News from the Public Conversations Project...
The Public Conversations Project's December E-News focuses on "Talking About Politics across Divides." The e-newsletter announces some great resources designed to help those who with to engage in respectful, meaningful conversations with people who have vast political differences. PCP's Executive Director, Laura Chasin, recently wrote an article for the Christian Science Monitor's "Talking with the Enemy" series, and PCP has created some resources around that series. Click below to learn more about all of this, and to check the dates for PCP's highly acclaimed trainings this spring.
Talking About Politics across Divides
Now that the elections are over and the holiday season is here, we are seeing signs that more and more people are eager to have constructive political conversations with people on "the other side."
With that in mind, we are sharing links to resource pages designed to help those who wish to engage in respectful, nuanced conversations with people who have deep, enduring political differences. Our short list includes:
(1) The Christian Science Monitor "Talking with the Enemy" series
(2) New resources for "talking with the enemy"
(3) Holiday special: PCP's one-page guide to 1-on-1 conversations
(4) PCP's new spring training line-up
(1) CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR "TALKING WITH THE ENEMY" SERIES
The Christian Science Monitor recently ran a series of articles exploring the "red/blue" political divide in the US. Eight thought-provoking pieces featured reflections from the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission and scholars such as Daniel Yankelovich and Deborah Tannen. Laura Chasin, executive director of the Public Conversations Project (PCP), contributed the final op-ed, encouraging readers to put an end to unproductive, polarizing practices.
This work seems to have struck a national nerve. The Christian Science Monitor is extending this special feature into an ongoing column. PCP has created a suite of companion resources (see below) for readers who want to use the Monitor's series to spark fresh, connective conversations. To help inspire dialogue and personal reflection, we also developed questions about each article and about the series as a whole. For example:
-- What do you wish that those who disagree with you could understand about your candidate's beliefs, values and worldviews?
-- What do you most want to understand about people who voted differently from the way you did?
-- What do you most wish for the US? What do you imagine people who have radically different views than yours wish for the US? How might you check those assumptions?
-- What forms of negativity have you been most aware of in the public square in recent months? How have they affected you?
To read the full Christian Science Monitor series, visit http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1015/p10s02-coop.html
See below for additional resources.
Do you have a story to tell about a breakthrough you've experienced in a politically polarized situation? The Christian Science Monitor is interested in your ideas, as an opinion essay or as simple feedback, which can be sent to its "Talking With the Enemy" series at .
(2) NEW PCP RESOURCES FOR "TALKING WITH THE ENEMY"
PCP has developed a suite of new, practical materials designed to encourage new thinking and personal connections across deep and lasting differences. They are intended for use with the Christian Science Monitor series and on their own. Highlights include tips and background for making hard conversations work; several complete dialogue guides; and an FAQ section for dialogue bridge-builders, including practical, printable materials from sample invitations to clear communication agreements.
These and other resources are available at www.publicconversations.org
(3) HOLIDAY SPECIAL: ONE-PAGE GUIDE TO 1-ON-1 CONVERSATIONS
As the holidays approach, many of us will have the chance to sit down in person and speak with friends and family members who have deeply different political views. While some might avoid talking about politics for fear of negative consequences, such conversations can be remarkably good opportunities to strengthen relationships and create mutual understanding. Yet it is not always easy to have constructive conversations, particularly when strong emotions are involved.
To help, PCP has developed a new one-page guide to one-on-one conversations. We encourage you to find some quiet time to connect with someone you care about, and to use PCP's guide to explore your hopes and concerns about what lies ahead for the US and the world. The guide and other timely materials are available in the "Resources" section at www.publicconversations.org.
If you use these resources, please email to let us know what worked and what could be improved.
(4) PCP'S NEW SPRING TRAINING LINE-UP
For hands-on opportunities to learn more about ways to bridge divides, we invite you to attend one of PCP's trainings. We deliver foundational workshops that introduce the building blocks of dialogue, professional development workshops for more experienced practitioners, and a suite of workshops focusing on the applications of dialogue in specific contexts.
Our new spring training line-up includes:
February 3 - 5, 2005: The Power of Dialogue (San Diego)
March 3 - 5, 2005: The Power of Dialogue (Boston)
March 23, 2005: Inquiry as Intervention (Boston)
April 8 - 9, 2005: Inquiry as Intervention + The Art of Interviewing (San Diego)
April 13, 2005: Preparing for Dialogue (Boston)
May 3 - 4, 2005: Staying Grounded When on the Spot (Boston)
May 12 - 13, 2005: Reflective Leadership in Frenzied Times (Boston)
For detailed workshop descriptions, visit www.publicconversations.org and click on "Upcoming Workshops." To register, contact Manda Adams at or 617-923-1216 x13.
To join PCP's mailing list, email with the word "subscribe" in the subject line.