Search
Username
Pin It
Favorite

Let's Talk it Out 

The Conversation Project works to build bridges with words

If there's one thing people can agree on, it's that the 2016 election revealed a divided nation. With little to no sign of closing anytime soon, many are looking for a way to bridge the chasm that exists between social and political circles. In partnership with local nonprofits and community groups, Oregon Humanities is working to do just that through a method of communication so basic it is often taken for granted: conversation.

The Conversation Project was built around the belief that coming together to talk about important issues and ideas—across different backgrounds and beliefs—is a positive step toward more just and welcoming communities. The program runs year-round and offers a variety of facilitated conversations on topics such as homelessness, immigration and privilege— all free to the public.

According to Annie Kaffen, Oregon Humanities program and special initiatives manager, the program launched in 2009 and has since offered 25 to 30 different programs each year. "We try to be intentional about including topics and ideas in that are going to be relevant across the state, always recognizing that Oregon is not one size fits all." she says. "Oregon is unique both in the spaciousness of its landscape and vastness in its diversity of perspectives."

Oregon Humanities is currently seeking topic proposals from new conversation leaders for the 2017-2018 season, which begins this fall. Kaffen says, "In a normal applications window, Organ Humanities receives around 40 applications for conversations from across the state. Since the election—in a given application window—we've had requests for conversations pushing 100." She sees the dramatic uptick in requests as a sign people feel that more is at stake and are yearning for opportunities to talk.

Central Oregon is currently home to two conversation leaders: Kerani Mitchell and Jason Graham. Mitchell serves on the Bend International School Board of Directors and facilitates the conversation, "Where Are You From? Exploring What Makes Us Oregonians," scheduled to take place in a variety of locations, including the High Desert Museum on March 21. Graham, an Oregon-based artist and educator, will facilitate the program, "What We Risk: Creativity, Vulnerability and Art," throughout the state as well.

Portland-based peace worker, Manuel Padilla, will bring "The Space Between Us: Immigrants, Refugees and Oregon" to Bend as part of the COCC Foundation's Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program's 2017 Season of Nonviolence, on March 8. Kaffen emphasizes that the goal of The Conversation Project is not to change minds or push an agenda. She says, "It is intended to be an exploratory opportunity to come together face to face and hear what our neighbors think and why they think it."

Information on the conversations being offered in Central Oregon and throughout the state can be found on Oregon Humanities' website calendar.

Oregon Humanities Conversation Project

oregonhumanities.org

"The Space Between Us: Immigrants, Refugees and Oregon"

March 8, 6:30pm Central Oregon Community College, 2600 NW College Way, Bend

cocc.edu/foundation/vsp/

"Where Are You From? Exploring What Makes Us Oregonians"

March 21, 6pm

High Desert Museum, 59800 S. Hwy 97, Bend

highdesertmuseum.org


Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Newsletter Signup

Cascades Reader Logo Cascades Reader

Get your daily dose of news for Central Oregon and beyond, delivered to your inbox five days a week. Powered by the Source Weekly.

Latest in Culture Features

  • 'Newsies' kicks up some musical fun

    • Aug 14, 2019
    Disney's energized take on the 1899 carrier strike opens Friday More »
  • Battle Buddies

    • Aug 14, 2019
    Local nonprofit sponsors emotional support dog training for veterans More »
  • Love Stories

    • Aug 7, 2019
    The Sunriver Music Festival enters its 42nd year, with a focus on the power of love More »
  • More »

More by Annette Benedetti

  • The Best Laid Plans

    The Best Laid Plans

    Tips for Transitioning Kids with Autism Back to School
    • Jul 30, 2019
  • Back Off, Mama Bear

    Back Off, Mama Bear

    Why rescuing your kids might actually be harming them
    • Jul 30, 2019
  • Healthy Teen Dating

    Healthy Teen Dating

    Saving Grace addresses teen relationships & violence prevention in Deschutes County
    • May 28, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

© 2019 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation