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Universities as a Platform for Productive Dialogue

By Renee Vongai Mutare

February 22, 2024

In Response to Why the Georgetown Global Dialogues?

The emergence of social media and technology has underscored how interconnected our world truly is, blurring the lines between nations and ideologies, especially with the increasing movement of people across borders. Aligning with Thomas Banchoff and Pankaj Mishra’s argument, it's crucial that we acknowledge the shared nature of our global community and make ongoing adjustments to ensure inclusivity for all. Gone are the days when cultural, philosophical, and spiritual traditions remained isolated; instead, we must actively create environments where diversity not only exists but flourishes. Political agendas should strive not to stifle minority voices but rather to integrate all perspectives to promote cooperation and unity.

Our primary goal should be to engage in dialogue, particularly when facing disagreements. Dialogue doesn't entail surrendering to others' demands, but rather it involves a commitment to mutual understanding, fostering a world where everyone can coexist harmoniously with one another and with our planet. Dialogue nurtures societies that are receptive to change, welcoming it with a willingness to adapt.

Universities serve as ideal platforms for facilitating such exchanges, with diverse minds coming together for a common purpose and producing emerging leaders eager to enact positive change. Within these settings, students recognize their equality, engaging in discussions that generate inclusive solutions reflecting the diversity of their backgrounds. Young people in various educational communities can advocate for social change, from classroom discussions to broader university-wide dialogues like those found in initiatives such as the Georgetown Global Dialogues. These neutral platforms, offering a level playing field for young individuals, hold the potential to generate effective solutions that contribute to our collective aspiration for a better world.

Renee Vongai Mutare (SFS'24) is a senior at Georgetown University in Qatar.