Inability to reach consensus has long been at the heart of democracy's dysfunction. For the past decade, Convergence has gained notice for getting people on opposite ideological sides to find agreement on seemingly intractable policy fights. This week, founder Rob Fersh handed the reins to David Eisner, whose bipartisan credentials are hard to top. Before spending six years running Repair the World, the largest Jewish service organization, he created the nonprofit All for Good to support the Obama administration's public service initiative and directed AmeriCorps in the George W. Bush administration. He's also chaired the National Constitution Center and been the executive in charge of AOL Time Warner's philanthropy. His answers have been edited for clarity and length.
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Convergence facilitates leaders across sectors and perspectives to overcome the mistrust caused by sharp differences and political polarization, and to collaboratively find new solutions to urgent policy issues, such as education, economic mobility and health care.
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Organizers: Convergence and Consensus Building Institute
Convergence and CBI invite you to join this upcoming webinar where we'll hear from Brian Corley as a county leader who just conducted Florida's primary election days ago amid the outbreak as well as Barb Byrum, County Clerk of Ingham County in Michigan, where she oversees elections. We'll have Brian and Barb address questions like:
- What did turnout look like for your primary relative to past cycles?
- How did vote by mail or other methods besides in-person voting get ramped up and utilized by more voters?
- How were the in-person polling locations managed effectively for safety amid the pandemic?
- Lessons and takeaways for November? We know states fall on a spectrum with some having robust no-excuse absentee voting operations in place and others having very limited current capacity for absentee or mail voting options.
- What are the larger considerations to wrestle with beyond just the mechanics of standing up vote by mail and no-excuse absentee voting to make sure the election occurs successfully? How can we address public education and confidence knowing many people still vote in person early or on Election Day and may be learning about how these processes work for the first time? What are the funding challenges?
- What populations in particular might face challenges to voting if processes change and how can we make sure they get the best possible information?
After a decade of getting people on opposite ideological sides to find middle ground on some of the country's most divisive policy fights, the nonprofit mediator organization Convergence has decided to celebrate by revealing the "secret sauce" to its collaborative success.
Five people who have first-hand experience with the organization's methodology spoke about what sets its techniques apart at a 10-year anniversary symposium in Washington on Thursday.
The sharing was designed to help others whose work is mired on the long roster of intractable policy disputes, including on many of the issues that are keeping Amercan democracy in poor working order.
For 10 years, Convergence has convened people with divergent views to build trust, identify solutions, and form alliances for transformative action on critical national issues. To celebrate our anniversary, we invite you to explore the impact we've had and imagine the future we can build together. Join us this fall to consider the kind of country we want to live in. Long-time stakeholders, current partners, and new supporters are invited to a unique conversation on what we know and what we dream about in our work supporting breakthrough collaborations on the issues that matter most.
Location: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, 2001 K St. NW, 12th Floor, Washington, DC 20006