The University of Arizona

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) teams NICD with O'Connor House and Fund for Civility Respect and Understanding

September 18, 2012

From the Green Valley News and Sun: 

An  OLLI session, “Civility and Civic Engagement: Local, State and National,” is being offered to Green Valley OLLI members in October by the National Institute for Civil Discourse.

Established in February 2011 at the University of Arizona, the institute is a nonpartisan center for advocacy, research and policy focusing on civil discourse consistent with First Amendment principles. It is chaired by former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

OLLI study group leader and managing director of the institute Jane Prescott-Smith said it was founded after the Jan. 8, 2011, shootings and arose out of an increase in public awareness for civil discourse.

She said the day before the Tucson shootings former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords sent an e-mail to Republican Trey Grayson, former Kentucky secretary of state, friend and recently appointed executive director of Harvard University Institute of Politics, about how to disagree without being disagreeable.

In the e-mail Giffords wrote, “After you get settled I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation (between Democrats and Republicans).

Giffords resigned in January 2012 to focus on her recovery, though it was announced on Sept. 4 that she remains focused on politics. She and husband, Mark Kelly, have formed a new political action committee, “Gabby PAC,” which backs candidates dedicated to bipartisan solutions. It is chaired by Grayson and former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, a Democrat.

For information on the OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) class, visit www.olli.arizona.edu and click on Green Valley, or contact Carol Stewart at the OLLI-UA office, 626-9039 or uaoc-ollimail@email.arizona.edu.