On Thursday, March 28th, CARP Grand Rapids held their second Campus Talk on Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) campus with the theme, Healing the Heart of America, with guest speaker, Dr. Frank Kaufmann. Dr. Kaufmann is Founder and President of Filial Projects, Editor in Chief of New World Encyclopedia, President of the Values in Knowledge Foundation, and Director of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace. He was also involved in peace initiatives in over 65 countries.
In a turn of bad coincidences, President Donald Trump held a re-election rally in downtown Grand Rapids on the same day as the Campus Talk which drew a lot of attention and deserted GRCC campus.
Despite that, seventeen people came to their event including one faculty member. With a more intimate setting, CARP Grand Rapids had an opportunity to hear from students more deeply about their views.
In his presentation, Dr. Kaufmann highlighted the importance of loving and respecting beyond political and ideological boundaries. You can read his full speech here.
“I grew up in a time when we didn’t care so much about what other people’s political views were; all that mattered was respect and love. We had a standard for how we should treat people no matter what their political views or religious affiliation was.”
He gave the example of a family, that even among differences of ideas in the family, the family will continue to love each other. Then, he reminded the audience that all relationships in the society are modeled after the family relationships, so we should learn to treat each other as brothers and sisters.
He emphasized that in order to start healing the divisions in our country, we need to have conversations with a foundation of respect and love because “as soon as you shut down conversation, you stop learning.”
Dr. Kaufmann opened up a Q&A session for the students which allowed students to express their frustrations, aspirations and hopes for America. President Trump’s rally, although a competing event, turned out to be a great conversation starter, and people were able to share more about what was on their hearts.
With food and a good environment, the event turned out to be a success. The faculty member who came said, “I’m sick and tired of all the hate and the fighting. I want it to be done now. Let me know when you are doing it again.”
Josue Kisile, CARP Grand Rapids ambassador, was grateful for the work behind the scenes.
“One aspect I liked about the event is the commitment and investment from the core members. They talked to their classes and professors and invited them to the event. As I am graduating from the college, I have hope that CARP Grand Rapids Community College is in good hands.”
The following day, Dr. Kaufmann had lunch with the CARP Grand Rapids crew and Dr. Stephen Barton, their faculty advisor. He gave them advice about how they can make a bigger impact on their campus.