About
National Week of Conversation

National Week of Conversation is a week-long event where Americans from all walks of life have conversations that prioritize listening first to understand those we tend to think of as “the other.” In conversations—and the relationships they build—is hope for mending the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides.

Background & History

A healthy, vibrant society and democracy requires effective communication among citizens. But the past several years have been hard on conversations. 75% of Americans now believe our inability to engage civilly with one another has reached a crisis level. Experts say our country hasn’t been this divided since the 1850s. Our modern tech habits separate us into tribes that seldom interact.

Without relationships, animosity grows. Not just for different perspectives, but also for the people who hold them. Disagreements grow into dislike, distrust, and even disgust with the other.

We can turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division. Each person who listens first to understand the other tips the scales toward a stronger future for our nation. In conversations—and the relationships they build—is hope for mending the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides.

Core Team

*Debilyn Molineaux
Bridge Alliance and Living Room Conversations

*John Gable
AllSides and AllSidesForSchools.org

*Pearce Godwin
Listen First Project & Listen First Coalition

Jaymee Copenhaver
AllSides

Cheryl Graeve
National Institute of Civil Discourse

Sandy Heierbacher
National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation

Caroline Klibanoff
Big Tent Nation

Serena Witherspoon
Living Room Conversations

*co-directors, email questions

Our Origins

In October 2017, a group of about 20 leaders were hosted by Chicago Community Trust to design a national conversation project. The National Week of Conversation is the initial offering and 2018 is the inaugural event.  The design team participants were:

  • Joan Blades
  • Martin Carcasson
  • David Cherry
  • Margie Cook
  • Tiana Epps-Johnson
  • Josh Feigelson
  • John Gable
  • Pearce Godwin
  • Jenn Graham
  • Sandy Heierbacher
  • Joe Hoereth
  • Cheryl Hughes
  • Richard J Jasculca
  • F. Willis Johnson
  • Brandyn Keating
  • Matt Kibbe
  • Eric Liu
  • Debilyn Molineaux
  • Chad Peace
  • Rob Richie
  • John Steiner
  • Janet Tran

Funding

Organizing partners have donated their expertise, time and resources to make this event possible. National Week of Conversation is a project of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund, which paid for this website. All other resources have been donated.

Organizing Partners

The National Week of Conversation is brought to you by the following organizations.
For more about our participating partners see our partners page.

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