POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Tough topics were discussed in Pocatello Thursday. Idaho State University’s International Affairs Council held it’s 49th annual Frank Church Symposium.
Bryce Turner, president of the International Affairs Council, says tackling pertinent issues is important. This conference aims to get people to see those issues from another perspective.
"That's actually our goal," Turner said. "We bring in some international issues to our small town in southeast Idaho."
Students, faculty and community gathered to listen to 13 speakers from across the country. For 50 years, this symposium has been known to cover contentious issues. This year’s topic was "End of Democracy, Challenges and Opportunities."
"It's a very productive discussion we're able to have. We have so many different professionals and they understand how to have a conversation that's not emotionally triggered," Turner said.
According to Dr. Verónica Hoyo, professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego, emotional triggered conversations are not the same as tough questions.
"I think the debate of ideas is essential in a democracy and that's exactly what the students are guaranteeing happens here," Hoyo said.
She says mending polarization can be reached by these kinds of symposiums.
"To have these discussions is exactly the essence of democracy,” Hoyo said. “This is the way you fortify democracy by engaging in dialogue by learning about the opinions of others -- by learning about the other side."
The symposium continues through Friday afternoon. It is being held at Rendezvous Hall in the ABC suites.