The David and Lyn Silfen

University Forum

Online on Zoom Webinar  | Tuesday, October 13, 2020 | 3:00 p.m.

Civil Discourse in Uncivil Times

  1. Civil Discourse in Uncivil Times - Read Full Description

    We live in an age when politicians hurl vitriol at one another across the debate stage, pundits spew rage-filled rants on cable television, and ordinary citizens engage in anonymous, ad-hominem attacks on social media.
    More than 90% of American adults say incivility in the public square is a problem and nearly three quarters say it is a “serious” problem and on the rise. Incivility has far-reaching negative implications, eroding trust and respect for opposing points of view.
    Ten years ago, Penn President Amy Gutmann and a panel of prominent experts confronted the essential question: Is there something seriously wrong with public debate in America and, if so, how can the problem be remedied? A decade later, this question is ever more pressing. How can institutions and individuals support both open expression and robust, civil debate? What roles can everyone including higher education, media organizations, voters, and public officials productively play? Can we repair our system of politics so that civil debate becomes the expectation and not the exception?
    Join Penn President Amy Gutmann and Penn Professor Michael Delli Carpini as they and a panel of distinguished guests confront these and other questions at the 2020 David and Lyn Silfen University Forum, “Civil Discourse in Uncivil Times.”

We welcome you back to the David and Lyn Silfen University Forum website. We’re in our eleventh year. This year's event provided once again great speakers and conversation you’ve come to expect from Penn.

President Amy Gutmann, introductions

The Christopher H. Browne Professor of Political Science and Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication.

More about Amy Gutmann

Donna Brazile

American Political Strategist, Author and Fox News Contributor

More about Donna Brazile

Hon. John Ellis “Jeb” Bush Sr.

43rd Governor of Florida, Presidential Practice Professor at the University of Pennsylvania

More about Jeb Bush

Julián Castro

16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Former Mayor of San Antonio

More about Julián Castro

Michael Delli Carpini, moderator

Inaugural Director of the Paideia Program; Professor of Communication; Former Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication

More about Michael Delli Carpini

Peggy Noonan

Hon’18, American Author, The Wall Street Journal Columnist, NBC News and ABC News Contributor

More about Peggy Noonan

Ashley Parker

C’05; American Journalist; Pulitzer Prize-winning White House reporter for The Washington Post; Senior Political Analyst for MSNBC

More about Ashley Parker

David and Lyn Silfen

About The Silfen Forum

Learn about the Silfen family and how the forum began.

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