A More Perfect Union: Dialogues for Common Ground - American Identity & Connecticut's Civic Reconstruction

How might Connecticut communities harness the state’s long history of political innovation and reconstruct robust civic practices to address our present moment and look to the future?

CT Humanities, in partnership with Democracy and Dialogues, presents the Dialogues for Common Ground: American Identity and Connecticut’s Civic Reconstructiondialogue series, funded through the A More Perfect Union granting program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The program brings the conversation back to first principles, to the founding of the American democratic experiment, and intends to foster meaningful and informed discussion around the values that form the basis of our nation. In doing so, it encourages everyone to learn more about our shared history and to value and participate in our democracy.  

We aim to:

  • Increase public familiarity with America’s important founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. 
  • Provide a means for people of all backgrounds to discuss the texts in ways that are civil, informed and hone the skills of democratic engagement. 
  • Include context experts in conversations to ensure context and facts are represented and respected, but without privileging those specialists as sole voices of authority. 
  • Expand the existing partnership of institutions in Hartford across the state to produce and host dialogues on the American experience with special efforts to engage indigenous peoples, unserved communities, and audiences of all ages. 

Encounters is a structured-dialogue model that allows participants to come face-to-face and converse about issues that matter in their community. Encounters dives deeply into subjects through facilitated, small-group dialogues followed by a “question and answer”-style conversation with content-area specialists.

This program expands upon work completed under the 2020-21 program “Connecticut’s Civic Reconstruction,” part of the nationwide “Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation” initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

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