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Hearing Each Other for Healthy Community - Starts Summer Health Series

UAF Summer Sessions and Lifelong Learning

As American discourse has become more polarized in recent decades, a few groups around the country are working on getting people to listen to each other. One of those is American Public Square, founded by Allan Katz.

Katz is the first speaker to open the Healthy Living Lecture Series in Fairbanks tonight.

“People in Fairbanks will know what I’m talking about within their community in terms of we’ve lost the ability to see the perspective of someone of whom we disagree.”

Katz has been to Fairbanks several times and has family here.

He will talk about using civil discourse to bridge the partisan divide. He says it will ask residents to examine what they are doing that undermines their own goals for the community.

?And what I always try to explain to people is, this doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to agree. In fact, one of the great things about America is that we don’t have to agree. But we don’t have to demonize our opponents; we have a tendency to ascribe very bad motives to them if they don’t agree with us.”

Katz is the son of a holocaust survivor, was America’s ambassador to Portugal, and founded American Public Square in Kansas City in 2013. His talk will be called Building Healthy Communities: Resetting Expectations. The Need for Civil Discourse.

Michelle Bartlett, who coordinates the lecture events, says Katz’s talk may not seem health-related, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put a focus on community health.

The Healthy Living Lecture series is part of the UAF Summer Sessions and Lifelong Learning evening presentations. It is its 10th year and has a new location, and, Bartlett says, will also be online.

“This year it has been moved to the E-life building, and that is the new engineering building in the main quadrangle. One of the reasons that it’s up there is we’re going to be web streaming, which is for the first time, so that anybody, anywhere can watch it in real time.”

Tonight’s presentation is at 7 p.m. in the BP Design Theatre or on the Summer Sessions website.