Hosted as part of the Hauenstein Center’s Common Ground Initiative this summit brings together leading scholars and writers of different intellectual traditions and political persuasions, to discuss how the collision of progressivism and conservatism shapes, has shaped and will continue to shape our national identity.
Americans have ample reason to think deeply and critically about the roots of progressivism, conservatism, and the various ways the two have interacted in history. Today, the widening gap between left and right, as well as the fractures inside the Democratic and Republican parties, have caused widespread political confusion and upheaval.
Opportunities for meaningful discussion often devolve into talking-head repartee and triumphalist chest-thumping. From the tiresome melodrama of cable news to the insipid feeds of social media, it has become clear that spending too much time in one’s own echo chamber comes with certain risks: assumptions unquestioned, perceptions unchallenged, conclusions uncomplicated.
In this age of crippling polarization, the time is ripe for a reexamination, and even redefinition, of what it means to be progressive, and what it means to be conservative, in the twenty-first century. Our summit will provide a rigorous setting for national thought leaders to discuss the ways in which progressives and conservatives might share common ground and common cause: historically, culturally, and philosophically.
2023 Progressive / Conservative Summit: Preventing Political Violence
April 19, 2023
Incidents of political violence have surged in recent years, leaving our national, state, and local government officials fearful for the safety of themselves and their families. The 2023 Progressive / Conservative Summit brought policymakers and scholars together to find actionable common ground on issues facing our polarized democracy. This half-day event explored the theme of political violence in the United States and offered the opportunity for victims to speak about their experiences. The Common Ground Initiative, in partnership with the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, invited the public in learning about the history of political violence and what we can do to promote a politics of nonviolence.
Schedule of Events:
2-3 PM: Contemporary Political Violence & New Policy Approaches, Professor Javed Ali
3:30-4:30 PM: Public Service in Polarized Times, Fmr. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)* and Fmr. State Rep. David LaGrand (D-MI)
4:30-6 PM: Reception with hors d'oeuvres and beverages
6-7:30 PM: West Michigan Perspectives on Political Violence, Fmr. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) and Dr. Adam London
7:30-8:15 PM: Community conversations and dessert
What's Now and What's Next: October 1 & October 2, 2021
Election Panel 2020: October 22, 2020
Climate Change Panel: February 18, 2020
Searching for Deeper Common Ground: April 15, 2019
Gleaves Whitney: Common Ground?: December 5, 2018
Progressive/Conservative Summit: April 13-14, 2018
Conservative/Progressive Summit: May 4-6, 2017
Have the Liberal Arts Become Too Politicized?: June 11-13, 2014
"Why Progressive? Why Conservative? A Debate": April 15, 2013