2012 CIS
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For the 2012 Critical Issues Symposium, we will explore "Reconciliation: Hope in a Divided World"as our theme. Reconciliation is a multi-layered concept, inviting engagement in several ways and drawing upon resources from several disciplines. In its program this year, the Hope College community will embody its commitment to open inquiry and civil discourse, and to do so guided by the highest standards of intellectual integrity and in a spirit of Christian love. As always, the Critical Issues Symposium seeks to enhance discernment, understanding, collaboration and cooperation for all constituencies of Hope College about a topic of vital importance to our global society.

Click here to see Hope's commitment to The Virtues of Public Discourse

Photo Gallery - CIS 2012

Post-CIS Events: Continuing the Conversation

Allan Aubrey Boesak and Curtiss DeYoung

"Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism"

Friday, November 9 - 3:30 pm
Winants Aud, Graves Hall

This event is co-sponsored by Campus Ministries, CIS, Student Life and the Dean for International and Multicultural Education.

The Rev. Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak is one of the heroes of the anti-apartheid freedom struggle in South Africa. He and Archbishop Desmond Tutu led the United Democratic Front (UDF)–the equivalent to the civil rights movement in the US. Bringing together over 700 organizations from all communities, the UDF became the first genuinely non-racial movement and the main force behind the anti-apartheid activities in the country during the decisive decade of the 1980s.
Allan Boesak is a pastor in the Uniting Reformed Church and has served the church in many local, national, and international posts including the South African Council of Churches. At thirty-six years of age he was elected the president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches; the youngest ever, and the first African and person from the developing world to hold that position.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called Allan Boesak the most powerful orator ever produced by South Africa. Allan Boesak is the author or editor of nearly 20 books. His most recent book, Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism , is co-written with Curtiss Paul DeYoung, professor of reconciliation studies at Bethel University.

The Rev. Dr. Curtiss Paul DeYoung is professor of Reconciliation Studies, Bethel University. With degrees from Anderson University, Howard University and the University of St. Thomas, Prior to his current position, DeYoung served for 17 years in urban multicultural settings in Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minnesota as the president of the Twin Cities Urban Reconciliation Network (TURN), the executive director of the City Gate Project, and the senior pastor at a multiracial congregation. He also served congregations in Washington, D.C, and New York City, and worked at the Covenant House Times Square shelter for homeless and runaway youth in New York City. He is an ordained minister in the Church of God (headquarters in Anderson, Indiana.) Curtiss DeYoung has spent his life working both nationally and internationally to develop networks for reconciliation, peace, justice and human rights. He has traveled to South Africa on nine occasions speaking on reconciliation and the multiculturalism of the Bible. DeYoung is an author or of over a dozen books on the topic of reconciliation and social justice, including United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race, Reconciliation: Our Greatest Challenge --Our Only Hope, and Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism, co-written with Allan Boesak.


Cosmopolitanism and
Racial Obligations or, "Why My Blackness Is In Question"

Fried-Hemenway Auditorium,
Martha Miller Center
Monday, November 5 - 4:00 pm

Lee A. McBride, III
Associate Professor of Philosophy
College of Wooster

Lee McBrideBlackness is an elusive concept.  Given eliminativist arguments against racial categorization and the difficulties of squaring alleged black cultural markers with his multiethnic, mixed-race experience, Professor McBride is compelled to consider cosmopolitanism as an ideal.  Yet he does identify as black.  Blackness, here, is understood as a provisional identity established and maintained to counter anti-black racism.  In this paper, Professor McBride sets out to articulate a way in which one can hold a moderate form of cosmopolitanism and yet maintain a provisional racial identity and advocate for a particular racialized population.

Click here to listen to a recording of this lecture: mp3

  • Introduction by Jack Mulder
  • Lecture by Lee McBride begins at 2:20
  • Q&A begins at 28:15


Interpersonal Forgiveness With and Without Reconciliation

Winants Auditorium, Graves Hall
Monday, October 29 - 3:30 pm

On Monday, October 29, at 3:30 pm in Winants Auditorium, Graves Hall, Charlotte vanOyen-Witvliet will present a session on forgiveness as it relates to reconciliation:  Interpersonal Forgiveness With and Without Reconciliation.   We hope that you will be able to join us for this presentation that draws on research and connects to everyday life. 

Witvliet Lecture Oct 29

Charlotte WitvlietCharlotte vanOyen-Witvliet, Ph.D., is the Jacobson Professor of Psychology at Hope College. Trained as a scientist-practitioner clinical psychologist, she has conducted psychophysiology research on the embodied responses people have when reliving past interpersonal transgressions, holding grudges, experiencing justice, cultivating forgiveness, and developing gratitude. Her publications have appeared in journals such as Psychological Science,The Journal of Positive Psychology, and the Journal of Psychology and Theology. External research grants from The John Templeton Foundation and the Fetzer Institute have supported her research with students. Witvliet's forgiveness research has been featured in over a hundred media outlets, including TimeNewsweekO: The Oprah magazineUSA TodayLos Angeles TimesChicago Tribune, and CNN.

