Gockel opens next week

Rebecca Watts

Speakers making an appearance on Missouri Southern campus for the 10th Annual Gockel International Symposium on Oct. 24 are expected to be the highlight of the France Semester.

“If you could attend only one event of the France Semester, just one of our 63 events, it should be the Gockel International Symposium, because it really is the most in-depth, scholarly discussion of the entire semester,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the institute of international studies. “Everyone is interested in France’s relationship with the United States, and what the future holds.”

The speakers will give their presentations, along with discussions and availability to questions from the audience, at 9:30 a.m. in Taylor Performing Arts Center, and the second at 7 p.m. in the Webster Hall Auditorium.

Jean-Benoit Nadeau will present how the French keep a global influence and the importance of understanding.

“In a nutshell, 90 percent of what people hear is based on false assumptions,” Nadeau said. “It’s important to learn why things are the way they are. You cannot understand if you don’t understand where it comes from.”

Dr. Michael Mosher agrees with Nadeau in saying the connection between France and the United States is historically a love/hate relationship, which once in a while “fluctuates in temperature.”

“The defects between France and United States come out when old wounds rub up against each other,” said Mosher, “but [relations] are getting better.”

According to Mosher, the unsupportive actions of the French are a mirror image of what happened in 1955 when the French tried to overtake Egypt, and President Eisenhower pulled the plug.

However, he takes a lighter approach in his demonstration of the difference between United States and France.

“It’s easy to bash the French in the United States, so it’s easy to present the differences through a screwball comedy,” Mosher said.

Every year Southern ties this event into the semester by choosing a central topic under focus for the country, and this year the theme is Friends and Foes, the relationship between France and the United States. The morning presentation will be campus-wide for any class at 9:30 a.m.

“We usually have about 800 people in the morning,” said Stebbins. “There’s a lot of opportunity for audience involvement and participation.”

Following each presentation, Nadeau’s book 60 Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong will be on sell for $10. He will also be offering a signing.