Common Ground Debates

Common Ground Debates bring together people from different sides of an issue for an evening of constructive dialogue. They are a new take on the classic debate framework, but with a focus on solutions and common ground—as opposed to the classic win/lose paradigm. The goal is to bring us out of our bubbles and to foster conversations on key current issues with a wide set of different perspectives.  At each event, there are a total of four speakers (two representing each side) and a moderator, who plays an important part in the discussion.

Our most recent Common Ground Debate was centered on identity politics. It took place at Mission Theater in Portland, OR, and it featured Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying, Robin Johnson, and Michael Parkhurst. The event was moderated by John Wood, Jr., a board member of Bridging Our Divide and a staff member at Better Angels.  

Future topics include:

  1. Merit-based immigration, family migration, and immigration based on need: Where is the path forward?

  2. Should we be designating more land as monuments and reserves?

  3. When does the sharing of ideas become cultural appropriation?

  4. Does climate change adaptation bring economic opportunity?

Want to learn more or host a common ground debate in your city? Get in touch