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SALT LAKE CITY -- One voice in Washington is taking his message of "civility" to all 50 states. Jim Leach, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities came to Utah to spread his message of the need for better public discourse.
During his three-day stay, Jim Leach will participate in the Utah Humanities Council's annual awards Thursday evening.
The National Endowment for the Humanities, created in 1965, supports research, education, preservation and programs through the country as an independent grant-making federal agency.
Leach spent 30 years as a Republican from Iowa in the House of Representatives. The message he is taking to all 50 states with his American Civility Tour is "civilization requires civility" and "words matter".
He says, "Debate is excellent, but when one starts to say to a fellow citizen, 'you're a communist, you're a fascist,' those are words with kind of warring implications, and they also imply one's not willing to listen to the other side."
He adds, "Civility isn't exactly good manners, it's far more than that. It's a willingness to say, 'I'm interested in what you think. Why do you think that?' And, just maybe, I might learn something from you."
Jim Leach will deliver the Commencement Address and receive an honorary degree at Westminster College on Saturday.