Unity in Community

About the theme

The theme of Missouri State University's Fall 2018 Public Affairs Conference, "Unity in Community," seeks to address divisive issues that concern our communities. Not only the geographic areas where we live, but also the tribal, interpersonal, intellectual, and digital communities where we exist. While the idea of unity might seem distant and unattainable, at Missouri State, we affirm our inalienable constitutional rights. We celebrate our diversity and champion the rights of those who hold differing or opposing views.

What is a Utopia?

Utopia is the conceptual ideal community, a nearly perfect society, where every citizen is a model of good behavior, thoughtfulness, and compassion, living in harmony with Nature. It is a land of equality and opportunity, and of course, it is purely fictional. Utopia was an allegory written by Saint (Sir) Thomas More, "A Man for All Seasons," who sought to introduce the concept of social justice to English culture during an especially brutal time. Ultimately, he fell out of favor, was tortured, and executed by the Crown. Still, the idea of utopia survived.

How can we bring unity to our communities?

In modern history, especially in America, utopian societies and communities were established mostly to fail through the frailties of human nature. Although we may hold a desire to better ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world, we are divided by divergent political stances, faiths, and views. Our communities are afflicted by poverty, crime, substance abuse, and plagued by ageism, racism, sexism, oppression, intolerance, and socio-economic inequalities.

  • How do we build a better world?
  • Where are our utopian models for society?
  • How can we live in peace and harmony with our neighbors?
  • How can we offer equal opportunities for all?
  • How do we, as individuals, balance rational self-interest with altruism?
  • How can we achieve peace and yet affect the change we seek?
  • How can we bring unity to our communities?

About the theme logo

The classic labyrinth is seen in the face(s) of this year's public affairs theme bear logo. The path on each face symbolizes our individual lives. We recognize that we have common interests, and sometimes common paths. Yet, everyone is on a special, separate journey, and we may travel at different rates. Community is reflected in the understanding that we accept the different pathways that we all follow. It unifies us. If we subdue our biases and prejudices and quietly contemplate our path and the paths of those around us, we at least have a chance for a happier life. Read more about The Labyrinth.

When is the Public Affairs Conference?

The Fall 2018 Public Affairs Conference will be held September 25-27 on the campus of Missouri State University. Join the dialog as we explore Unity in Community.  

2018-2019 Provost Fellow for Public Affairs - Dr. Kevin Evans

Kevin Evans