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2011-2012 Campus Theme: What is Community?

We often refer to ourselves as members of various communities: church, school, neighborhood, other affinity groups. But what is community? How do we live and act in an ever-changing, global community? What does community mean in the urban, religious, and international scope, and how does a university like North Park prepare students to engage fully and significantly in these arenas?

Throughout the 2011–2012 academic year our campus explored community from a variety of perspectives. We heard from civic leaders, educators, journalists, and activists. We took up the topic in our institution's biannual magazine, the North Parker. We were inspired, challenged, and left with a lot of food for thought.

Fall Semester Lectures

What is Community? The Urban Context.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Urban scholar and architect, Sharon Haar, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, challenged our campus to think deeply about many questions. How can our campus community flourish within our urban communities? What do our urban spaces tell us about how communities thrive? What would it mean to truly make Chicago our classroom? Professor Haar teaches in urbanism, globalization, and housing. Haar's research investigates the role of entrepreneurship, design innovation, and global networking in the transformation of architectural practices devoted to social activism and humanitarian relief. Her most recent book, The City as Campus: Urbanism and Higher Education in Chicago, was published in February 2011.

Celebrating Diversity While Creating Community

Friday, October 28

Keynote address at the Third Annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference

Dr. John Perkins, along with his wife Vera Mae, established the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development in 1983 to advance the principles of Christian community development and racial reconciliation throughout the world. He is the "founding father" of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), a network of more than 700 organizations worldwide, with organizational headquarters in Chicago. He and his family now run the Foundation for Reconciliation and Development from Jackson, Miss., where, for the past 12 years, they have been dedicated to helping the West Jackson community reflect the Kingdom of God through the families and children of the neighborhood.

Dr. Perkins is a popular and inspirational speaker and the author of several books, including Let Justice Roll Down and Follow Me to Freedom: Leading As an Ordinary Radical.

The Global Community and International Activism

Friday, November 4

Jerome McDonnell, award-winning journalist, presented a public lecture, "The Promise and Perils of Global Activism," that challenged listeners to consider how we can effectively build just and compassionate communities across borders.

McDonnell is host of Worldview, a daily program on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio providing global affairs coverage of world issues with in-depth conversations on international issues and their local impact. He has been on staff at WBEZ since 1984, when he began as an intern. McDonnell has worked on a variety of business and news programming at the station, as host and producer, winning a Peter Lisagor award and an award from the Illinois Broadcasters' Association for “Best Public Affairs Program in a Series.”

Read more about Jerome McDonnell's Lecture: "Finding Your Guerrilla Garden"

Spring Semester Lectures

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us

Friday, February 10, 2012

The London Sunday Times has called Robert D. Putnam “the most influential academic in the world today.” Author of the award winning best-seller, Bowling Alone, Dr. Putnam has worked with presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama to analyze community in contemporary society.

The Christian Community as Radical Alternative

Friday, February 24

As professor of theology at Notre Dame, Dr. Michael Baxter examines the relationship of theology, history, and ethics, with particular attention to the morality of war and Christian peacemaking. His publications have appeared in the De Paul Law Review, Pro Ecclesia, Communio, The Thomist, and Modern Theology.

The Just and Faithful Community

Friday, March 23

This lecture was given at the North Park Justice Summit and Chicago Reload.

Dr. Cornel West is about as well known a public intellectual as there is today. A philosopher by training, he has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice. He has authored 19 books, including Race Matters, Keeping Faith: Philosophy and Race in America, and Brother West: Living and Loving OutLoud: A Memoir.

Read more about Dr. West and other speakers at the North Park Justice Summit and Chicago Reload.

Cornel West