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CTR October 2014 Conference Summary

The Conclave on Political Polarization
Hosted by Esalen and the Institute of Cultural Evolution
October 5 – 8, 2014

Esalen’s Center for Theory and Research, in partnership with The Institute of Cultural Evolution, tackles one of the biggest problems plaguing America today: political polarization and dysfunction. In October, Esalen will host an invitation-only conference on political polarization, bringing together key figures on all sides of party lines as only Esalen can. Leveraging the cross-disciplinary strengths of our conferees and the sheer beauty of Esalen’s storied meeting space, we look forward to welcoming leading public figures, academics, pundits, theorists, insiders and activists. We will explore the cultural roots of our current stalemate, the historical forces at work in the political divide, the detrimental effects of this division on our society and, most importantly, how we can find a way to move the country forward.

Agenda Topics of this Conference:

Our Political Systems: What Went Wrong and How to Fix Them

By Tom Mann, Senior Fellow at Brookings, and Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar at American Enterprise Institute; co-authors of the New York Times bestseller, It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.

The Psychology of Partisanship and Righteousness, and A Few Shreds of Hope for Fostering More Civil Disagreement

By Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.

The New American Electorate: Partisan, Sorted and Polarized

By Alan Abramowitz, political scientist and author of Polarized Public: Why American Government Is So Dysfunctional.

Polarization and Cultural Evolution: Strategies for Depolarizing the American Mind

By Steve McIntosh and Carter Phipps, founding partners of Institute of Cultural Evolution and co-authors of Depolarizing the American Mind.

A Vision of the Future of Government and How a Diversity of Ideologies Can Work Together to Move the Country Forward

Grassroot Movements from Inside and Outside

Transforming Conflicts: Understand Differences and Act on Common Ground

By John Marks and Susan Collin Marks, Co-Founders of Search for Common Ground

Solutions and Actions

Facilitated by Mark Gerzon, Founder of Mediators Foundation
During this session, the group will examine the most effective levers of the political systems to affect systemic changes and pursue innovative strategies and actions to break the gridlock of political polarization.


Click here for the full 2014 Political Polarization conference description

Click here for the 2014 Political Polarization conference agenda

Click here to read full biographies of the 2014 conference participants

Click here for the List of Recommended Reading for 2014

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