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Harvard Dialogues


Harvard’s 2024 spring term kicked off with events across the University designed to enhance our ability to engage in respectful and robust debate.

A fence and tree from Harvard Yard

Listening sessions

The Presidential Task Force on Combating Antisemitism and the Presidential Task Force on Combating Anti-Muslim and Anti-Arab Bias will begin holding listening sessions to hear from members of the Harvard community.

Learn more about the listening sessions

An aerial shot of the Harvard campus

Universities coming together

Dialogue & Action Series

This series features conversations among colleagues from across nine Massachusetts universities in the spirit of tackling difficult issues and modeling constructive dialogue.

Learn more about this cross-university collaboration

Revisiting the conversations

Looking back at the trainings, workshops, and scholarship of Harvard Dialogues week

Harvard students in an audience asking questions

The Summit on Intellectual Vitality and Free Expression

Harvard Dialogues kicked off with a the two-day gathering co-hosted by the Harvard College and PEN America featured scholars of law, history, and politics, and workshops for undergraduate students.

Learn more about the summit

Setting the Table: Best Practices in Establishing Civil Discourse Norms in the Classroom

In this workshop, participants thought deeply about how to foster constructive dialogue and establish free and open conversations in Harvard classrooms. Moderator Eric Beerbohm discussed best practices and then opened the conversation to the broader audience. Panelists included Archon Fung (Harvard Kennedy School), Meira Levinson (Harvard Graduate School of Education), and Janet Halley (Harvard Law School).

Art and Science of Engaging Across Disagreement

Harvard Kennedy School Professors Julia Minson and Robert Wilkinson led the HKS community in an all-school workshop on the art and science of engaging across disagreement.

Intercollegiate Civil Disagreement Partnership (ICDP) Retreat

This event followed the PEN America Free Expression Summit and was the first in-person gathering for ICDP leadership and students. It was an opportunity to synthesize key takeaways from fall research efforts, identify the key design questions to be tackled during the spring, and continue to build strong relationships among the group.

Mitt Romney on a screen in front of an audience

Leading When It’s Difficult

Senator Mitt Romney joined former Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria to talk about how to balance global policy and personal values amid challenging times.

Read more from Mitt Romney

Community Dialogue Series: What it Means to Be a Good Neighbor

Members of the Harvard Chaplains discussed what it means to be a good neighbor and how our responsibility to each other can help build trust and community.

Dialogue Across Differences: Teaching and Learning in Polarized Times

In this special gathering of FAS faculty, Michael Sandel led a discussion of the perils and possibilities of engaging with hard moral and political questions in the classroom and beyond.

Connecting Beyond Difference

The Harvard Radcliffe community gathered for a training program on civil dialogue and constructive disagreement, imparting the skills and confidence to engage in difficult conversations.

Michael Sandel on stage

Hard Questions: Ethics in the Age of AI

Michael Sandel, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government, challenged students to question their assumptions, like whether technology will change what it means to be human? And if that matter?

Learn more about the talk

Staff Summit on Free Expression with PEN America

PEN America facilitated a day-long summit similar to the program with students, where faculty explored ways to combat censorship, hate, and the spread of disinformation.

Building Capacity for Critical, but Civil, Discourse in Graduate Training Environments at Harvard Medical School

This workshop invited graduate students to network with colleagues and collaboratively discuss examples of, and barriers to, civil discourse in both the professional context and the local graduate training context at HMS.

How Do We Talk About Spaces of Conflict and Build for Peace?

This community dialogue provided an informal space to explore the concept of spaces of conflict and unpack how we talk about them.

Harvard Law School Rappaport Forum — Trump v. Anderson: Does the Fourteenth Amendment Disqualify Former President Trump from Public Office?

This forum, designed to promote and model full, vigorous, and civil discourse on critical and complicated issues featured guest speakers Akhil Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science Yale Law School, and Michael Mukasey, of counsel to a N.Y. law firm, former U.S. Attorney General, and chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Harvard faculty talking on stage at a Harvard Kennedy event

Dissent, Disagreement, and Democracy

A Harvard Kennedy School panel wrestled with how to repair divides and explored creating a culture of candid, constructive conversations.

Learn more about the event

Listening for Constructive Conversations

This interactive workshop was an opportunity to practice listening and speaking in ways that promote constructive conversation. Participants left with frameworks for full-spectrum listening and a deeper understanding of the relationship between our intentions as listeners and the impact listening has on relationships and communication.

Dialogue across Differences: Learning and Serving in a Multi-Religious Society

In this session, HDS students and faculty discussed how to foster dialogue across religious differences to expand their knowledge base and build empathy for those with different perspectives. The group also participated in a case study designed to put ideas into practice.

SEAS Faculty Dialogue Panels

The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences hosted three in-person, moderated panel discussions featuring faculty discussing a complex and possibly contentious topic in their field: Generative AI—Winners and Losers, The Bionic Human—Societal Challenges and Opportunities at the Frontier of Biomedical Innovation, and Researching Solar Geoengineering—A Necessary Climate Approach or Dangerous Distraction?

A zoom screen with four Harvard faculty members

‘Human dignity front and center’

Finding common ground in an era of intense political and personal division begins with mutual respect was the message of “Coming Together Across Difference,” an online discussion last week featuring Danielle Allen, David Lazer and Alexandra Pineros-Shields.

Learn more about the event