Hollywood film producer Kristin Hahn and Kelley School of Business professor Timothy Fort spoke about peace shown through storytelling Tuesday evening in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.
Hahn is also the 2022 Kelley Poling Chair of Business and Government. She is well-known for her current position as executive producer of the Apple TV show “The Morning Show,” which stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Fort, a business ethics professor, said he has been working on issues of peace and business for more than 20 years.
They showed clips from genres such as historical dramas and nonfiction films. The clips ranged from “Forrest Gump” to a documentary piece about baboons. More recent ones were from social media and broadcast news. But they all had one thing in common – people coming together and valuing each other despite differences.
“More than ever, our culture, our country is very divided ideologically,” Hahn said in an interview with the IDS. “It’s something that we all hopefully care about and are curious about because if we don’t start making overtures to find common ground, we’re going to continue to just slip further and further apart.”
The event stemmed from the idea of creating bridges between different cultures and beliefs through shared experiences, Hahn said. Often, the individuals in the clips would use gestures such as food, humor or music to peacefully interact with people different from them.
In one “Forrest Gump” clip, Bubba told Forrest about his family’s history with shrimp. In another clip, Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia became good friends through humor and their shared love of opera despite viewing the law through different lenses.
Hahn said she hopes the audience takes away ideas on how to build bridges with people in their own lives who they’re in conflict with.
“Some of these gestures are not epic in nature,” Hahn said about the featured clips. “They’re quite, in a sense, small gestures that make a big difference.”
Fort said small gestures and shared experiences are applicable among college students. In one clip, a college softball player longed to hit a home run. But when she finally did, she tore her ACL and was not able to run the bases until players from the opposing team carried her around the diamond.
“37 seconds,” Fort said about the student’s gesture. “37 seconds, from a college student exactly your age.”
Fort said by finding common ground, we can have much more constructive conversations.
“That is a really crucial step that we need to have,” Fort said. “It’s true in the classroom. It’s true for fraternities and sororities. It’s true in your family. It’s true on all kinds of levels, and that’s what I want people to walk away with.”
Jakob Hebebrand, a junior economics major in one of Fort’s classes, said Fort uses examples like these clips often.
“To just talk about no matter how different people may appear on the surface or anything like that, there are things that unite humans,” Hebebrand said.