This fall, the DCI hosted its first in-person Deliberative Forum, featuring three panelists from Davidson’s Political Science Department: Professors Besir Ceka, Ken Menkhaus, and Shelley Rigger. About two weeks later, we held a forum with Davidson’s Bonner Scholars on the same topic: “The Challenge for Democracy: To what extent should the United States and other democratic countries defend and promote democracy around the world?” Over 50 Bonner Scholars gathered in the Lilly Family Gallery to deliberate on this question, having watched the expert panel discussion and read our Deliberation Guide on the topic.
Check out this short video montage from the forum…!
Over 97% of the 35 Bonner participants who completed a short survey after the event reported that they were either very satisfied (57%) or satisfied (40%) with their small group deliberation. Over 85% of the participants also felt like they either learned a huge amount (20%) or a good amount (66%) about the defense of democracy. As one Bonner Scholar wrote, “I felt very comfortable sharing my ideas with the group and I think my facilitator and group members did a great job creating a welcoming environment. It was really cool to be able to genuinely discuss an important topic, as I feel like I don’t get to do that often in my life.” Another Bonner Scholar stated, “It was a very helpful experience overall as it not only helped in learning new perspectives but also helped me strengthen my understanding.”
“It was a very helpful experience overall as it not only helped in learning new perspectives but also helped me strengthen my understanding.”
The Bonner Scholars Program is a scholarship program where students aim and learn how to effect positive community change. Bonner Scholars participate in community service and research, and they have weekly opportunities to engage in educational experiences that enhance their ability to make a positive impact and build capacity within community organizations. Participation in Deliberative Forums allows the Bonner Scholars to harness their humane instincts, listen effectively to diverse perspectives, and seek innovative solutions to urgent public issues. The DCI first partnered with the Bonner Scholars Program in the fall of 2022 to host a deliberative forum on free speech and inclusivity that was very well-received by those who participated, and we have continued this partnership this year.
We are excited to partner with the Bonner Scholars again in the early spring semester! The DCI will host a public Deliberative Forum on Artificial Intelligence (AI) on February 5th, in which Senior Bonner Scholars will take part. This forum will provide a space for Davidson students, alumni, staff, faculty, and members of the public to engage with one another on critical issues regarding emerging technologies. These include AI that is capable of performing tasks as well as humans in economically valuable ways and AI that could be as transformative as the agricultural or industrial revolutions to human society and the world.