College of Business.

West is running for president in 2024. He is appearing in his personal capacity at this event and not on behalf of any federal campaign committee.

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