Common Ground Initiative

In a time of polarization, the CGI explores popular intellectual traditions and the pressing issues of the day through an ideological lens. We advocate for consensus and compromise, with the goal of empowering attendees to act and lead on the issues they care about most.

However, we recognize that our ideologies and politics are deeply integrated into our lives, do not expect our speakers nor our guests to “change sides.” We do not expect progressives to become conservatives, or vice versa. Rather, we encourage dialogue and debate to deepen not only our understanding of others, but of our own intellectual and ideological traditions as well. This understanding, of both self and other, provides the foundation for common ground.

person signing a book
three people talking on a stage

The Common Ground Event Series invites leaders & scholars to engage in dialogue across political and ideological divides and model the common ground approach. The Open Minds Book Club and annual Progressive / Conservative Summit offer unique opportunities for students, faculty, and community members to learn from and engage authentically with perspectives different from their own.

Please use the links below to learn more about the programming of the Common Ground Initiative. We welcome partnerships with national and community partners interested in encouraging bipartisan dialogue and understanding. Reach out to the Common Ground Initiative Program Manager, Kahler Sweeney, at [email protected] for more information.

three people on stage
open minds book club
citizenship in crisis

What We Do

Event Series

Open Minds Book Club

Progressive / Conservative Summit


Upcoming Events

Peter C. Cook Leadership Academy Celebration of Graduates

April 25, 2024 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

As the newest class of Peter C. Cook Leadership Academy (CLA) fellows prepare to enter their next season of life, we invite you to celebrate their journeys and commitment to practicing ethical and...

Hidden Wounds of War Conference 2024

May 23, 2024 All Day

How can we better serve those who serve and have served us? All too often our veterans, medical service workers, and first responders experience psychological trauma in silence and bring the hardship...

10th Annual Midwestern History Conference

May 30, 2024 All Day

Returning to Grand Rapids for the 10th year, the Hauenstein Center, in collaboration with the Midwestern History Association, is excited to announce the 2024 Midwestern History Conference. This conference...

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Page last modified October 11, 2023