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Casey to join panel discussion on Sept. 22

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Brian Casey
GREENCASTLE -- DePauw University President Brian Casey will participate in a Sept. 22 panel discussion led by Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, that will examine "Civility in a Fractured Society."

Presented as part of Leach's 50-state "Civility Tour" and sponsored by the Indiana Humanities Council, the program will examine the state of civil discourse and consider how arts, culture and the humanities can help to heal divisions and lead to more meaningful conversations.

The event will take place at the Indianapolis Museum of Art's Toby Theater. Joining Leach and Casey on the stage will be Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck; and moderator Kathryn Kennison, the Director of the E.C. and Bertha C. Ball Center at Ball State University.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., with the discussion commencing at 9. A brief question-and-answer session will follow.

Members of the public are invited to attend, but pre-registration is required. RSVP by sending an e-mail to mkaufmann@indianahumanities.org.

"As Chairman Leach challenges Americans to examine the ways we disagree, he also urges us to consider the ways the humanities can instruct and inform our debates," said Keira Amstutz, president of the Indiana Humanities Council and 1991 DePauw graduate. "This panel discussion will help Hoosiers engage in and champion the kinds of constructive conversations necessary to get us through these challenging times."

Launched in November 2009, Leach's Civility Tour seeks to call attention to the need for civility in public discourse. He worries that America's leaders and citizens have increasingly resorted to extremist rhetoric, abandoning civil debate and discourse for name-calling, and provocative actions. We must reverse that trend, he says, if we are to continue to earn the respect of each other and the nations around the world.

"Civilization requires civility," Leach said. "Words matter. Little is more important for the world's leading democracy in this change-intensive century than establishing an ethos of thoughtfulness and decency of expression in the public square."

Leach took over as chairman of the NEH in August 2009 after serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years. Representing southeastern Iowa, Leach served on a number of committees, and was the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Humanities Caucus.

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