REMINDER: March 6 keynote with Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb has been cancelled due to travel disruption.

9th Biennieal Wang Center Symposium web banner

Thank you for an incredible symposium!

March 5-6, 2020, Anderson University Center

Disarming Polarization: Navigating Conflict and Difference

The 9th Wang Center Symposium takes up the issue of heightened political and societal polarization within the U.S. and globally as well as its primary consequence, the increasing inability to communicate and collaborate across differences to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. These problems include but are not limited to: climate change, food and water insecurity, immigration, poverty, and income inequality, as well as ongoing large and small-scale conflicts resulting from strained relations among those of different races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, and social classes. Acknowledging this challenge, the two-day conference will bring together academics, activists, and practitioners whose life’s work engages polarization—within and across disciplines, traditions, communities, peoples, etc.—in ways that increase understanding about the topic or model actions that facilitate effective collaboration across difference.

Speakers and Panels

See a detailed panels list and bios of the 9th Biennial Wang Center Symposium speakers.


Find out times and room locations of each session for the Mar. 5-6 symposium.

Reading Challenge

The PLU community is invited to participate in a Polarization Reading Group Challenge.

The Wang Center for Global and Community Engaged Education

Working collaboratively with academic units and campus partners of Pacific Lutheran University, the Wang Center is dedicated to supporting faculty, students and staff with the resources necessary to advance PLU’s distinction and vision for global education of “educating to achieve a just, healthy, sustainable and peaceful world” through faculty development and grant opportunities, delivery of study away programs, on-campus programming on pressing world issues, and a commitment to best practices when engaging with partners, both locally and globally.

In gratitude to our sponsors and for the collaboration with community and university partners

Benson Family Foundation

Paul Ingram Lecture in Religion

Koller/Menzel Memorial Lecture

Mountain View Lutheran Church