Lecture series must be start to continuing dialogue

Kernel Editorial Board

Palestinian activist and legislator Hanan Ashrawi spoke to the UK community March 23, and her welcome was much warmer than that of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when he spoke last October.

The evening served as the second installment of an effort to educate students about the conflict in the Middle East and makes positive strides in sparking discussion of global issues on a college campus. However, more balance needs to be achieved over time with regards to the types of speakers presented for each side.

Olmert is a former Israeli prime minister, yet he has also been charged with war crimes. On the other hand, Ashrawi is an activist and an advocate for peace. While the two may claim peace as an ultimate goal, their differing histories surely had some effect on the differing receptions from their respective audiences.

When tackling an issue as complex as the conflict between Israel and Palestine, it is necessary to foster further discussion. Hosting these speakers is a step in the right direction, but assuming that hosting speakers from each side of the controversy qualifies as a complete discussion would be irresponsible.

For this reason, it is necessary to ensure the dialogue doesn’t stop here. Both speakers have been completely qualified to discuss the topic, but it is time to deal with the issue beyond lectures.

This isn’t to say UK necessarily needs to spend more money to bring in an array of speakers from each side, but that other tactics may be used to ensure discussion continues.

Forums could be held where the topic could be further discussed by students and faculty, in a more intimate setting. In addition, qualified professors and/or people from the Lexington community could lead campus events and discussions to ensure awareness of the conflict doesn’t fizzle out.

Whether or not the event is a success will be dependent upon whether or not discussion continues.

Hosting a pair of speakers and proceeding to leting the dialogue fall to the wayside would be a disappointment to the initial goal of the university, which was to not only expose campus to “global newsmakers” but to spark discussion among students.