Some homework as you begin Thanksgiving Break

Yes, I am suggesting that you do some ‘homework’ related to your responsibility as a Periclean Scholar.  Your time is very valuable, but I promise that what I am asking you to do will be useful to you.

Your assignments
I hope that this coming week will be filled with rest, relaxation and time for reflection for all Pericleans.  I can safely assume that many of you will reunite with family and friends at a Thanksgiving meal and have the opportunity to have conversations with relatives, neighbors and those that you left behind when you came to Elon.

Assignment #1
You will be asked “how are your classes going?” and that will lead you into talking about your work as a Periclean Scholar.  Like many, I have found TED talks to be a great source of both information and inspiration. This one featuring Bennington College President Liz Coleman will deepen your elevator speech both about Periclean Scholars specifically but more generally on the purpose and value of a liberal arts education.  She does this talk just after President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, and some of what she says should resonate with you and also help you to understand what our nation -and our world- needs from us as members of a civil society and as global citizens.  She gives great, timely advice; this video is well worth the 18 minutes you’ll spend watching.


Assignment #2
The current election results will most certainly be a topic of conversation around the dinner table and in other contexts.  As Pericleans we have made a statement on our Facebook page reaffirming our commitment to each other, those who areimg_1597 marginalized and to our partners.  That we are a nation divided on some fundamental levels seems acutely obvious. Our response must be to make every effort to understand ourselves and all those with whom we share this nation and this planet.  This next TED talk was done after the recent election and speaks to the divisions in our nation with measured, proactive reasoning and solid research.  The final minutes include good, sound and very timely advice for  you as you head out for break.


Our charge
One of my favorite quotations is from Mahmood Mamdani in his book Saviours and Survivors.  On page 5 he writes, “In contrast to those who suggest that we act the minute the whistle blows, I suggest that, even before thew whistle blows, we ceaselessly try to know the world in which we live -and act.  Even if we must act on our imperfect knowledge, we must never act as if knowing is no longer relevant.”  Indeed.  Let’s all have a great break filled with learning, listening, sharing and a thirst to join with others in our common goal of creating a more just world for all.


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