This article appeared in the October 25, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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The power of an open-minded conversation

Jakub Porzyck/Agencja Gazeta/Reuters
Thousands of people gather at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz for the annual "March of the Living" during Holocaust Remembrance Day in Brzezinka, Poland, April 24, 2017.

This morning Monitor editors had an interesting exchange with a dozen Polish journalists, historians, and academics that reminded us of the power of an open-minded conversation.

The broad aim of the group, which was visiting as part of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, is to examine ways to engage society about painful historical episodes. For Poles, one of those moments is embodied in legislation this year that criminalized speech blaming Poland for Nazi crimes, including the extermination camps.

How do you have such a conversation? The question comes up repeatedly amid the political polarization that is jarring the United States, Poland, and numerous other countries. In the US, it has become particularly unnerving this week amid the delivery of pipe bombs to 10 prominent critics of President Trump.

But after our lively, hourlong discussion with people whose views spanned a wide spectrum, one Monitor editor observed that she hadn’t always known the institutional affiliation of the person speaking. Without that, she couldn’t make any quick assumptions about where that person was coming from. And that made it easier for her to hear – from the start – what he or she was really saying.

Now to our five stories, addressing hate, soft power on the global stage, suburban women voters, race in college admissions, and how ranchers are changing their relationship to wolves.

This article appeared in the October 25, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 10/25 edition
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