World of Difference

June 1, 2020  • Institute Staff

At a time of hyperpolarization in the United States, the new Civil Society Fellowship, a partnership of the Institute and the Anti-Defamation League, brought together an unlikely group of leaders for its inaugural seminar last December. The fellowship encourages greater discourse across divides and taking action to unite the nation. “Many times we are in spaces where individuals agree with us, but what does it feel like to be in a space where we are learning from difference?” asked fellow Antoinette Carroll, the CEO of Creative Reaction Lab. “With this cohort, we’re able to see the spectrum of how we are each perceiving issues in our community.” The inaugural class comprises civil society leaders from different religious, socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, political, gender identity, and ideological backgrounds—like a Trump appointee who leads the nation’s small-business strategy, a disability-rights leader, a mental health advocate, and a police chief. “The personal stories shared by my classmates continue to reverberate weeks later,” said fellow Jenifer Sarver, a principal at Sarver Strategies. “We recognize our shared humanity, and that prepared our hearts and minds to do the hard work.” The Civil Society Fellowship is poised to create a ripple effect across the institutions that the fellows represent and influence around the country.