What is the value of the Civic Life Institute, and the Center’s work more generally?
“This society is really good at building walls and fighting over them, but how many times can we all go into a room, sit down, talk, and everyone comes out feeling better? That’s what the Center does so well.”
Does “just talking” really accomplish anything?
“This kind of dialog is the only way to build lasting, sustainable, change. The way it changes perceptions—shows people that the world might be different than they think it is—that can last forever.”
What jumps out at you from your experience of past Institutes?
“To see people coming out of those sessions, thinking a little differently, not so committed to just one point of view—that’s what we need more of in West Virginia.”
The 2016 Civic Life Institute, our annual workshop on community engagement techniques, is July 19-20 at the University of Charleston. Register here: bit.ly/CivicLife2016.
Paul Gilmer, owner of Gilmer Management and Consulting Services, retired as manager of community affairs for Triana Energy Services Company and also worked for Triana at Columbia Natural Resources. He is a member of the WV Center for Civic Life Board of Directors.