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Kroc program aims to increase discussion of current events

Guyer, Meryl | Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Political Science professor Dan Lindley met with students for lunch on Friday to discuss and debate on current events. Lindley is mediator of the lunch program, sponsored by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.Talk during Friday’s session was dominated by issues concerning the war in Iraq, but discussion is not normally limited to wartime issues. “I want students to bring their own interests and talk about any old thing,” Lindley said. “I don’t have any set agenda.” Lindley also made reference to students bringing issues they encountered during study abroad experiences or summer internships. The series of lunches is still in its early stages of development, but Lindley said he hopes it will foster more academic involvement among students in a casual setting. “Ideally … [it will] get people from different points of view together, liberals having one view and conservatives having another and turn it into a sort of mini debate between people,” he said. Students who have participated in the discussions agree.”[The table] encourages students to consider and discuss current events, which is reallyimportant no matter what major someone is,” said junior Melissa DeLeon. “Especially with the upcoming elections, the school needs to encourage dialogue like this so students will be more informed.” This sort of open discussion is also designed to help students think on their feet and perform in a scholarly debate. Though the lunch series was not developed in response to the report of students’ limited academic involvement published in The Observer last fall, Lindley said he does agree that it is in the same intellectual context, one that has been supported by the Dean.Expansion is also a goal of the current events table, though Lindley looks past increasing publicity with posters or all campus e-mails.”It should just be for fun, so ideally word of mouth would be enough,” he said. “My suspicion is that people who will come to this lunch are people who are interested and interesting. This is one of those times, as a professor, you just sit there feeling humbled by your students just because they have such neat experiences and are so smart … I really enjoy that.”Lindley is also presenting a panel on issues involving the war in Iraq scheduled for March 2, to be followed on March 3 by a showing of Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove.”