2012 Resources

2012 Keynote Speakers


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Resource Page

Books, Articles, Links

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We are pleased to announce Miroslav Volf as the Tuesday evening Keynote Speaker for CIS 2012.

Miroslav Volf is the Founder and Director of Yale Center for Faith and Culture and the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale University Divinity School, New Haven, CT.

Miroslav Volf was educated in his native Croatia, United States, and Germany. He earned doctoral and post-doctoral degrees (with highest honors) from the University of Tuebingen, Germany. He has written or edited 15 books and over 70 scholarly articles. His most significant books include Exclusion and Embrace (1996; winner of Grawemeyer Award in Religion, and one of Christianity Today’s  100 most important religious books of the 20th century); After Our Likeness (1998) in which he explores the Trinitarian nature of ecclesial community; Allah: A Christian Response (2011), whether Muslims and Christians have a common God; and A Public Faith: On How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good (2011).

We are pleased to announce Mark Charles as our Wednesday morning keynote speaker.

Mark Charles is a speaker, writer, and consultant from Fort Defiance, AZ, located on the Navajo Reservation. The son of an American woman of Dutch heritage and a Navajo man, Mark seeks to understand the complexities of American history regarding race, culture, and faith in order to help forge a path of healing and reconciliation for the nation. He partners with numerous organizations to assist them in respectfully approaching, including, and working with native communities. Mark is a graduate of UCLA.

He consults as a resource development specialist for Indigenous worship through Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He is the primary investigator in a study conducted by Brigham Young University on the Navajo perception of time. Mark serves as a board member for Christian Community Development Association and the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He developed and coordinates the Global Discipleship Network project through Christian Reformed World Missions.

2012 Book Selection

Reconciling All Things

Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing by Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice.

In this book, authors Katongole and Rice address what it means to pursue hope in areas of brokenness, including the family, the city, the poor, the disabled. Christianity and Islam, racial and ethnic divisions, violent conflicts, and the environment. [They] seek to offer a fresh and distinctive vision for reconciliation as God's mission and a journey toward God's new creation in Christ. The book will be used in this year's Pre-College Conference for Faculty, and is recommended as well to CIS attendees.


Focus Session Speakers

CIS Schedule


Click here for Bios
of all CIS Speakers



Tuesday Evening Keynote Address - 7:00 pm
Dimnent Chapel

Miroslav Volf
Music by Gillian Grannum with Hope Jazz Faculty

"Reconciliation: Why It Matters and How to Do It Well"

The talk will explore why reconciliation matters in our personal
as well as public lives and what are some of important
insights of our faith about how to reconcile well. 

Reception and Book-Signing - Schaap Atrium
Refreshments will be served.

Wednesday Morning Keynote Address - 9:00 am
Dimnent Chapel

Mark Charles
Music by Gillian Grannum with Hope Jazz Faculty

"Reconciliation: How Teachings from a 2,000 year-old
Book Can Bring Healing to a 500 year-old Wound"

Using the indigenous art of storytelling, Mark Charles will share, both from the Scriptures as well as from his personal journey, insights he has gained into the depth of the Creator's heart for reconciliation.

Coffee & Fellowship - 9:55 - 10:25
Outdoor Coffee Islands - Chapel/Graves Lawn/DeWitt Patio

Morning Sessions - 10:30 am

Voices of Reconciliation: A Panel Discussion -
Dimnent Chapel

Our speakers will engage questions about the theological traditions, commitments, and experiences that shape their approaches to reconciliation; ways to approach interpersonal reconciliation where there are asymmetries in power, privilege, and voice; and ideas that may equip us as staff and students to lean into a reconciling vision.

Peter Cha, Mark Charles, Gillian Grannum, Daniel Philpott
Charlotte vanOyen-Witvliet, moderating

Focus on Reconciliation with Miroslav Volf - DeWitt Theatre

                Volf will further develop themes from his keynote address. 


Afternoon Focus Sessions - 1:00 pm

Peter Cha - Wichers Auditorium, Nykerk Hall

Multicultural Education for Reconciliation: Assessing Different Models

What are the current models of multicultural education embraced by U.S. universities and colleges as they aim to offer rich intercultural learning experiences to their students and faculty?  Which model(s) is Hope College currently pursuing?  Are certain models more promising if reconciliation were to be one of the main goals of multicultural education?  These key questions will guide and inform our conversation as we aim to interpret the current experiences of Hope College in the area of diversity/reconciliation and imagine its future possibilities.

