Coexistence: Learning about each other from each other; an Interactive Seminar and Discussion

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DeJesús-Rueff, Richard
Through thought provoking exercises and activities, this session empowers students to overcome fears based on stereotypes and misperceptions by listening to and learning from others. In life, we will come face to face with someone that thinks differently than ourselves. It is at this critical moment when we are faced with a choice: do we let our preconceived notions of this person, due to race, gender, or religion, dictate the way we interact with him or her? Or do we cast aside biases and openly embrace the other for his or her beliefs, while sharing our own? The latter is a skill that can be achieved through guided training and practice which encourages probing the inner self in order to overcome the barriers we set up, the barriers that prevent us from recognizing and sharing each other’s humanity. In this day and age, learning to embrace differing views is not only a skill necessary for our current leaders, but also a must-have for the students that will become tomorrow’s leaders. The first part of this session gives participants exposure to the art of dialogue through a group breakout session focused on listening and learning. The second component centers on presenting the salient points of establishing effective moderated discussion regarding issues of spirituality. The final aspect of this session invites participants to overcome misconceptions or fears they may have about others through a unique introspection exercise.