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University of Iowa News Release

 

Sept. 18, 2008

Diversity Dialogue Circles encourage exploration of race, gender, age and more

As America prepares to elect a new president and vice president on Nov. 4, issues of race, gender and age dominate discussions in the media about the candidates in both major political parties like never before.

The Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) at the University of Iowa is offering Diversity Dialogue Circles to women and men at the UI and from surrounding communities to explore these issues and many more.

The goal is to provide a forum to explore issues of what it means to be an American in today's society, as well as the relationship between nation, race, age, religion, gender and sexuality.

"The current presidential election campaign has placed issues of race, gender, class, age and other aspects of identity in the national spotlight," said Linda Kroon, WRAC operations coordinator. "Unfortunately, little of the public conversation has taken place in a thoughtful, respectful way, but rather has served to polarize and harden positions."

Kroon said that the Diversity Dialogue Circles offer an opportunity for people to have "stimulating, lively conversations in a setting, which is geared not to producing 'winners' and 'losers' but rather to deepening understanding for all participants."

The circles will meet for eight consecutive weeks beginning September 23 and 25, culminating the week of November 10. They will be held at WRAC, located at 130 N. Madison Street, across the street from the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City. The program is free and open to the public. Participants must pre-register online and choose which day they will attend the weekly circles. Information is available at http://www.uiowa.edu/%7Ewrac/DiversityDialogues.htm.

Another purpose of the circles is to raise participants' awareness of issues related to diversity and dynamics of power and privilege that are present in American society.

Diversity Dialogues Circles Coordinator Christy Clark said she expects the circles to be "a wonderful experience for personal and community growth."

For more information or special accommodations to participate in the Diversity Dialogue Circles, call 319-335-1486 or contact Kroon at linda-kroon@uiowa.edu or Clark at christy-clark@uiowa.edu.

WRAC is a diverse community dedicated to fostering women's individual empowerment and systemic solutions to all forms of oppression. The center leads and collaborates on projects that serve UI students, staff, faculty and the greater community. The center is a department within the UI Division of Student Services and has a tradition of serving both members of the greater Iowa City area and the university community. For more information, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~wrac/.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Linda Kroon, WRAC, 319-335-1487, linda-kroon@uiowa.edu; Christy Clark, WRAC, 319-335-1486, christy-clark@uiowa.edu; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077, lois-gray@uiowa.edu; Writer: Caroline Jones