#4: Peace Week Practice – Advancing Reconciliation and Understanding in the U.S.

By: David J. Smith, September 21, 2017

Today is the International Day of Peace.   I’ve already posted today on community colleges and streaming of the Peace Channel.

The most pressing challenge facing Americans today is our political and social divide. This divide was pronounce in the November elections, with Americans feeling we were more divided than ever before.   Since then, public opinion has not changed.  Many feel we are more divided as a country today than at any time since the Civil War.

What can be done?  It is not a matter of changing people’s minds on important issues, but learning about their perspectives and views of the world.  Using dialogue to reach out to those who are politically different is one means.   In conversation, our approach cannot be one of “defeating” another one’s argument, rather it should be about reaching a level of understanding.  This in turns provides space for finding commonality and agreeing on perspectives, which then leads to a shared vision of the future.   This is an important precept of peace.

Over the past several months, I’ve posted about this issue.  Below are some of my previous posts, as well as other ideas I have read about.   For today, think about someone who has a different political or social view than your own.  How might you engage in conversation with them? And then do it.

Politicians Can’t Seem to do it, But These Citizens are Learning How to Find Common Ground, Washington Post, 7/21

Tips for Conversation During Thanksgiving from NCDD

E pluribus unum: Out of many, one

Small Steps for Bridging the Divide in Our Country: Day One

Facts Don’t Change People’s Minds. Here’s What Does


Published by David J. Smith

I am a career coach, consultant, and head of a not for profit - the Forage Center - that offers humanitarian education training. I also teach at George Mason University and Drexel University. A one time lawyer, I spent many years teaching in a community college where I was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar teaching in Estonia. I'm the author of Peace Jobs: A Student's Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (IAP 2016). I've been married to my best friend for over 31 years and we have two well adjusted adult children who teach me something new everyday. I live in Rockville, Maryland.

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