Monday, April 3, 2017

HNMCP to Host Alumni Edition of Harvard Community Dialogue

April 7th alumni edition

The upcoming HLS Spring Reunion is filled to the brim with unique speaker events, panels, and social events. As one of these events, the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) will offer an opportunity for alumni, current students, staff, faculty, and community members to participate in small group facilitated dialogue.

Professor Bob Bordone ’97 and HNMCP will lead and facilitate an alumni edition of Harvard Community Dialogue on April 7th. The session will be an opportunity for participants to explore diverse perspectives on important political issues, centered around the themes of, “Parties, Politics, and the Future of Healthcare in the United States”. Participants are not expected to have inside knowledge of the topic of healthcare, but rather to come with a curiosity to learn from others in the conversation and to contribute constructively and authentically. The Harvard Community Dialogue Facilitation Corps—students who have been trained with HNMCP faculty—will facilitate the small group dialogues, along with Professor Bob Bordone ’97, Rachel Viscomi ’01, and others on the HNMCP teaching team.

This event is part of HNMCP’s broad initiative to create a variety of spaces for political dialogue that meet the need in the Harvard community and beyond for spaces of trust, curiosity, and low-risk engagement on politically divisive issues. As political polarization in the United States continues to deepen in the wake of the 2016 election, many are wondering how to bridge the growing divides in family, classroom, faith communities, and online forums. Dialogue that involves a range of perspectives can seem futile, or worse, can seem to exacerbate divisions. In the face of these growing challenges, HNMCP’s political dialogue initiative remains committed to convening people with differences and facilitating difficult conversations about issues that cut to the core of identity and belief.

HNMCP is also currently collaborating with HLS Admissions and the Dean of Students Office to facilitate dialogue on identity and lawyering for admitted students from traditionally underrepresented identities or groups. The first of these sessions, entitled “Diversity Days @ HLS”, took place at the first Admitted Students weekend on the fourth weekend in March, and the second session will occur on April 22nd.

Earlier this spring, the clinic also hosted two dialogue sessions as part of its Harvard Community Dialogue project.  “What is America? A Community Dialogue on National Identity and Immigration”, and “The Press: Sensationalism, Ratings, and Responsibility” were the two respective topics for discussion. More broadly, HNMCP’s work in the last few years has included a pedagogical focus on the theory and practice of facilitation. HNMCP offered the “Lawyer as Facilitator Workshop” to students and is also in the process of publishing the facilitation resource video “Police-Community Dialogue.”