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Council of Michigan Foundations Conference Keynote Address

October 5, 2021 @ 2:30 pm 3:30 pm

Through their collaborative project, The Great Lakes Civility Project leaders Nolan Finley and Stephen Henderson will present about Building Understanding and Acceptance for a Diversity of Opinions and Perspectives in Highly Divided Times.

This session will share an introductory look into their unusual friendship, how they built bridges of understanding to one another, across very different political landscapes, and how they expanded that friendship to a format that helps others explore relationships with people in their lives who hold different perspectives toward greater understanding across political lines.

Then, they’ll offer tips for building Civility in personal and family relationships, in the workplace, and in communities, with clear takeaways for everyone to implement in their own lives. They’ll touch on the role of social media and partisan politics in creating greater rifts between Americans, and what they see as possible solutions to the current divisions we are experiencing across the country.

People ultimately want the same goals – it’s just their way of getting there may differ based on life experiences and beliefs. Understanding that, and approaching a conversation with guidelines to make it fruitful and productive, helps people find common ground. This is not a love-everyone approach; it’s a pragmatic process for building Civility, which is sorely needed in this day and age.