15:02 PM

Ohio State hosts conversation on repairing nation’s “social fabric”

Speakers include New York Times columnist David Brooks

Following a contentious lead-up to the transfer of power in the nation, The Ohio State University will host a conversation on how to repair a divided nation.

Tomorrow, President Kristina M. Johnson will host “Becoming Weavers in a Divided Nation,” part of the university’s Education for Citizenship dialogue series. The live event will take place from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. over Zoom. The conversation is free and open to the public. 

Johnson will host and deliver introductory remarks. David Brooks, the influential New York Times columnist and founder of the Aspen Institute’s “Weave: The Social Fabric Project,” will discuss the project’s work to weave together the social fabric, and a panel of Ohio State students, faculty and staff will share short illustrations about how they’ve engaged in “weaving” work.

“The Weaver movement is repairing our country’s social fabric, which is badly frayed by distrust, division and exclusion,” Brooks wrote. “People are quietly working across America to end loneliness and isolation and weave inclusive communities. Join us in shifting our culture from hyper-individualism that is all about personal success, to relationalism that puts relationships at the center of our lives.”

Brooks will be joined by members of the Ohio State community who are committed to building stronger communities. Speakers include:

  • Sarah Cole, Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Norman Jones, dean and director, Ohio State Mansfield
  • Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, associate vice provost for diversity and inclusion
  • Teri Murphy, co-director of Conflict to Peace Lab, Mershon Center for International Security Studies
  • Gene Smith, senior vice president and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director
  • Lena Tenney, diversity, equity and inclusion officer, College of Pharmacy

The Education for Citizenship Initiative aims to inspire the university community to engage deeply, with integrity and respect, when expressing ideas and beliefs, be it in word or action. The initiative reflects the university motto, “education for citizenship,” and the mission to develop informed citizens who are able to integrate what they’ve learned in the classroom into their community.

“Fostering civil discourse – even, and perhaps especially – among those who strongly disagree, is a hallmark of what we do as an institution of higher learning,” Johnson wrote in a message to the university community.

Subsequent discussions are planned for Jan. 28 and Feb. 4. Details are available on the Education for Citizenship Initiative website along with resources for respectful and productive dialogue.

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