July 17, 2017

Claudia Cohen is Adjunct Faculty in the Social-Organizational Program & Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (MD-ICCCR) at the Teachers College of Columbia University.

On a recent Friday morning, while half-listening to NPR, I found myself riveted by a story. It was a conversation between a District Court judge and an Afghan war veteran who had appeared in his Court. The story was moving, with a surprising twist. But what kept me transfixed for those few mom...

July 17, 2017

Many people have shared with us at Civity the Heineken ad showing people who were brought together to engage across difference over a beer. This ad and others like it tap into the growing awareness of just how polarized we are, as well as encourage us to find commonality, even in the face of our most stark differences.

Civity supports efforts to bridge divides and help people come together, and we applaud Heineken and other companies and organizations for exploring this trope and presenting these...

March 30, 2017

Many of us came out of last year’s election season battered and bruised. It seemed that no matter who we voted for, many of us were (and still are) angry – angry at the other side. Some of us went into the holiday season concerned about facing members of our family across the dinner table who represented that “other.” Many people asked me, how can I talk to my uncle? My cousin? My father? What can I say?

My experience over the holidays was also about family, but different. I had a chance to have...

March 30, 2017

“Our belief is that civility doesn’t have to taste like broccoli,” said Jacob Hess, member of Living Room Conversations and Director of the Utah chapter of The Village Square. “It doesn’t have to be this heavy civic duty that people do just because they’re supposed to. We can actually have some fun with it.”

Hess appeared on This is Civity Radio to talk about the AllSides Dictionary, an online resource that helps people from differing perspectives better understand what a word means coming from a...

 The airwaves this summer and fall have been filled with division – as well as people clamoring to be heard.

Civity’s message about the importance of seeing people who are different from us as members of our larger community has taken on a new urgency.

Civity’s framework – Intentionality, Authenticity, Respect and Empathy across Difference – and the accompanying practical strategies for communicating a sense of mutual belonging, are gaining traction.

  • In recent months, Civity has been touch...

October 28, 2016

Last spring Civity invited Bay Area leaders working for equity to a Civity Academy.

Individuals from a range of organizations, including Bay Area Social Justice Funders Network, The Bridgespan Group, Palo Alto Forward, VolunteerMatch, and Catholic Charities, came together to prepare to use Civity to further their work. The two dozen leaders also hailed from faith communities, environmental organizations, and educational institutions.

In a kick-off workshop, the cohort was introduced to the Civity...

Civity is helping people in Arlington, VA, learn how to facilitate complex and challenging discussions on race.

Marty Swaim, co founder of Challenging Racism, says it works through facilitated conversation groups that “build a community of people who, whenever the subject of race comes up, they don’t run away.  They stay there and they listen and they engage.”  With patience and persistence, Challenging Racism helps “people not be afraid.”

This summer, Challenging Racism’s Marty Swaim invited...

October 28, 2016

“There are so many people that just want to be heard. They want to have a voice. They love their communities.”

Vivek Patil, director of outreach for the Arlington County Democratic Committee in Virginia, keeps this simple truth in mind. His Civity-based approach to community building has helped him bridge divides with people to find connection and commonality.

Patil tells “This is Civity Radio Show” that he knows his approach is different from the traditional view of party outreach – knocking on d...

One of the people who inspire us is Mario Morino, Chairman of Venture Philanthropy Partners and author of “Leap of Reason: Managing to Outcomes in an Age of Scarcity”. Morinoand his colleague Lowell Weiss also publish a monthly Leap of Reason update. Mario recently offered us this excerpt from the March update, giving a shout-out to empathy –and love – as “critical success factors” to strengthen nonprofit work. Thank you, Mario and Lowell, for showing how building Civity connects to better outco...

Civity and the Civity Academy are grounded in cutting-edge research into how the actions of individuals can influence society – for the better. From time to time, we will share key aspects of this evolving field with our readers. We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

 

The political weather reports are telling us that it’s nasty out there. 

 

Michael Gerson at the Washington Post writes that “insults, invective and coarseness” will be “one of the ways that the election of 2016 will be remembered...

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