It is possible for us to disagree with grace again. Come learn how during this two-part community forum held March 14-15, 2019. This event is part of the Council's 2018-2019 special initiative, “Journalism and Media Literacy: Fostering Informed Citizens."

CHARLOTTE, NC (February 7, 2019) – Amid today’s polarized nation, how can we stop talking past one another and start making conversations about our differences useful again?

Amanda Ripley asked herself that same question. The nationally noted journalist and author then went out and found answers that will very likely surprise and encourage you.

Ms. Ripley will explain her findings in Charlotte on March 14-15 during a special two-part forum presented by the North Carolina Humanities Council with co-sponsor Queens University of Charlotte.

The forum, “Can We Talk?,” is free and open to the public, but registration is required due to space limitations. Registration is available for one or both days of the event. To register visit the Event Page.

“We expect forum participants to include our cities’ journalists, community leaders, students and anyone who is open to dialogue with others who may have views different from their own,” said S. Paula Watkins, Executive Director of the North Carolina Humanities Council.

The forum begins at Queens University on Thursday, March 14 with Amanda Ripley presenting an evening address. Ms. Ripley will explain what many people miss in conversations about polarizing issues. She says all Americans can do a better job of listening – and being heard. Psychologists, mediators and diplomats find ways to make conflict useful. You can, too.

On Friday, March 15, the audience will hear from Amanda Ripley as she moderates a panel of local figures with experience in conflict mediation. Participants will then move on to workshops, where facilitators will teach simple techniques that aid in understanding when views are in conflict.

 “This is a nonpartisan event,” said Rick Thames, former Executive Editor of the Charlotte Observer and current North Carolina Humanities Council Trustee. “The point of this forum is not to change one another’s views but to understand how we can make conflict useful, rather than toxic.” Rick Thames now teaches journalism as an Executive in Residence at Queens University’s Knight School of Communication. He hopes this event will encourage more North Carolinians to engage in important public conversations. 

The North Carolina Humanities Council is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to enriching the quality of life for all North Carolinians. In pursuit of this goal, the Council is organizing events across the state that highlight the role media and journalism have in our democracy as part of their 2018-2019 special initiative, Journalism and Media Literacy: Fostering Informed Citizens.” The Charlotte community forum “Can We Talk?  It is possible for us to disagree with grace again” is part of their initiative and is made possible in part by Solutions Journalism Network, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

Press Contact: Melanie Moore, North Carolina Humanities Council

(704) 687-1520


About North Carolina Humanities Council:

The North Carolina Humanities Council is a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through grant-making and public humanities programs, the Council serves as an advocate for lifelong learning and thoughtful dialogue about our shared human experience. The Council operates the North Carolina Center for the Book, an affiliate program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. To learn more visit