Mark Charles - DeWitt Theatre

An Apology, an Appropriations Bill,
and a Conversation that Never Happened

On December 19, 2009, President Obama signed the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, H.R. 3326.  Buried on page 45 of this 67 page document is sub-section 8113, titled "Apology to Native People of the United States." The White House Press Release regarding this bill contained no mention of the enclosed apology and it was not read publically until a US Senator read it nearly six months later at a small ceremony with only a handful of Native American leaders present.  This is not how a nation of immigrants apologizes to their indigenous hosts for centuries of injustice, disenfranchisement, boarding schools, broken treaties, stolen lands, war and for some tribes, genocide.  This seminar will present, and solicit feedback on, efforts that are underway to respectfully and publically communicate this apology to the nearly 5 million Native American citizens of this country so a conversation regarding reconciliation can truly begin.

Gillian Grannum - Dimnent Chapel

Workshop: Resolution and Reunion:
Jazz, Faith, and Reconciliation

The need for reconciliation is one of the greatest challenges which face our world today. As we seek to embrace the divine call of heaven to forgive and love one another, we find that our humanity often gets in the way.  Yet, we can be inspired through the Creator God, in whom we find both difference and union. Through artistic expression, particularly the contrast of unity and diversity found in the harmony of jazz music, we can explore how to live out the call to reconciliation in art, in relationships, in faith, and in life.

Daniel Philpott - Maas Auditorium

"Is Reconciliation in Politics Possible?
On the Meaning of Justice in the Wake of Massive Injustice"

Daniel Philpott, author of Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation, forthcoming with Oxford University Press, will present a session focusing on reconciliation in politics. He will explore the theological and philosophical roots of an ethic of reconciliation that offers concrete guidelines to political orders facing pasts of authoritarianism, civil war, and genocide.

Ernest Cole and Virginia Beard - Winants Auditorium, Graves Hall

Contested Memory, Contested Narratives:
The Dynamics of Reconciliation in Post(?)-Conflict Societies

Through a “fireside chat” of questions and answers, Drs. Virginia Beard and Ernest Cole will consider some of the difficult and complex questions surrounding peace and reconciliation after societal conflicts.  Drawing from research and experience in Sierra Leone, Kenya, Rwanda and Northern Ireland, Beard and Cole will address such issues as the role of forgiveness in peace and reconciliation theology, child soldiers and impunity, the place for justice in societal reconciliation, and memory and “re-membering” as part of societal reconciliation. 

Department-Sponsored Sessions

2:15 pm

DANCE: Performance of "Ishta" followed by Q&A
with Jillian Rice and Jessica St. Clair
Dow Center - 207

The collaborative work "Ishta" began as an independent project for a Women's Studies Keystone originally premiered in Hope College Dance Department's Spring 2012 Student Dance Concert. The objective of the project was to create a feminist dance piece through feminist means; to make a safe space for a group of young women to explore through dance what it means to be a woman. Through those explorations, which focused on physical womanhood, the body and erotic power, the piece was developed. It is an abstract work that focuses not as much on aesthetic as on authenticity, on movements that are truthful, that bring healing and reconciliation with oneself and others. The title “ishta” comes from the Native American Lakota word for she/female/girl.

"Reconciliation Up Close and Personal"
with students and staff who participated in the
reconciliation training retreat in Montana, June 2011
Vanderwerf -104

This session will feature a panel discussion presented by students and staff who participated in the reconciliation training retreat in Montana in June 2011 under the leadership of Dr. Curtiss DeYoung.  Panel members will openly and honestly share their experiences, emotions, and learning from going through the reconciliation training process.  They will discuss the background events that led to their participation in the training and how that process has helped them heal and move forward from those experiences.  The discussion will conclude with an opportunity for those attending the session to ask questions about what the panel members have shared and their perceptions about the potential of the reconciliation process at Hope College.

HISTORY: "Preaching Mutual Forgiveness and the Forgetting of All Wrongs: Reconciliation and Justice in the French Revolution" with Ronen Steinberg, Assistant Professor of History, MSU
Martha Miller Center - 159

When most people think about the French Revolution, they see great moments of heroism and tragedy, moments that have shaped the modern world: the storming of the Bastille, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, the Reign of Terror and the guillotine.  They do not as a rule think about forgiveness, reconciliation, remembrance, and accountability.  Yet these issues were central to the revolutionary struggle in France, particularly in the aftermath of the Terror.  This presentation will examine how French men and women struggled to come to terms with the legacies of revolutionary violence as the eighteenth century drew to a close.  It thus aims at adding a historical perspective to the theme of this year’s Critical Issues Symposium.

