MC Community Conversations series concludes with panel discussion April 15

April 10, 2003
Written by: David Rasnake, Communications Assistant

A discussion panel composed of a former United States ambassador, a retired military officer, a peace activist and a Middle East political expert will gather to debate the current situation in Iraq during an April 15 forum at Maryville College.

Scheduled for 7 p.m. in the College’s Wilson Chapel, the forum is open and free to the public. It will be the final event in this year’s College-sponsored Community Conversations Series, “The Iraq Question in Real Time.” Organized by Drs. Maria Siopsis and Crystal Wright, the “Iraq Question in Real Time” series has brought representatives from the community, government officials and experts to MC for a month of discussions and lectures on the Iraq situation.

Tuesday’s discussion will focus on issues raised by arms control expert Jon Wolfsthal and filmmaker Gerard Ungerman in prior series events. Panelists include C. Richard “Dick” Bowers, retired U.S. ambassador to Europe and Latin America; UT professor Robert Cunningham, an expert on the politics of the Middle East; the Rev. Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Peace Alliance; and retired Air Force Colonel Greg Maciolek.

Dr. Dan Klingensmith, the College’s assistant professor of history, will moderate the discussion.

Reflecting on this year’s Community Conversations series as a whole, co-organizer and MC professor Dr. Crystal Wright was enthusiastic: “I think the series was quite successful in bringing together so many from our campus community and the wider community to consider such an important issue. The series was about as timely as it could have possibly been, given its coincidental beginning on March 27, so soon after the war had begun.”

“ I hope that these moments of interaction and sharing have been valuable in strengthening the spirit of community that is such an important part of Maryville College,” Wright concluded.

According to Wright, the purpose of “The Iraq Question in Real Time” events has been “to present to the Maryville College community as much information and as may perspectives as we can in order to facilitate individuals’ development of their own opinions,” adding that events have been designed to be “unbiased and informative” rather than persuasive.

Series organizers are already considering possible topics for a similar event next year; the focus will once again be on an event that is relevant both to MC and to the broader community.

More information about this year’s Community Conversation Series >>


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.