Pella — In an age of polarized viewpoints and extremist-driven agendas, a unique New York-based non-governmental organization, Intersections International, will promote mutual understanding and dialogue while in residence at Central College Oct. 28-31.
“Welcome the Stranger” is the theme for the week’s activities, which include a dialogue between central Iowa military veterans and civilians, intended as a community-building and social healing exercise. The veteran-civilian program addresses the cost of conflict in society by providing tools for reconciliation and healing. All veterans and civilians from the community are welcome to participate in the conversation in the Sutphen Common Room in the Graham Annex on campus Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.
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. Six members from the different programs will be visiting campus and hosting events, including Rev. Robert Chase, the founding director of Intersections International.
The group will also lead workshops, classroom presentations and a teach-in during the week. A public convocation October 31 at 11 a.m. in Douwstra Auditorium will be based on what the group learns during its visit and all in attendance are encouraged to be involved.
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.
Chris Chartier, director of the Jasper County Office of Veterans Affairs, will participate in the veteran-civilian dialogue.
“What this forum provides is an open opportunity not for therapy, and not for politics, but an environment for people who are interested to sit down with veterans and address some of the questions or concerns they may have,” Chartier said. “By opening a dialogue where neither party is the focus, everyone’s attention can be focused on understanding differences, and hopefully creating a better community for all of our returning veterans.”