At the kickoff to The Seminar Network’s annual winter meeting today, Network Chairman Brian Hooks highlighted the outstanding work of several Network partners who are working to develop solutions to many of society’s most pressing problems.
“Where others see division,” Hooks said, “we’re looking for common ground.”
Others share that desire to collaborate. In fact, a recent study finds that 77 percent of Americans believe we can still come together despite our disagreements. And partners doing just that define the Network’s commitment to supporting research on the roots of intolerance and partnering with social entrepreneurs who are identifying the tools to bridge divides. These include:
- Urban Specialists, an organization providing communities with forums for healing by bringing into dialogue families of victims of police brutality and those of slain police officers;
- StoryCorps, which brings together people with opposing political views in respectful conversation;
- Narrative 4, where participants listen to, then repeat back one another’s stories; and
- Scientists such as Beau Lotto, who are studying why intolerance and bias are part of the human condition.
“Ideas like civil discourse and free expression are fundamental to everything we’re doing as a Network and fundamental to solving problems facing our country today,” said Sarah Ruger, director of free expression at the Charles Koch Institute, in a video presented to Seminar Network participants.
This runs throughout the Network’s mission to eliminate barriers across the key institutions of society – education, communities, business, and government – so everyone can achieve their extraordinary potential. In doing so, we seek common ground, and new and greater opportunities to unite social entrepreneurs to break the biggest barriers preventing people from realizing their potential.