Illinois Association for Cultural Diversity

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18th Dealing with Difference Institute
May 17 and 18, 2011
Multicultural Center, Western Illinois University
Macomb, IL 61455

The 2011 Dealing with Difference Institute is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, May 17 and 18, in the Western Illinois University Multicultural Center on West Murray Street (C.T. Vivian Way) in Macomb, Illinois. The presentations and discussions during this 18th annual institute will revolve around the theme of Fear: Its Uses and Abuses.

Fear was chosen as the theme because of its relevance in the lives of a large portion of the world's population. It is used by many political as well as spiritual leaders, by news reporters and commentators, by local and national as well as global pundits, by friends and foes. It can inspire, incite, persuade, dissuade, and encourage or discourage communication and action. It can be a life-saving force or an unhealthy and isolating influence. Its dimensions encompass the biological, the political, the social, and the spiritual. Its history and continuing potential as a force used to derail and destroy cross-cultural initiatives underscores the importance of getting a handle on it. Though it can direct an individual's or group's actions, neither individuals nor groups need succumb to its power.

Given its power, deepening our understanding of how fear works and strengthening our skills to undercut its destructiveness can be useful to educators whether they identify primarily as teachers, mentors, administrators, students, citizens, or family and community members. A primary goal of this institute is to deepen the understanding and strengthen the skills of participants so they can more effectively counter the inappropriate use of fear, fear that keeps us from working together whether we are in apparently homogenous or distinctly heterogeneous settings. Institute facilitators will seek to engage participants in interactive sessions to explore fear, its construction and use as well as viable ways to deconstruct it and render it harmless.

The DWDI will open with a keynote presentation by Dr. Shakti Butler, a filmmaker and the Executive Director of World Trust, at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17th and end at 3:00 p.m. on May 18th. Complete information about the institute presenters, program, and registration will be available on the Illinois Association for Cultural Diversity website (http://www.wiu.edu/iacd) by March, 2011. Questions can be directed to the DWDI co-directors: Janice Welsch (jr-welsch@wiu.edu / 309-298-2057) or J.Q. Adams (jq-adams@wiu.edu / 309-298-3698).

The institute is co-sponsored by Western Illinois University's Expanding Cultural Diversity Project, WIU's Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research, and the Illinois Association for Cultural Diversity.