Civil Peace

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" /files//">MayorPaviaNovel lecture series facilitates multidisciplinary meeting of the minds

Whether in the field of politics, the arts, media or sports, out-of-the-box thinking is almost a must these days if innovation is to occur. That’s what Stamford Mayor Michael A. Pavia had in mind when he recently visited a prominent sports ""> generic.

Pavia recently knocked ">there the door of New Canaan resident and former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent, but it wasnÂ’t to talk sports. It was to invite Vincent to participate in a novel lecture series "/#generic_">generic on civil engagement. Vincent, who presided over one of the most unsettling periods in the history of AmericaÂ’s national pastime, readily stepped up to the plate.

“At that time [when Vincent was MLB commissioner], you had the Pete Rose incident, Major League Baseball was about to go on strike, it was very tumultuous,” says Pavia. “He’s going to speak on civility in sports. It’s a big one.”

Other notable series speakers are U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me.), talking about civility in politics; WNYW-TV anchor Ernie Anastos on civility in media; and leaders in education, law enforcement and business.

Pavia says he wanted to address the issue through a broad spectrum. The series opened September 24 and will continue into 2013. It takes place at Stamford’s Ferguson Library and, with sponsorship support, is being offered free to the public.

The series could be seen as a socially innovative way to promote civil discourse.

“Where better than locally to do something like this?” he says, noting the library is a good location for discourse. “It becomes very engaging.”

Pavia began to consider he series after attending a mayors conference. The event made him aware of civility as a “national issue,” he says.

“When I was in school, we had classes called citizenship. [They emphasized] respect for law, respect for government, all the things that need to be in place in order to maintain a good society.”

There is a void in such teachings and exchanges today, Pavia asserts.

“I don’t think it would be that unusual to believe that there must be people used to seeing what they’re seeing and not know there’s a better way to interact with people.”

Extreme incidents such as last year’s shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona bring attention to the matter.

Among sponsors of the series is the Dilenschneider Group, which sponsored its own civility series in New York last year. All series talks in the Stamford series are free and open to the public.

“People will be able to ask any question they want, they’ll be able to enter into a discussion with any of our speakers,” says Pavia.

“What I’m hoping to do with the series is raise awareness,” Pavia adds. “We’re trying to capture a broad base, a wide spectrum of areas within which incivility and the need for civility is apparent.”

Snow will discuss civility in politics at 5:30 p.m. October 17. To learn more about the series, call 203-977-5115.

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