Living into Diversity

Dr. Aliou C. Niang is an associate professor of the New Testament at Union Theological Seminary.
What brought you to Union?
I was teaching at Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN and we invited Dr. James Cone to come and speak. I had read his work of course, but did not have a chance to actually talk to him. That was the very first time we had a conversation. I asked him, “Where do you teach?” because I really didn’t know; I was not part of the committee that organized the lectures. I just went. He said “Union” and then he explained what he was doing here and about ideas that he actually helped me think very much about Union were, first, this is a place where the practice of diversity can be a promise that can actually happen.
Let me say it differently, it is a place that promises diversity. Now of course we can debate what does that mean? By diversity we mean, in my understanding of it, the place where the presence of other people is valued and they work as well as the kind of solidarity of a community that values diversity practices. For me that was great. That’s not the only thing that he said, it is also a place where you will be able to teach and speak and write on the cutting-edge issues. In fact, you might want to birth those cutting-edge issues and help students to navigate what it means to speak or practice justice.

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