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LEADERSHIP SURVIVAL SKILLS XXVIII: Dialogue Across the Political Divide

  • Harvard Kennedy School 79 John F. Kennedy Street Cambridge, MA, 02138 United States (map)

Are you finding political and civic discourse more acrimonious than ever?

Do you avoid topics with relatives or friends because of differing political perspectives?

Would you like a better way to talk with others with different political viewpoints without either getting into shouting matches or walking away in bewilderment?

Katie Hyten from Essential Partners will offer a unique approach to dialogue that promotes connection and curiosity between those who see one another as the “enemy”. Their approach has transformed conflicts across the country and the world - but its principles are widely applicable for everyday conversation. 

An intentional communication process can help individuals, organizations and communities build trust, enhance resilience for addressing future challenging issues, and have constructive conversations with those they otherwise “wouldn’t be caught dead with.”

During this workshop, we will:

▪ Learn basic theory and practice of a relationship-centered approach to better communication and dialogue.

▪ Achieve shared, clear, and mutually understood purpose in a conversation.

▪ Stimulate self-discovery and curiosity about the “other” through questions that promote connection, curiosity and caring.

▪ Practice questions that can help communication across the political divide.

About our Speaker:  

Katie Hyten joined Essential Partners (formerly The Public Conversations Project) after completing her graduate studies at Tufts University's Fletcher School, where her research in religious conflicts focused on the need for effective communication in complex political issues. Prior to that, she helped develop the first university-wide interreligious institute at Pepperdine University. At Pepperdine, Katie organized and administered the university's first international program in Israel-Palestine, coordinated the institute’s events, drafted all communications and reporting, and helped develop an educational curriculum around inter-religious issues. Katie has also worked with Search for Common Ground in Lebanon, RESULTS Educational Fund in Washington, DC, and as a mediator in the Massachusetts District Courts. She has completed training in mediation and conflict transformation and was awarded Harvard’s Program on Negotiation (PON) Summer Fellowship in 2013.

Essential Partners has worked for more than 25 years to facilitate conversations and equip people using their approach to dialogue. Their Reflective Structured Dialogue method is applicable and adaptable in a wide variety of contexts. It relies on preparation, structure, questions, facilitation, and reflection to enable people to harness their capacity to have the conversations they need to have. They offer training, facilitation, and consultation aimed to equip communities to have the conversations about what is most essential to be able to move forward and create new ways of being together.

WHERE:  Harvard Kennedy School; Taubman 401

WHEN:    Tuesday, November 28th, from 6PM to 8:30 PM (program starts at 6:30 pm)


The workshop fee is $25 (and it includes light snacks)! If you have any questions, contact Karen Kingsbury at or call 617 227 2050

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