Commentary Common Ground, Common Good

  • How unlikely partners came together on a Maine river

    Decades of dam building had decimated migratory fish populations that had long sustained local wildlife and people on the Penobscot River. After years of contentious battles, local stakeholders struck a deal. Today, for the first time in 200 years, river life is rebounding. And the power company has not lost any hydropower generation.

  • Tunisia’s model for bridging political and social divides

    When any country enters a transition out of war or dictatorship, its citizens are full of hope that their leaders, economies, and societies will change. Yet too few transitions deliver. As seen in post-apartheid South Africa, the key to democratic transitions is political and social inclusiveness.

  • How the American people would fix Social Security

    Supposedly the public's inability to face the realities of Social Security makes it a 'third rail' for Congress. But when a recent survey presented Democratic and Republican voters with policy options, the majority clearly agreed on solutions to end the Social Security shortfall.

  • The education reform compromise heard round the US

    To fix New Haven’s failing schools, the teachers union and mayor forged a rare compromise – a model for school districts and unions across the country in how to confront major challenges facing public education, without blaming each other, resisting change, or fighting in the streets.

  • How grass-roots peace can take hold in South Sudan

    Bringing peace to conflict-torn South Sudan will require more than negotiated cease-fires and UN aid. Key community leaders – especially women activists and church pastors – must work for local unity.

  • How to build peace, one teenager at a time

    At Seeds of Peace, we bring kids from conflict zones together to learn to see each other and their differences in a new light. Now, our first generation of alumni are emerging as leaders of their societies and leveraging their experience to build peace.

  • Civil discourse that doesn’t taste like broccoli

    Neither a barrage of facts nor a sense of civic duty alone will make people reexamine their positions. As we've learned at The Village Square, civil discourse requires friendship, humor – and irreverence.

  • The potential of local conflict resolution in Darfur

    Arab nomads in Darfur have organized interlocking conflict resolution networks to address local disputes before they escalate. Their work could help bring lasting peace to a region plagued by violence. But it requires stronger international support to fulfill its promise.

  • Opinion Polar bear diplomacy: Where the US and Russia can agree

    On an arctic island 250 miles from the nearest Siberian village, US and Russian scientists are collaborating on wildlife research. Their work proves: Conservation transcends geopolitics.

  • How Myanmar can combat ethnic conflict

    Myanmar holds the key to improving the lives of millions within its borders and beyond. With international support, it must work to promote social unity and empower and protect minorities. Then it can be an example for a region that has too often failed to uphold pluralist norms.

  • Climate change is divisive. Climate solutions are not.

    People of all stripes – whether green-living gurus or thrifty penny pinchers, conservatives or liberals – want to use less energy. Now, technology and behavioral science are giving them the tools to do it.

  • What I learned as a liberal talking head on Fox News (+video)

    For a radical progressive who once harbored negative stereotypes about folks on the right, it was a turning point for me: Though Sean Hannity or Sarah Palin and I disagree profoundly on politics – they're personable, kind, and human. If you want to persuade people, you can’t demonize them.

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