A unity conference, hosted by multiple student organizations, to discuss and celebrate diversity will be held Nov. 1 and 2 at the Thurman J. White Forum Building at OU.
Danial Gebreili, the president of the Iranian Cultural Association, is directing the event, and he said it will include the Black Student Association, Muslim Student Association, Hispanic American Student Association, Student Government Association and other students from different backgrounds.
The event’s focus will be on social differences between groups and how they can come together, Gebreili said. “Despite our backgrounds, how can we best contribute to the American society?” he said.
“We do share a large amount of diversity, and we want to make sure we express that,” Gebreili said.
The event will also have two state representatives, he said, one Republican and one Democratic. Emily Virgin will represent the Democratic Party, Gebreili said, but the Republican representative is yet to be determined.
He said it is important to have both parties represented when discussing political polarization and how to end it.
“We’re going to do our absolute best to see that both parties are represented,” Gebreili said.
He also said the event will feature OU’s ROTC students and Air Force ROTC Capt. Alyson N. Goolsby as a speaker to add a military perspective.
“Whenever you serve in the military… it doesn’t matter whether they’re Muslim, black or white. Your brothers and sisters (are) fighting for the same country,” he said.
Gebreili said he is not sure if OU President David Boren will speak at the event, but that he is meeting with him on Oct. 20 to discuss it.
Guest speakers at the event will include Kenneth Chapman, the Price College of Business Director of Diversity and Inclusion; Imam Imad Enchassi, the chairman of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City; and Roksana Alavi, an assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies and a Women's and Gender Studies Program faculty member.
Sponsors have raised $11,000 to make the event possible, he said. The sponsors include Student Affairs, Office of University Community, Price College of Business, College of International Studies, Student Life, Center for Middle East Studies, Student Alumni Association, Women's and Gender Studies Program and College of Fine Arts.
This article was updated at 10:44 a.m. Oct. 19 to include that Air Force ROTC Capt. Alyson N. Goolsby will be a speaker at the event.
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