"Thanks for Listening" spotlights efforts to bridge the political divide in the U.S. through dialogue and collaborative processes, profiling the important and often courageous work of individuals and organizations who are helping citizens engage with one another on challenging topics. Episodes will dive deep into such issues as: managing difficult family dynamics and relationships affected by partisan differences; bridging the divides in Congress, the media, and in our social media spaces; training youth to move through conflict and toward civic responsibility; embracing dialogue in the face of extremism; engaging with others on highly emotional issues; and on working to restore divided communities. We hope that through the everyday examples of ordinary and extraordinary people all over the country, listeners will find optimism that we can—and are—moving beyond partisan divides, as well as inspiration to become part of the solution.
"Thanks for Listening" is made possible by the generous funding of the American Arbitration Association International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation.
Thanks for Listening, Ep10: Mr. Phillips goes to Washington
Thanks for Listening, Ep10: Mr. Phillips goes to Washington by Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program
Thanks for Listening, Ep 9: Racism, Dialogue, and Avoiding the “Woodchipper of Partisanship”
The death of George Floyd sparked widespread protests demanding justice and the dismantling of structural racism in the US. At the same time as the nation in some ways fell into the familiar grooves of division, there was also a palpable sense of new and different energy around Black Lives Matter as a movement, both in calls for action and also an eagerness for learning and reflection about racism in America. This episode explores efforts to bridge divides around racial justice and asks some fundamental questions about the nature of dialogue in this moment. What exactly is the dialogue that needs to be had on race and racism? Is this a time for some to speak and others to listen? Do we need everyone’s voice? And if so, how can we draw all those voices in?
Our guest, Liz Joyner of The Village Square, has been wrestling with these very questions. She shares her experience and perspective borne of fifteen years helping people engage across their differences, not by helping people agree, but by helping them to disagree, and keep talking anyway. She describes ongoing and upcoming initiatives from The Village Square to convene difficult conversations about race—and how even well-intentioned conversations all too often devolve into a toxic “us vs. them" dynamic, what she calls “the woodchipper of partisanship.”
Thanks for Listening, Ep8: Strength in Numbers
Our guest, Pearce Godwin, founded and now leads the Listen First Project, and has been steadily building the Listen First Coalition—some 300+ member organizations all working to bridge divides and bring people in this country back together again. Pearce shares his insight about the challenges of coalition-building, the powerful impact that Listen First Coalition members have had by joining forces, and seizing on this moment of COVID-driven isolation to use social media and digital platforms to enable people to bridge rather than deepen divides.
Thanks for Listening Ep7: Echo Chamber or Space for Learning? Navigating Divides on Social Media
Welcome to the seventh episode of our podcast, Thanks for Listening!
This episode explores the challenges inherent in online political engagement. While some of us may have had positive experiences connecting with others around political issues online, we also have seen online spaces become unhelpful, potentially harmful echo chambers for what we already believe, rather than sites for learning from those who see the world differently. With more social interaction moving into the virtual world as we weather Covid-19, these challenges are even more urgent. What role does social media play in perpetuating or even amplifying divides? Is there hope for a richer, healthier form of online political dialogue?
Our guest on this episode is an expert in the field of digital media and learning. Professor Andres Lombana-Bermudez explains some of the technological and sociological factors that amplify polarization on social media, and also shares an example of a social media platform that it is proving that online communities actually can work together to foster constructive dialogue and engagement.
Thanks for Listening Ep 6: Listening for the Divide
What can communities do to bridge divides and address simmering tensions before they boil over? Our guests on this episode, Becky Monroe and Bill Froelich, ask this question each day in their work at the Divided Community Project, based at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. As we heard in Episode 3, facilitated dialogue helped communities in MN heal in the traumatic aftermath of the killing of Philando Castile. The Divided Community Project supports communities seeking to reach across divides and engage tension before it boils over, and builds their capacity to engage when a crisis does erupt. Join us in this episode as Becky and Bill describe the origins of the Divided Community Project, the challenges of surfacing underlying and long-standing tensions, and how they engage with communities to “listen for the divide.”
Thanks for Listening: Ep5 - "It's Trump Time"
Communities in Kentucky and Massachusetts convene for dialogue about families, life, and politics