Civility Expert at Johns HopkinsYou've probably noticed a lot of discussion around water coolers and in the media lately about civility in America. A 1996 story in U.S. News & World Report found that 89 percent of Americans feel incivility is a serious problem and 91 percent believe its decline contributes to violence.
At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Professor Pier Massimo Forni has been studying for the past several years the decline of civility in this country and around the world. He teaches courses on the subject, has been quoted nationally on it and has recently launched the Johns Hopkins Civility Project, sponsored by several Hopkins academic departments and the Maryland Humanities Council.
The project includes a number of activities, involving both the university and the city of Baltimore that will precede an international symposium on the subject to be held at Hopkins in March 1998. The project's goals are to assess the relevance of notions such as civility, manners and politeness in today's society and to foster scholarly research on civility. Throughout the fall and the winter, research will continue to be conducted in outreach activities including public schools (on which 34 percent of Americans blame the rise of incivility), prisons, hospitals and a variety of other social arenas.
As you might expect, Professor Forni is charming and wonderful to talk with, and he can address a broad range of issues connected to civility. Let me know if you'd like to talk with him; he's an excellent source to keep in mind for any story on the subject. I can be reached at (410) 516-7800 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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