Two professors began a semester-long series of discussions yesterday for men who want to air their feelings about the Persian Gulf war. Thirteen men, mostly MBA candidates, attended the hour-long forum in Vance Hall. The conversation ranged from American military strategy to how men can deal with their feelings about the war. Without women at the forum, participants said men could talk more freely, without fear of measuring up to notions of being "macho." Associate Social Work Professor Kenwyn Smith, one of the professors who headed the forum, said that men often leave women to bear the burden of grieving. "One of the themes of these Thursday meetings is for us as men to learn how to grieve," Smith said. Smith said that he and Education Professor Peter Kuriloff wanted to provide a forum for men, who often have trouble finding appropriate venues to express their feelings. "Once we get into our adult life, there is never an arena to just talk," Smith said. The discussion drew a diverse group, in age, experience and nationality. Four of the participants had either been in a war zone or had served in the military. Four countries were represented, including Holland, Norway and Lebanon. But Kuriloff said that the age diversity was most valuable. "If we can get an age-range we can learn from each other," Kuriloff said. "We can see the range of options we have." Maroun Edde, a second-year MBA student, said he came in order to better understand what Americans thought about the war as opposed to what he sees and reads in the media. He said he believed the media views Iraqi casualties as far less important than American casualties. "The effect [of bombing] is tremendous," Edde said. "[Iraq] enters history and disappears from geography." Rich Makadok, a Wharton doctoral candidate, said that Kuriloff was especially qualified to lead such a discussion. "From my experience in his classes, he is particularly skilled at helping people deal with difficult feelings on difficult issues," Makadok said. Smith and Kuriloff said they invite all men to attend the sessions. The meetings will be Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. in Vance Hall's Hoover Lounge and will continue at least through the end of the semester and possibly into next year depending on the duration of the war.Comments powered by Disqus
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