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9th Biennial Wang Center Symposium

March 5-6, 2020, Anderson University Center

Free and open to PLU and surrounding communities; registration strongly recommended



Disarming Polarization: Navigating Conflict and Difference in the 21st Century

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 Education

Made possible by a generous gift from Drs. Grace and Peter Wang, the Center is an academic support unit dedicated to providing faculty, students and staff with the resources necessary to advance PLU’s distinction and vision for global education of “educating for a just, healthy, sustainable and peaceful world at home and abroad” 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 educational partners worldwide.

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

Benson Family Foundation

Department of Religion Paul Ingram Lecture in Religion

Division of Humanities Menzel/Kohler Memorial Lecture

Mountain View Lutheran Church