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Delving into America's Cultural Diversity

Rich Egger

Rich Egger’s guests on Emphasis are Janice Welsch and J.Q. Adams, who are organizing the annual Dealing With Difference Institute at Western Illinois University.

“It’s a conference we’ve been having for over 20 years now at the university,” said Welsch. “The focus is cultural diversity, various aspects and perspectives on cultural diversity.”

This year’s Institute takes place May 14 and 15 at the WIU Multicultural Center. Registration information and other details can be found at the DWDI web page.

“Regardless of whether you are affiliated with our school systems or just an interested citizen, you’ll find something at this conference that you will learn and enjoy,” Adams said.

He said the conference will try to look at culture broadly – whether it be ethnicity, gender, orientation, or age.

Adams believes America is becoming more culturally complex. He called it “a nation of nations.”  He said it’s possible the US has people from every country on the planet.

“I would dare anyone to draw a composite picture of what an American looks like. I don’t know how you could do that,” Adams said, adding that America’s diversity is what makes it great.

This year’s DWDI will feature a keynote speech from Distinguished Professor James A. Banks, Founding Director of the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington.

Other presentations and workshops will be given by Dr. Paul Gorski, associate professor of integrative studies at George Mason University and the founder of EdChange, a coalition of educators and activists committed to educational equity and social justice; Dr. Ann Russo, Chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at De Paul University; and Dr. Barbara Ransby, professor of History, African American Studies, and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago.