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Civil discourse series seeks to cultivate community

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Three-part civil discourse series will be held at the Wyoming Branch of the Kent District Library on April 10,17 and 24.

/Three presentations on civil discourse come to the Wyoming Branch of the Kent District Library

Underwriting support from:

Civil Discourse Series on April 10,17 and 24 at 6:30 p.m., Wyoming Branch, Kent District Library

"Cultivating Community through Civil Discourse"
A partnership of the Kent District Library and the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan
with assistance from the Henry Institute at Calvin College and Warner Norcross & Judd

Tuesday, April 10: David Hooker, University of Notre Dame, on "Searching for a Reconfigured 'We the People.'"

Tuesday, April 17: Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio, on "Were We Better Off with the Cold War and without the Internet?"

Tuesday, April 24: Sarrah Buageila, Institue for Social Policy and Understanding, on "Portraits of American Muslims: Civility in a Pluralistic Society."

All sesssions free and open to the public. More information: or 616-776-1721.


/Notre Dame's David Hooker begins the civil discourse series on April 10.

/Sarrah Buageila will share research on American Muslims in Michigan.

The Kent District Library is partnering with the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan (WACWM) to present a series of programs titled “Cultivating Community through Civil Discourse” on three consecutive Tuesdays in April. The series will take place at the Wyoming Branch of Kent District Library, 3350 Michael Ave. SW.

“If there was ever a time for more focus on civil discourse, I can’t imagine it,” said Michael Van Denend, WACWM’s executive director. “We’re asking three excellent presenters to give our community some ideas about how we might be better at handling contentious topics with truth and grace, with the end goal to build a stronger community by understanding and celebrating our differences.”

The series is as follows:

Tuesday, April 10, 6:30 pm features David Hooker from the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame on “Searching for a Reconfigured ‘We the People.’” Hooker invites audiences to understand the stories that shape our community and how we fit into them, and leaves them with tools for better discourse.

Tuesday, April 17, 6:30 pm features Jack Lessenberry from Michigan Radio on “Were We Better Off with the Cold War and without the Internet?” Lessenberry, a long-time journalist who covered the Soviet Union and arms control issues, examines how and why what we had in common as a nation has eroded—and suggests ways in which we could get a sense of community back.

Tuesday, April 24, 6:30 pm features Sarrah Buageila of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding on “Portraits of American Muslims: Civility in a Pluralistic Community.” Buageila will share recent research done on the Muslim American community in Michigan, shedding light on this religious group so little-known and so often portrayed in a negative light.   

The three events are free and open to the public. No reservations are needed and there is free parking available. For more information on sessions, dates and times, as well as detailed information on speakers, visit or call 616-776-1721.

Helping to fund this community series are the Henry Insitute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College and the law firm Warner Norcross & Judd. 

In existence since 1949, WACWM empowers the people and organizations of West Michigan to engage thoughtfully with the world. WACWM brings timely information and encourages spirited conversation on matters of global importance and national foreign policy through diverse and comprehensive programming. The organization is non-partisan and promises presenters that are credible, topics that are relevant, discussion that is civil and events that are compelling.

WACWM has over 50 member companies and 10 educational institutions as part of its local network, and is itself a member of the national World Affairs Council Association based in Washington, D.C.—consisting of over 90 member-councils across the United States. More information about the council can be found at

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