The Public Conversations Project prevents and transforms conflicts driven by deep differences in identity, beliefs, or values.
September 29, 2011 — Earlier this month, I joined sixteen colleagues and friends of the Public Conversations Project to mark the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. We met at Conversation Place, PCP’s annex across Kondazian Street to pause, reflect and share some of our thoughts and feelings about that historic, terrifying and tragic event and what has happened since.
August 4, 2011 — Like many Americans, in the past few weeks, I have felt frustrated, angry and helpless as I watched partisan battles suck the energy out of problem-solving initiatives in our nation’s capital. As members of Congress pronounced with certainty that this or that is what the American people want, the American people said, through polls, emails, letters and phone calls, “Actually, what we want is problem solving. Enough is enough!”
March 23, 2011 — Senior Associate of the Public Conversations Project Maggie Herzig discusses what it takes to make engaging in dialogue possible. This piece originally appeared in A Matter of Spirit, the quarterly justice journal of the International Peace & Justice Center. We are pleased be be reposting it here on Words That Matter.
January 13, 2011 — Almost a decade ago, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, I was haunted by unanswerable questions. At that time, I was reminded of an exchange in Elie Wiesel’s Night, his memoir about the Holocaust. Young Elie’s spiritual master, Moche, tells him that every question possesses a power that does not lie in its answer. "Man raises himself toward God by the questions he asks Him," Moche explains.
In our work on issues of public policy, one of the goals of the Public Conversations Project is to bring partisan stakeholders together. Partisans may disagree on the role of government and the type of action that will bring the most benefit to our communities, but perhaps we can all agree that, especially in moments of crisis, we need our leaders to put aside politics long enough to focus on policies that address critical issues.
A recent New York Times analysis about the passage of health care reform describes an issue greater than any single concrete problem: Our ability to problem-solve, together. Be it abortion, a crippled economy, or health care—the last year saw a disturbing amount of name-calling, polarization, and gridlock.
Two weeks ago, I had the honor of facilitating a dialogue on gender with my colleague Alison Streit Baron. All of us — the participants, Alison, and I were surprised to discover how rarely people talk about the life experiences they have had as a man or a woman and the perspectives they have formed related to gender. It was a powerful evening. And it illustrated the importance of what's at the core of our work at the Public Conversations Project: to replace conflict with community by helping people better understand the experiences and perspectives of others.