Recorded January 26 at 11:30 a.m. in Mayser Gymnasium.
P.M. Forni is professor of Italian literature, Johns Hopkins University, and co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project.
What is civility? Why is it not a trivial concern? What are the costs of incivility? Why is it important to foster a culture of civility on campus and in life? Have you ever felt disgusted by the condition of a dorm bathroom or hallway? Has your privacy been violated by a roommate? Have you seen others insulted, demeaned, or ostracized because of their gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation? Has a supervisor or coworker treated you dismissively? Has a class ever been ruined by student disrespect for the instructor? Vice-versa? If so, you’ve experienced firsthand the corrosive effect of incivility.
These are the main questions Dr. P.M. Forni will answer in his presentation. He will also comment on the impact of information technology on today’s human interaction and quality of life.
In 1997, Professor Forni co-founded the Johns Hopkins Civility Project, whose aim was to assess the significance of civility, manners and politeness in contemporary society. He was also co-director of “Reassessing Civility: Forms and Values at the End of the Century,” an international symposium which took place at Johns Hopkins University in March 1998. Dr. Forni is currently the director of The Civility Initiative at Johns Hopkins University which he founded in 2000. His lectures and workshops illustrate the connections among civility, ethics and quality of life and the rewards of fostering a culture of civility in today’s workplace.
His book Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct (2002) has been translated into German and Italian. He contributed to a chapter on ethics and international protocol in the Convention Industry Council International Manual (2005). His article “The Other Side of Civility,” appeared in the November, 2005 issue of Johns Hopkins Magazine. In 2008 he published The Civility Solution: What to Do when People Are Rude. On the occasion of the launching in Los Angeles of a Civility Project inspired by Dr. Forni’s work, the Mayor and the Los Angeles City Council declared May 13, 2009 “Los Angeles Civility Day.”
We can best learn from each other, and work together effectively, when we interact with each other in a civil manner. At Franklin & Marshall, in the local community, as well as nationally and internationally, civil interactions are conducive to learning, enhance the intellectual atmosphere, advance workplace cooperation and increase society’s effectiveness in solving problems. Civil words and behavior create a positive environment. Because Franklin & Marshall College is a residential community, an emphasis on civility is particularly important.