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Edith Stein Project to discuss love, relationships, dignity

Justin Tardiff | Friday, February 13, 2009

The fourth annual Edith Stein Project will focus on issues relating to love through a variety of events, including 25 speakers and two panel discussions.

“Our purpose is to engage men and women in discussion on their inherent worth and dignity in a manner that is relevant to everyday life, with an emphasis on the dignity of women,” said senior Caitilin Podlaski, the chair of the conference.

Podlaski said she hopes that between 300 and 400 participants will attend the conference on Friday and Saturday.

The conference presents views of human dignity based on optimism and the teachings of the Catholic Church, she said.

“We hope that this conference compels and empowers men and women to evaluate honestly their own lives and relationships,” she said.

Podlaski has attended each of the four Edith Stein Projects, which is hosted by the Identity Project of Notre Dame (idND). idND became an official club after the first Edith Stein Project in 2006, she said.

“It all began with a group of friends with a passion for the beauty and inherent worth of every person,” she said.

Although online registration closed Wednesday, Podlaski said people could still attend as many of the events as they like. Most events will be held in McKenna Hall.

Two of the 25 speakers are Film, Television and Theatre professors Susan Ohmer and Don Crafton, who will give a presentation on “Love in Film and Television” Friday evening.

The project’s Web site lists the schedule of events, including speakers on issues such as homosexuality, contraception, family life and healthy relationships.

The two panels during the conference will feature student speakers, who Podlaski said offer unique perspectives on the issues.

According to the conference Web site, Friday afternoon’s panel will examine the hook-up culture and how it is related to the difference between internal and external beauty.

Podlaski said Saturday afternoon’s panel concerns violence against women.

“We have several students on the panel, and some of them share very personal stories,” she said. “It is eye-opening and yet also very inspiring.”

The conference concludes Saturday evening with a formal banquet.

Podlaski hopes that students will experience new points of view by attending the conference.

“People may or may not agree with all of the positions presented, but this is an academic conference,” she said. “Therefore, diverse opinions are not only encouraged but absolutely necessary for fruitful dialogue and for the conference to fulfill its mission.”