DANBURY — On Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13, Western Connecticut State University will hold a two-day symposium “Compassion and Creativity in the Community.” The event will focus on how community leaders and organizations, including those in education and business, can develop an understanding of people’s need for compassion and kindness in today’s busy world.
The conference will be open to the public and will run from 9 am to 5 pm on both days. Due to the anticipated number of attendees, the symposium will be held at The Portuguese Cultural Center, 65 Sandpit Road. The conference will be open to the public and will run from 9 am to 5 pm on both. Onsite registration will begin at 8 am on both days. Preregistration is also available at the www.wcsu.edu.
US Senator Richard Blumenthal will be the keynote speaker on April 12. Dr Bernie Siegel — physician, speaker, and author of many books on holistic healing — will be the keynote speaker on April 13.
Since one of the catalysts for such a community discussion is the tragic school shootings that took place in Sandy Hook on 12/14, the conference will also discuss the role of community in healing in the wake of tragedy.
Keynote speakers will address the conference, followed by panel discussions comprising national and local leaders. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra are both expected to be on the panel.
The conference will culminate with an interactive panel discussion with the community audience.
WCSU Professor of Political Science Christopher Kukk, who is helping to organize the conference, said that reaching out to members of governmental, educational, business, health and spiritual communities is a way to promote healing and strengthen the community.
The symposium will look at how being compassionate will aid the healing process that people in this area and beyond need in order to tackle today’s issues in a healthy, positive manner. Issues to be raised at the conference will also include how to handle major issues with a sense of compassion — being mindful that such issues involve people and are not just about politics and business.
“In other words, how can we turn something destructive into something constructive?” Dr Kukk posed, adding that compassion means showing respect for the dignity of every individual.
“We want people to think differently about compassion and hope that compassion will eventually extend to matters of homelessness, immigration policy, gun control, health, mental health, and public safety,” Dr Kukk added.
Western is one of two universities in the country recognized by Compassion Action Network as a compassionate university. This is WCSU’s second compassion conference. For more information, contact the WCSU Office of University Relations at 203-837-8486.