July 1, 2013

The 2013 Fulbright-Hays India Group: From Coexistence to Pluralism

In my head I keep playing with terms such as diversity, coexistence, and plurality. Just what does religious pluralism look like? Depending on what you read, the terms are used interchangeably.

After some extensive reading, I discover that diversity is just a fact of life. We have for example ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity.

Yesterday the 12 members of our FH cohort met for the first time here in Berkeley California.
We are a diverse group. We come from all around the US. Some are teachers, some are principals, and one is a superintendent. Many of us have extensive experiences abroad. I think the only common threads are that we all teach, and  we all have a desire to learn more of India. 

Diversity is just diversity. A diverse group can be a mixture of people who, on one end of the spectrum merely tolerate each other, to the other end of the spectrum where we appreciate each other's differences.

Let me repeat: Diversity is just diversity. When I think of diversity, I think of the animals that live on the Serengeti plains of Africa. You have diverse species living alongside each other on the Serengeti.  Lions live alongside the antelope.

But lions also eat antelope.  

I think the next thing is coexistence.  What does it mean to coexist?
According to the freedictionary.com, coexistence is defined as "a condition or policy in which nations coexist peacefully while remaining economic or political rivals." 
That makes me think of  the Lion and the Antelope problem.

So what is pluralism? What does it look like?
This is a loaded question I hope to articulate soon.

I hope in the next 40 days our FH cohort will evolve from a diverse group merely coexisting (think Lion + Antelope) into a diverse group working in the spirit of pluralism. 
Please excuse typos, as I'm working on the iPad. 
Thanks for visiting.


Brian Miller said...

smiles...i hope for your sake as well that it groups into a group that cares for one another and can still relish its diversity...

Ms. Gibson said...

Thanks Brian. So far so good. Hopefully this is not just the Honeymoon Period. Things might get tough after we get to India, but I think everyone here wants to make it a positive experience.

Perpetua said...

This is sounding promising, Chris. A group that works well together could contribute so much to its members' experience.