We want to hear from you!

Share your thoughts with us!

Thank you to everyone who attended Conversations in a Civil Society. Share your thoughts with us!

We would like to thank our moderator, CCHS Social Studies teacher Ethan Hoblitzelle, and our panelists Ona Ferguson from Consensus Building Institute, Robert Munro from Middlesex School, and Rose Pavlov from Ivy Child for a fantastic program.

We spent the evening discussing ways to navigate our differences – politics, religion, values, lifestyle, etc. Our panelists talked about how we learn to have conversations around issues that sometimes divide us, and how we learn to listen better, discuss, and even find ways to bridge some of the issues that separate us.

Click here to access last night’s slides.

What is your reaction to what our panelists had to say? Do you feel you are better equipped with some strategies for approaching difficult conversations? What kinds of programming would you like to see as a follow up? Please post your reactions, comments, and questions.

Don’t forget to save the date for The Defamation Experience on Wednesday, November 7, 2018!

The Play, The Deliberation, The Discussion. THE DEFAMATION EXPERIENCE is a unique interactive diversity program composed of three parts; the play, which explores the highly charged issues of race, class, religion, gender; the law with a twist: you are the jury. Through deliberations and post show discussion, the audience participates in civil discourse that challenges preconceived notions. Learn more at http://defamationtheplay.com Tickets will go on sale in September.

5 Responses

  1. Diane Copenhaver says:

    two requests
    1. I would appreciate a soft copy of Ona’s charts.
    2. I would like to follow up on my questions about what has fundamentally changed in our society. I think it is related to the press and the fact that the press no longer is required to give equal time to equal sides or positions. To follow up, I would like to get the panelist opinion on :How we can create a a culture that welcomes and embraces opposing views for the purpose of being better informed, having a better understanding of the “world” around them? This question is not about changing the country but how to influence individuals in one’s sphere – Children, family members, co workers, friends.

  2. Thanks Diane! The link to the slides are now posted above.

  3. John Ballantine says:

    My wife, Ann, thought it would have been interesting / valuable to poll or ask the audience what “difficult conversations” that they were concerned about. This would have helped orient some of the speaker comments to the audience concerns. She also wondered whether she/others should be reaching out to those who disagree with us — get out of our bubble.

    The moderator and panelist did a terrific job in the last half of the discussion, taking the topic to the audience. Very well done and good interactions. Maybe More time for smaller group discussions, IF the forum was held on a Saturday with some breakout times and refreshments.

    Thanks all,

  4. Ethan Hoblitzelle says:


    I know you asked for a response from one of the panelists, so mine may not be entirely sufficient. But I have given this a good deal of thought. Part of the problem has to do with the way news is consumed on the web. If you are a regular reader of liberal news sources like the New York Times or The Atlantic, Facebook analogs and news aggregator sites will often place similar types of articles at the top of the feed. In other words, you have to make a conscious effort to pursue a viewpoint and perspective other than your own since your online reading history and political bias will be self-reinforcing after a while. After the election, I got a subscription to the Wall Street Journal and started to read the National Review more regularly and this helped me in conversations with conservative family members. It also allowed me to suggest that they do the same thing from the other side. If you haven’t already seen sites like AllSides, you might want to take a look (https://www.allsides.com/unbiased-balanced-news). This is a news aggregator with three articles from the right, center, and left positions on a wide variety of topics. I have found it helpful to be a little playful about it–I suggest to friends and family members that I’ll check out “their” articles if they agree to read mine. I have found that even if others don’t do this, it gives you more credibility if you can demonstrate that you understand the underlying arguments and assumptions of those that differ from you. The internet and the emergence of strictly partisan cable news channels create the political polarization we are seeing. Maybe the panelists themselves will have more to offer here.

    • Diane Copenhaver says:

      Thank you, Ethan. I am not familiar with that source, I will be sure to give it a try. I agree that fundamental issue is that citizens today are not motivated to delve deep into a topic. In the spirit if sharing, I like Geopolitical new source call Stratfor. I have a monthly subscription but they have free articles. Today they had a very good article about the pros/cons of pulling out from Syria. This was more high level than some of their other articles, obviously the subject was much more complicated. 🙂