NURSING: "Side Effects May Include: Reconciling
HIV Exposure and Its After-Effects"
with Marlee Bogema, BSN, RN
Winants Auditorium, Graves Hall

Health care providers are asked to care for individuals unconditionally, and at times this can be difficult.  Ms. Bogema will explore the issue of reconciliation with patients who may (and do) expose healthcare providers to a life-threatening illness and reconciliation with fellow health care workers as they respond to the life-threatening exposure.  This topic, originally presented during a Hope College senior seminar, received overwhelmingly positive reviews by students.  This session will provide valuable insight for all pre-health professional students as they consider one of the most difficult situations they may face in a healthcare setting.  Patricia Walter, MSW, BSN, RN (Assistant Professor of Nursing, Hope College) will serve as moderator for this session. 

RELIGION: "A.J. Muste: Hope's Famous Peacemaker"
with Jeff Meyers, MA, Earlham School of Religion
Martha Miller Center - Fried-Hemenway Auditorium, 135

Ever wondered what Hope’s basketball jerseys looked like 100 years ago? Want to know what the court case “The United States of America v. The Spirit of Freedom” was about? Are you interested in learning more about Rev. A.J. Muste, one of Hope’s most accomplished alumni? After a brief presentation on Muste’s life and connection to Hope, this presentation will explore how Muste’s theology undergirded his effective work for peace, justice, and reconciliation.

SOCIOLOGY/SOCIAL WORK/INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: "Muslim-Christian Dialogue As Means to Reconciliation"
with the Rev. Douglas Leonard, Director,
Al Amana Centre of the Sultanate of Oman
Vanderwerf - 102

We live in a time where sound bytes determine attitudes and dispositions towards other religions more than dialogue and exchange with one another. The media also tends to focus on extreme viewpoints, and thus a platform is needed for moderate and irenic voices so that a few fanatics do not speak for all. Douglas Leonard will speak about his experience with Muslim-Christian dialogue in Oman, in the hope that such dialogue will inspire positive relations and cooperation amongst all religions. One-half of the world’s population is comprised of Muslims and Christians, and the current crucible for these relationships is the Middle East. Therefore positive initiatives here have a global effect and provide a path of dialogue and coexistence that others may follow.


Continuing the Conversation - Additional Sessions at a Later Date

PHILOSOPHY: will be hosting a speaker later in the fall, on the topic of the philosophy of race and the project of cosmopolitanism.
Date and Location - TBA

Description is forthcoming.

PSYCHOLOGY: will be hosting "Forgiveness With and Without Reconciliation" with Charlotte vanOyen-Witvliet, PhD, Jacobson Professor of Psychology later in the fall semester. 
Monday, October 29 - 3:30 pm, Location TBA

In this talk, Witvliet will examine human responses to interpersonal transgressions that take seriously both justice and mercy. From the transgressor perspective, Witvliet will address repentance. From the perspective of the victim, Witvliet will describe approaches that assist people in embodying forgiveness even in situations where relational reconciliation is not possible, safe, or wise.




Virginia Beard Virginia Beard
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Hope College

Peter T. Cha
Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


Ernest Cole
Assistant Professor of English, Hope College


Gillian Grannum
Bassist, Pianist
Songwriter, Singer


Daniel Philpott
Associate Professor
Political Science & Peace Studies
University of Notre Dame, Kroc Center for Int'l Peace Studies


Charlotte vanOyen-Witvliet
Jacobson Professor of Psychology
Hope College


Department Sponsored Sessions

CIS Committee

Faculty Members interested in
hosting a Department Session

We invite you to apply for funding
from the CIS Committee

Print the form


  • Aaron Best, Biology
  • Paula Booke, Political Science
  • Ernest Cole, English
  • Brian Coyle, Music
  • Kate Davelaar, Campus Ministries
  • Derek Emerson, Events & Conferences
  • Alfredo Gonzales, Dean for Int'l/Multicultural Education
  • Kristen Gray, Counseling
  • Arnaud Muhimpundu, Student Representative
  • Daniel Owens, Student Representative
  • Charlotte Witvliet, Psychology
  • Afia Yamoah, Econ-Mgmt-Accounting


More about CIS at Hope College

As a service to the community, all CIS events are free and open to the public.

For nearly 30 years the Critical Issues Symposium (CIS) has been an integral part of the Hope College academic landscape. A committee of faculty, staff, and students, in consultation with President Bultman, selects one topic to focus on each year. Hope College takes this academic endeavor seriously enough to cancel daytime classes on one day each fall semester in order to allow the campus community to fully participate in examining the topic at hand. CIS has sponsored international leaders in a variety of fields, but also calls on the resources of the West Michigan and Hope College communities to provide input on our discussions.

Please note that Wednesday evening classes
DO meet on the day of CIS.

If you have any questions about CIS please feel free to contact either:

Alfredo Gonzales
Associate Provost and CIS Co-Chair

Derek Emerson
Director of Events and Conferences and CIS Co-Chair