Dr. Lukensmeyer

Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer

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OHIO’s new ‘Challenging Dialogues’ lecture series begins Jan. 24

Series to provide outlet for campus-wide discussions of varied issues sparking national, international debate


The first lecture in Ohio University’s new “Challenging Dialogues” lecture series will take place at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 in Baker University Center Ballroom A with Executive Director Emerita of the National Institute for Civil Discourse Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer.

The lecture, which will also be live-streamed, is free and open to the public.

Dr. Lukensmeyer is the founder of AmericaSpeaks, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that is internationally renowned as being a leader in the field of deliberative democracy and citizen engagement. 

The lecture, entitled “The Power of In/Civility: Engaging in Challenging Conversations Across the University, Community, Nation,” will include audience members in a thought-provoking dialogue. Dr. Robert IngramDr. Laura Black and Dr. Lukensmeyer will lead a discussion following the lecture. 

"It is natural for complex cultures to experience opposing forces that clash, and exploring the ways in which those on opposite ends of the spectrum communicate with one another is extremely important,” said Dr. Lukensmeyer. “Educating the public regarding how to engage with, and respond to, individuals whose viewpoints differ from their own is vital to maintaining a deliberative democracy.”

Prior to her evening lecture, Dr. Lukensmeyer will also host a scholarly discussion at 3 p.m. on Jan. 24 in Baker University Center Room 240. Limited seating is available, and individuals are encouraged to arrive early to reserve a space. 

The purpose of the “Challenging Dialogues” lecture series, which was identified as a strategic priority for OHIO by President M. Duane Nellis, is to provide outlets for constructive conversations regarding contemporary issues that spark national and/or international attention. The lecture series, and its topics, are being spearheaded by the Challenging Dialogues for Contemporary Issues task force, which was formed by President Nellis in April 2018. 

The ongoing speaker series is anticipated to vary in style and format based on topics and presenters; formalized lectures, panel discussions or multiple “Ted Talk-style” presentations are possible.

President Nellis said he believes it is higher education’s responsibility to serve the greater good by expanding and improving humankind’s understanding of the world around us. He added that he hopes this lecture series will help to bring clarity to a world too often clouded in confusion. 

“I look forward to hearing Dr. Lukensmeyer’s interactive presentation,” said President Nellis. “I hope attendees are able to take the knowledge they acquire from this new lecture series and positively apply it during their own difficult dialogues.”