a horizontal rule made up of hand illustrated red and blue stars.

What's Next U.S.? Conversation Event Brings Republicans, Democrats, Independents and others together across America to address our nation’s challenges (Press Release)

This #ListenFirstFriday—the International Day for Tolerance—National Conversation Project with its 150+ partner organizations joins civic groups around the world for global #TogetherWeSpeak campaign of conversations across divides. Domestic focus is "What's Next U.S.?" following another socially polarizing election. New conversation guides equip Americans of all stripes to richly engage.

National Conversation Project—a collaborative platform powered by 150+ partners to mainstream conversations in which all #ListenFirst to understand—is partnering with civic organizations around the world for a global #TogetherWeSpeak campaign November 16-18 around the International Day for Tolerance. Following socially polarizing midterm elections, the conversation theme in the United States is "What's Next U.S.?" encouraging Republicans, Democrats, Independents and others to come together across America to address our nation’s challenges in virtual and in-person conversations. Leading partner Living Room Conversations has created two new conversation guides for the event—What's Next U.S.? & Tolerance—and is hosting six virtual flagship conversations over this weekend.

"The tide of rising rancor and deepening division that has frayed the social fabric of the United States is not a uniquely American crisis. Personal animosity across myriad divides increasingly infects cultures around the globe," said Pearce Godwin, Executive Director of National Conversation Project and Founder of Listen First Project. "We're excited to broaden the scope of National Conversation Project this weekend as part of an international event and invite Americans of all stripes to join people around the world in taking advantage of fun, rich, and all-too-rare conversations in which we listen first to understand."

Debilyn Molineaux, Inspiration Director of National Conversation Project and Co-Founder of Living Room Conversations, adds, "Everyone in the United States has an opinion about what’s next for our country. But when we only talk with people who are like us, we become more deeply divided instead of figuring it out. The new conversation guides created by Living Room Conversations are for everyone—a way to connect across our differences and have a fun and meaningful conversation. I always learn something new—sometimes about people I’ve known for years. This event offers a little incentive to reach out, because it’s easier to do scary things when we do it all together. This weekend, let’s figure out what’s next for our country and have some fun along the way."

Describing #TogetherWeSpeak, international campaign developer CIVICUS says, "Never before has the world been so connected. And yet, as many of us look around our communities and countries, we seem increasingly divided... It's no longer enough to speak to those who already agree with us; if we want real change, we need to speak with those who don't agree with us."

Sample Questions from What's Next U.S.? & Tolerance Conversation Guides

  • What does the outcome of the midterm elections mean to you?
  • Despite partisan division, what core values do you think Americans fundamentally agree on?
  • On issues where values are aligned, what common ground solutions would you like to explore?
  • Have you had any relationships damaged by politics? How might you begin to repair them?
  • What does tolerance mean to you?
  • Is tolerance a quality you value in yourself and others? Why or why not?
  • What, if anything, causes you to be intolerant?

What is National Conversation Project & #ListenFirstFriday?

There is growing, even violent, division in communities across America. The problem is that we increasingly don't just disagree with one another. We dislike, distrust, even despise those who see the world differently. We’re withdrawing from conversations—eroding relationships and understanding—fraying our social fabric. 75% of Americans say this problem has reached a crisis level.Experts say the solution is to cultivate more positive social connections.Thankfully, 75% of Americans are willing to practice conversations across divides, and 36%—more than 100 million people—want to see a national campaign to that end. National Conversation Project—powered by 150+ organizations—is the platform for that movement.

National Conversation Project seeks to mend the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides one conversation at a time. We promote National Weeks of Conversation, #ListenFirst Fridays, and any conversation inviting people of all stripes to revitalize America together. NCP aggregates, aligns, and amplifies the efforts of more than 150 hosting partners to mainstream conversations in which we #ListenFirst to understand. www.nationalconversationproject.org #ListenFirst

Every Friday, National Conversation Project elevates the #ListenFirst spirit and practice, encouraging all to be extra intentional about positively connecting with folks they encounter on #ListenFirstFriday. Friday is a great day to foster new connections, share stories of conversations earlier in the week, and consider opportunities to #ListenFirst over the upcoming weekend. Please share stories, pictures, and video + #ListenFirstFriday, encouraging all of us to #ListenFirst to understand.


Weber Shandwick, Civility in America VII: The State of Civility

Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion