Manchester’s new Intercultural Center offers unique space

by Anne Gregory

Manchester University (North Manchester, Ind.), which is the home of the world’s first undergraduate peace studies program and the last campus to host a speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., has created a unique new space for discussions about diversity and inclusion, civic engagement, and civil discourse.

Civil rights legend Andrew Young was on hand Sept. 29 to dedicate the Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center and its domed Toyota Round section. The building is named for his late wife, a 1954 Manchester graduate who was known nationally and internationally as an educator and advocate for children’s rights.

Andrew Young cuts ribbon at the Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center at Manchester University
Andrew Young dedicates the Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center at Manchester University. Photo by Anne Gregory.

Jean’s experience at Manchester, he said, helped shape her views, which in turn had a profound effect on him, their family and the many lives she touched. “Jean pushed me to understand the implication of nonviolence in everything that we do,” he said. “And I never forgot those lessons.”

Manchester’s center is the second to be named in her honor. The first is Jean Childs YoungMiddle School in Atlanta.

Flanked by relatives at the North Manchester campus earlier this fall, Andrew Young spoke to those assembled about the civil rights movement. “We did change the world,” Young said. “And we changed the world with some of the messages and the spirit that Jean learned here. But, he cautioned, “We’ve got a lot more work to do.”

In the short time since the center has opened, the Manchester University Office of Multicultural Affairs has hosted discussions about stereotyping, discrimination against people with disabilities, pressures on masculinity, and the NFL and freedom of speech.

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