“Even as I was planning the 9th biennial symposium two years ago, I was already thinking that the next symposium would be on a topic that would bring forth ideas and practices about how to bridge polarization,” said Tamara Williams, Ph. D., executive director for the Wang Center for Global and Community Engaged Education.
The topic of healing soon took on more meaning, Williams said, given the deep wounds of racism, police violence, health inequities laid bare by the pandemic, mental health issues, tension at the U.S.-Mexico border and other issues that have risen to the fore.
This year’s two-day Wang Symposium, which takes place online March 9 and 10, will offer perspectives from academics, activists and practitioners across a broad spectrum of disciplines. The event features 12 back-to-back sessions with presenters who come from around the country and the globe, along with PLU faculty. Sessions include:
From Derry, Northern Ireland, Eamonn Baker and Maureen Hetherington have worked for decades on peace-building in the context of the sectarian violence known as “the Troubles.” Their keynote talk will describe how their work uses the healing processes of dialogue and deep listening.
Robert McKee Irwin, professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Deputy Director of the Global Migration Center at the University of California, Davis, will deliver a keynote titled “Humanizing Deportation: Research and Care in the Hérida Abierta,” that features the role of storytelling in healing.
Elena Calderón, University of Arizona doctoral student and formerly undocumented person, presents “UndocuJoy in Practice: Healing through Joy, Storytelling and Therapy.”
Sharon Suh, professor of theology and religious studies at Seattle University, explores trauma and healing from the perspectives of Buddhism and neuroscience, with attention to the experiences of women of color.
PLU alum Dawn Alger ’95, a San Juan Island-based nurse and gender-diverse patient advocate, joins her transgender son, Rigby Alger ’19, in “A Mother and Son’s Healing Journey through Gender Transformation.”
Award-winning filmmaker and professor at The Evergreen State College, Gilda Shepperd, discusses her documentary “Since I Been Down” that focuses on the role education plays in resilience and healing for people behind bars.