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NDSU 'Critical Conversations' conference to address diversity challenges


NDSU is set to host an important conference focusing on the complex issues of diversity.

Critical Conversations,” is scheduled for April 10-12 on the NDSU campus. The event is presented by NDSU, Region IV-West of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and Region V of ACUI: Advancing Campus Community.

According to organizers, the conference was created to address issues surrounding race and diversity, provide a safe venue for people to be heard and consider roles for positive social change.

“‘Critical conversations’ is about understanding each other’s stories in order to eliminate racism and improve the quality of life for all people,” said Steve Winfrey, Memorial Union director and conference chair. “The quality of our lives is in direct proportion to how open we are to all people.”

Keynote speakers will offer their perspectives about diversity, and challenge participants to become lifelong learners and activists. They include:

• Monday, April 10, 7:15 p.m., Memorial Union Ballroom

Michael Strand, NDSU professor of art and department head of visual arts, “Unifying Voices”

• Tuesday, Aprll 11, 10 a.m., Memorial Union Ballroom

Michael Yellow Bird, NDSU professor of sociology and director of indigenous tribal studies, “Dakota Access Pipeline”

• Tuesday, April 11, 2 p.m., Memorial Union Ballroom

Aida Martinez-Freeman, director of the Lealtad-Suzuki Center, Macalester College “Turning Our Stories into Action for Justice”

• Tuesday, Aprill 11, 7 p.m., NDSU Scheels Center

Inquoris “Inky” Johnson, motivational speaker, “Poverty, Adversity and Race”

• Wednesday, April 12, 9 a.m., Memorial Union Ballroom

Strand, “Unifying Voices II”

The conference is designed to provide a platform for participants to discuss local and national diversity issues in a safe, educational and forward-thinking manner. Goals include:

• Critical conversations in a respectful and thoughtful way

• Explore often misunderstood issues of diversity

• Create an action plan for having conversations with others

• Develop individual and collective responsibilities in creating positive social change

• Share individual stories of challenge and triumph

Organizers hope to begin a transformational process of individual understanding, growth and ability to create change.

Cost of the conference is $99 for faculty and staff; students are free. Registration deadline is March 31 and can be completed on the Critical Conversations website.

For more information, contact Frank Oakgrove at or 701-231-7787, or Winfrey at or 701- 231-8241.

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Vice President for University Relations
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-1068 - Fax: (701) 231-1989
Campus address: Old Main 204
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