The Washington University in St. Louis community will come together Feb. 19-20 for the fifth annual Day of Discovery, Dialogue & Action event. This year’s theme is “Dialogues Across Difference” and will focus on the ways we communicate with each other, particularly on difficult topics and during challenging times.
Established in 2015, the Day of Discovery, Dialogue & Action is an opportunity for members of the university community to come together to explore our shared core values and to reaffirm our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
This year’s event will begin with a keynote address by internationally acclaimed advocate, scholar, educator and best-selling author Irshad Manji. Described as the “master of moral courage” by CBS News journalist Lesley Stahl, Manji is the founder of the Moral Courage Project, an initiative that aims to help young people speak truth to power within their own communities. Her latest book, “Don’t Label Me: An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times,” will release later this month and already is being heralded as an important and powerful work. Recognizing Manji’s leadership, Oprah Winfrey honored her with the Chutzpah Award for “audacity, nerve, boldness and conviction.”
Manji’s talk, which will take place at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the Eric P. Newman Education Center on the Medical Campus, is free and open to the public. It will be followed by a panel discussion and book signing, with complimentary advance copies of “Don’t Label Me” distributed to the first 250 participants.
Events scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 20, all of which will be held in Hillman Hall on the Danforth Campus, unless otherwise noted, include:
- 8:30 a.m. – Welcome and opening remarks from Chancellor-elect Andrew D. Martin and Lori S. White, vice chancellor for student affairs.
- 9 a.m. – “WU in Focus: A Closer Look at Issues that Matter.” This session will focus on the special issue, “WU: In Focus, A Closer Look at the Issues that Matter,” published last fall in Student Life.
- 10:15 a.m. – “When You Feel Some Kind of Way: Tools for Dialoguing Across Differences.” In this interactive session, participants will be presented with tools to help navigate difficult conversations and dialoguing across differences.
- 11:15 a.m. – “Field Notes: Reflections from WashU’s Diversity Practitioners.” This panel discussion will highlight people at Washington University whose work revolves around creating a more inclusive campus climate. Panelists will share the personal and professional journeys that led to their current positions and offer examples of the many ways they have been able to affect change through their spheres of influence.
- 1:30-4:30 p.m. – Engagement opportunities, including a trip to Gateway Arch National Park and the Old Courthouse; sessions on collaborative engagement in St. Louis, non-violent communication and developing and supporting diverse teams
- 2-4:30 p.m. and 6-8:30 p.m. – Screenings of the film “The Color of Medicine,” which traces the rise and fall of St. Louis’ premier black hospital, Homer G. Philips.
Additionally, two events on the Medical Campus also will take place on Feb. 20:
- Noon-1:30 p.m. – “Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide” with Michelle Whitthaus, program manager, Health Equity Works. Holden Auditorium, Farrell Learning and Teaching Center.
- 4:30-6:30 p.m. – “The Ordinary Origins of Bias” with Calvin Lai, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences, Conner Auditorium, Farrell Learning and Teaching Center.
During lunch, a service fair will be held with local agencies on hand to give participants insight into how they can use their strengths and talents to make a difference in the St. Louis region.
Participants also are invited to submit a reflection and/or a photo through the “I Am…” Project, which will highlight the various lived social identities in the university community.