In an article published February 12, 2019 by The Tribune, Lone Star College professor, John Theis talks about his work promoting public engagement on difficult issues and his experience in moderating forums using National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) materials. Theis also describes some of his plans for upcoming forums that will focus on several current issues including national security and divisiveness in politics.
The following are excerpts from the article:
These Community Conversations are based on a similar series Theis led for several years at Lone Star’s Kingwood campus and, a year ago, at Kingwood Christian Church.
I asked people I know to round up 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans. We used a guide called the ‘Political Fix.’ It was a productive conversation,” he said, “and now I want to bring it into the community as a way to promote an alternative vision of democratic politics...
Theis believes that most Americans are not able to talk through diverse perspectives.
“I hope participants will gain a better sense of what causes us to disagree with each other and where we have common ground,” Theis said.
“Conversations” will not have speakers or presenters.
“Participants will deliberate and make choices with each other about ways to approach difficult issues – like security and divisiveness – and to work toward creating reasoned public judgment,” he said.
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