King’s played host to five esteemed speakers and a bevy of inquisitive high schoolers at the 2015 Armbrae Dialogue in New Academic Building Feburary 19th and 20th. The two-day symposium, designed by King’s grad John Stone (BAH ’65) in 2007 to bring students with a keen interest in a given topic the opportunity to learn and discuss, saw student’s tackling this years question: What Is “the West”?
On the first day, three lectures were given addressing the question from a diversity of perspectives. Dr. Amal Ghazal of Dalhousie focused on the Middle East, its views of the West, views held by Mid-East countries of one another, and western practices adopted throughout the Middle East; Dr. Jock Murray traced the evolution of western medicine and practices like surgery, offering comparisons with other approaches, such as acupuncture; Dr. Lindsay DuBois engaged the students in a media review of the ebola crisis and how the West views ‘the Other’.
The Keynote Address, delivered by freelance journalist Gwynne Dyer invited students to challenge the way we conceptualize ‘western values’. Dr. Dyer argued that rather than these ideas being fundamentally Occidental, they originally appeared in hunter-gatherer cultures around the globe millennia ago.
The second day saw students engage in a roundtable discussion with Dr. Dyer called ‘the Huddle’, attend a viewing of The Buzcashi Boys, The Oscar-nominated short film from King’s grad Ariel Nasr (BAH ’05), and break off into self-directed groups for two hours to formulate their own thoughts before ending with a plenary session to offer their conclusions.
The Armbrae Dialogue began in 2007 with a collaborative partnership between King’s and Armbrae Academy of Halifax. Teachers in each school recruit participants who have a keen interest in the chosen topic. Dr. Dyer for his part was impressed at the level of discourse the students brought to the table. “Those kids ask tough, intelligent questions”, he said.