Think Potluck, Not 'Melting Pot’

March 08, 2024

“Alasdair McIntyre at Notre Dame says that a university initiates you into constrained conflict—what a beautiful insight,” said Patel. “A university initiates you into constrained conflict, and it teaches you how to order your arguments about a nation's conflicts in a rational way. I'm like, well, you should go to NYU and see what they built.”Carter said that, amidst so much conflict and division this year, members of the NYU community have expressed feeling disheartened about the diversity and interfaith work they had invested so much in. “​​I was born now so I can have my impact now,” said Patel. Student events will include workshops on “Cultivating Community” and “Developing Emotional Agility,” while faculty and staff will be invited to participate in Around the Table dinners and more.

After the lecture, Patel was joined by Melissa Carter, senior director for Global Spiritual Life at NYU, and the two discussed the role that universities can play in navigating the most difficult conversations. In her introduction, Carter explained that “Each of us live this life within our own bodies and perceive the world through those bodies, which means our perspectives, our experiences, and our understandings will be different, even conflicting.” This inevitability was at the center of Patel’s November 2023 Inside Higher Ed article, which posited that these differences make colleges the perfect institutions to process complex issues.

“Alasdair McIntyre at Notre Dame says that a university initiates you into constrained conflict—what a beautiful insight,” said Patel. “A university initiates you into constrained conflict, and it teaches you how to order your arguments about a nation's conflicts in a rational way. 

“What else do you do? You help set the civic priorities of the nation. The things that matter at universities come to matter in the nation. It's really important you create a knowledge base around those civic priorities. You help adolescents become adults. Those adults go on to lead some of the nation's most important sectors.”

Patel lauded the contributions made by centers such as NYU Global Spiritual Life, noting: “Whenever people say, you know, what could an interfaith space look like on a college campus? I'm like, well, you should go to NYU and see what they built.”

Carter said that, amidst so much conflict and division this year, members of the NYU community have expressed feeling disheartened about the diversity and interfaith work they had invested so much in. Patel referenced a speech given by Martin Luther King Jr., who said that if he could live in any era of human history, he would pick his own because it is the era in which he had the clearest sight lines to have an impact. 

“​​I was born now so I can have my impact now,” said Patel. “This goes back to the idea of what if you thought of yourself as one of the most privileged people in human history, and part of the privilege is: You are here now.”

The NYU In Dialogue discussions aim to help our campus community flourish by expanding our capacity to listen, learn, and value different perspectives. The series brings together great minds from within the University and guests from around the world to gather for events, workshops, and performances that stimulate thoughtful conversations about the pressing issues of the day. 

Future talks feature David Greene, host of the radio show Left, Right, and Center, and guests (March 25); NYU’s Jonathan Haidt (April 17) on the “anxious generation;” and author Mónica Guzmán (April 23) on her book I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times. Student events will include workshops on “Cultivating Community” and “Developing Emotional Agility,” while faculty and staff will be invited to participate in Around the Table dinners and more.

The source of this news is from New York University

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