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The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Dartmouth Dialogues initiative introduced, series of projects to roll out

One of the projects, called the Dialogue Project, will focus on the undergraduate community and aims to develop “collaborative dialogue skills” through guest speakers, special topics series and workshops.

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This morning, College President Sian Beilock sent an email to campus that introduced  Dartmouth Dialogues, a series of new initiatives that seek to facilitate conversations across  different perspectives within the campus community. According to the email, Dartmouth Dialogues will involve “every school, center, department, division and classroom at Dartmouth.”

One of the Dartmouth Dialogues initiatives is the Dialogue Project, which Beilock described as a “cornerstone” of the plan in her email. According to the Dartmouth Dialogues web page, the Dialogue Project will specifically focus on the undergraduate experience and aims to develop “essential, collaborative dialogue skills” at the College. 

Led by Dean of Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Smith and Director of Student and Staff Initiatives  Kristi Clemens, the Dialogue Project features guest speakers, workshops and a partnership with StoryCorps’ One Small Step program. According to Beilock’s email, One Small Step will have two strangers with different viewpoints record a conversation about their lives, so they can “discover their shared humanity.”  

“We are at a critical moment when we seem to have lost the ability — and the will — to listen to and understand perspectives beyond our own,” Smith said, according to an article from Dartmouth News. “Dialogue enables us to recognize and build upon our shared humanity.” 

Beilock has previously shared her goal of fostering campus discussions on various topics. In her  inaugural address in September, she mentioned creating “brave spaces,” or spaces where students feel comfortable sharing different perspectives. In today’s campus-wide email, she wrote that her efforts to foster different perspectives on issues have “never been clearer to me than over the past three months.”

In her email today, Beilock also outlined some of the upcoming events, including a speech from former Sen. Rob Portman ’78, R-Ohio, at the Tuck School of Business tomorrow, as well as a speech from Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on Jan. 17. Additionally, several webinars on the Middle East — the project’s “first special topics series,” according to the Dartmouth Dialogues website — will take place throughout February.

In her email statement, Beilock noted the College’s tradition of open-mindedness. 

“Dartmouth Dialogues brings a renewed focus on our ability to think critically, to question, to probe and reflect, rather than blindly follow a predetermined ideology,” she wrote. “Dartmouth Dialogues expands our capacity to cultivate these talents for our campus community — something that has never been more important for the successful future of higher education and the leaders we produce than it is today.”