Healing the Divide

Date(s) - 01/06/2019
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Fireside Room


January 6, 2019 Plan:

Speaker — Bob Barrett (see a short bio later in this post. Bob has extensive experience in conflict resolution, mediation, and civil discourse)

Topic — Civil Discourse

I’ve heard Bob speak, and he’s very knowledgeable and interesting. Here’s his description of plans for this Sunday.

Here’s what I would propose:
• That I share with the group briefly (about 10 – 15 minutes) how I think about civil discourse — what it means in different settings, why it’s important, how skills can be deepened, etc.;
• Then invite others to share what resources and insights they’ve found helpful and what the Heal the Divide group has covered in the past;
• Then invite questions and answers about what is presented;
• Finally have a general discussion about next steps — ongoing general study, focused discussions on particular topics, skill-building, engaging others, etc.

Bob Barrett’s Bio: Educated at Stanford and trained as a lawyer at Berkeley, my career has focused mostly on environmental topics. In the early 1990s I became a mediator, facilitator, and consultant on collaborative problem-solving. A key career-turning-point was spending eight years (1983 – 91) as the program officer at the Hewlett Foundation responsible for its grants in the environment and conflict resolution areas. Now retired, I have been interested in learning about how civil discourse and skills and insights in this area are critically important in efforts to bridge divides and improve our country’s democratic institutions. To do this, I have been working with Rotary clubs, local chapters of the League of Women Voters, and my church in Portola Valley.

I hope you can join us!


Healing the Divide is a UUCPA group that formed after the 2016 election to ask: 1) what do we not understand about others with more conservative viewpoints, and 2) what can we learn that will help us communicate even across wide differences in belief.

The meeting format is variable. In the past we have discussed a book or article, practiced communication skills, explored our own beliefs about particular topics, and interviewed guests whose views are different from ours.

Date: First Sundays, Jan 6, Feb 3, Mar 3
Time: 12:30-2 pm
Location: Fireside Room
Facilitator: Susan Owicki (susan_o@uucpa.org)

Registration: Not required

Healing the Divide