This year’s Faith Reason and World Affairs Symposium’s theme is Engaged Citizenship. But what exactly does that mean? The Provost and Dean of the college Susan Larson said that being an engaged citizen means “Thinking about our role in our democracy and our role in our local communities. This requires we think about our individual influence on our communities, but also the impact of the organizations and institutions of which we are a part.”
This year’s symposium will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 21, and students will have the day off from classes. The day will feature Richard Guarasci, a panel discussion composed of members of the Fargo/Moorhead community as well as some Concordia professors, tabling in the atrium, and concurrent sessions.
While students might have the day off from regularly scheduled classes, most professors ask that students attend some of the events and complete a short assignment of some sort. This year the students are in for a packed day.
Guarasi is the President Emeritus at Wagner College. He also held positions at several other universities and authored a few texts. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, and then went on to receive his Master’s degree in economics from Indiana University as well as a doctorate in Political Science.
Guarasi is scheduled to speak twice during the day, in the morning from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the faculty development session and again in the afternoon from 1:00-2:15 p.m.
The panel discussion titled “Engaged Citizenship Through Political Perspectives” will take place from 10:00-11:30 a.m. in Memorial Auditorium. Kenneth Foster, chair of the political science department at Concordia will be moderating the event.
The panel consists of five members of the Fargo/Moorhead community. The members include Concordia College graduates Will Kuball ‘19 and Levi Bachmeier ‘14, as well as Representative Heather Keeler, Rachel Stone, and James Hand.
Both Concordia graduates Kuball and Bachmeier have entered the world of politics. Kuball currently serves as the deputy director of Candidate Services at the Minnesota DFL Senate Caucus in St. Paul. Bachmeier has been teaching and currently serves as the business manager for his hometown school district.
The panel also features some prominent members of the Fargo/Moorhead region. Representative Keeler is an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe with lineage to Eastern Shoshone, and in 2020 was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives for District 4A. Stone serves as a member of the Moorhead School Board and runs the nonprofit she founded, P’s & Q’s Etiquette. Hand is the business development leader of the Construction Engineers Fargo, N.D, and he is responsible for new business strategy and project acquisition in Fargo-Moorhead and the surrounding area.
Kenneth Foster, chair of the political science department at Concordia, and Eric Schmidt, a teaching fellow in the political science department will also be present at the panel. The panel is titled Engaged Citizenship Through Political Perspectives and is located in Memorial Auditorium, scheduled to go from 10-11:30 a.m.
The Faith, Reason, and World Affairs Symposium is an annual fall tradition at Concordia. The first Symposium on record dates back to 1986. Each year they tackle a new subject aimed at helping students become better and more involved members of society.
The official purpose of the Symposium is to “address significant world issues from a Christian perspective that examines various points of view. Its goal is to enable participants to make informed judgments through hearing divergent opinions and discussing them” as per the college’s website.
This will be the third Symposium held during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Symposium was all on Zoom and 2021 was a hybrid of Zoom and in-person events featuring masks. The 2022 Symposium will have all in-person events.