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  • Writer's pictureEmma Stenström

Ten ways to become a conversation activist

Some shy away from people they think are very different or have strongly opposing views. To meet and talk with an open mind is another approach. It might puff out some hot air, so things calm down a bit. Here are ten initiatives to check out when you want to be a conversation activist.

Answer a few questions. Become matched with someone somewhere in Europe with opposite views. Meet and talk about it, digitally. It might be over Corona restrictions or immigration. Next session takes place on December 13th, 2020. It's arranged by Die Zeit and media partners all over Europe. So far the organization has matched 40 000 conversations.

Over 4 100 academics work to increase open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement. The idea is to counteract a culture where people fear or shame those who question commonly held ideas. The academy was founded in 2015 by Jonathan Haidt, Chris Martin, and Nicholas Rosenkranz, in reaction to the negative impact a lack of ideological diversity has had on the quality of research and education.

Braver Angels A membership organization that seeks to depolarize American politics. They make Democrats and Republicans meet and talk with the objective to move from hatred or disdain to respect and appreciation. The leadership is shared between Democrats and Republicans.

Make America Dinner Again Can dinner heal a divided country? Make America dinner again match people with different opinions to a dinner together (now online). Topics can be polarization or race and ethnicity. The organization cooperate with “Living room conversations”.

Living room conversationsA model developed by dialogue experts in order to facilitate connection between people despite their differences, and identify areas of common ground and shared understanding.The organization has developed 100 conversation guides on all sorts of topics that can otherwise be tense to talk about with friends, strangers, and even loved ones.

OpenMind is an online program with five steps that weave together psychological content along with real examples and scenarios. The objective is to foster openness to diverse perspectives and equip people with the skills to communicate constructively across differences. Dialup is a voice-chat app that connects you to people in surprising ways around the world. Try it for free on iOS or Android. The app is constructed by Max Hawkins (founding father of Bubble-hopping) a computer scientist and artist who has worked at Google's Data Arts Team, Apple, and YouTube.

C Thinking is an intervention science research group based in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. It aims to help people see their world and conflicts in more complex ways in order to prevent violence and promote community. The group has piloted and assessed in a variety of conflict contexts in the United Kingdom, Kenya, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pakistan, and Finland.

Support for volunteers who wants to help “repairing our country’s social fabric, which is badly frayed by distrust, division and exclusion.” Run by the Aspen Institute in collaboration with journalist and author David Brooks.

Together for SwedenAn inter-religious guidance and training for young people aimed at combating xenophobia, racism, and extremism. The project is based on human rights and wants to show how religion can be a path to integration and vigor for young adults in the work for peace and understanding.

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