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Conference on College Avenue Hoping to Bring Together Diverse Minds

Conference Aims to Start Conversation About Religion and Social Change
Common Ground

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--There will be a free, all-day conference at the Rutgers Student Center on Thursday, October 8.

The conference, Common Ground 2015, "aims to bring together religious believers, secular humanists, and nonbelievers in conversation in order to gain perspective on each other’s ways of seeing the world, while embracing commonalities in our human experience that bring us together for social change."

There will be four panel sessions, workshops, and breakout sessions.

Sessions include titles such as, "Finding Meaning in Life," "Ethics and Values," and "Communities in Action."

Detailed descriptions of the sessions are available on the conference website.

This year Common Ground features seventeen speakers, including:

  • Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's fifth grandson
  • Dr. Declan Mulhall, physics professor at the University of Scranton
  • Hugh Taft-Morales, leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia and the Baltimore Ethical Society
  • Bart Worden, Executive Director for the American Ethical Union and the Clergy Leader for the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, says, "The speakers were chosen to be representative of a variety of, philosophies and faiths on both sides of the theistic divide, and they include atheists, Jews, Baptists, Catholics and many others."

The conference will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus. Lunch will be provided.

The conference is sponsored by the American Humanist Association, Xaverian Missionaries, and the Department of Off-Campus Living and Community Partnerships at Rutgers University. 

Its planning partners are the Humanist Community at Rutgers and the American Ethical Union.

As Speckhardt says, "The Common Ground conference is a way to bring together nontheists and people of faith to encourage dialogue and collaboration on pressing social needs. To meet today's challenges we need to bring together people with different backgrounds, both religious and secular...the conference can begin a conversation about our shared values of empathy and justice that can expand outward to action and social change."

To register, visit Common Ground's website.