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Difficult Dialogues Initiative promotes diversity at MU, around country
Date:8/31/2010

COLUMBIA, Mo. As U.S. demographics continue to shift rapidly, the University of Missouri has made a commitment to valuing and promoting diverse points of view within the MU community and across the country. MU was one of 27 institutional recipients of $100,000 grants from the Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogues Initiative (DDI) in 2005, and one of only a small number of those original institutions to receive an additional $100,000 grant in 2008.

DDI activities focus on teaching and reinforcing knowledge, skills, and awareness of diversity issues in higher education related to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and other forms of diversity. The program encourages difficult dialogues on important, controversial topics. Eryca Neville, a past DDI Faculty Fellow and newly appointed coordinator of the MU DDI campus program, believes the initiative is essential to democratic citizenship in an increasingly diverse society.

MU has used the Ford Foundation funding to promote constructive dialogue regarding academic freedom and cultural, religious, and intellectual pluralism at MU as well as at other institutions across the country. The university has now been awarded an additional $30,000 by one of the foundation's partner organizations, the International Institute for Education (IIE).

In 2009, the MU Difficult Dialogues Program hosted a summer institute, designed by program leaders at the University of Missouri in collaboration with the principal investigators of two other DDI institutional awardees at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Together, the schools provided participants with the foundational information, awareness and skills to develop DDI programs on their own campuses.

"This new $30,000 award from the IIE allows us to continue our efforts in expanding the reach of the DDI to six institutions that participated in our 2009 summer institute," said Roger L. Worthington, assistant deputy chancel
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Contact: Nathan Hurst
hurstn@missouri.edu
573-882-6217
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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