Dialogue in Divided Societies

In honoring the work of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, this year’s forum will engage participants in the difficult work of dialogue across lines of difference on a range of contentious issues—from democracy and stability in North Africa and the Middle East, to gun violence reduction in the U.S., across the partisan “Red-Blue” divide, and climate change and water access.  The event will be focused on action and results.  Through a series of high-level dialogue sessions, practitioners, stakeholders, and decision-makers will meet to advance work on issues such as job creation, peace education, and “peace by design.”

List of Featured Laureates and Speakers

Program & Schedule

The program is being updated regularly. Check back soon for the latest developments! 

September 13th and 14th

High-level dialogues (for accepted delegates or invitation only).  Click here to apply to be a delegate. 

  • Finding Common Ground: Dialogue across the Red-Blue Divide
  • Peace X Design: Urban planning and the Cosmopolitan Canopy
  • Peace Curriculum and Student Engagement
  • Northstar Public Health Conference on Reducing Gun Violence
  • Youth Entrepreneurship and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (Thursday afternoon only)
  • The Role of Worker-owned Co-Ops in Post-conflict Societies
  • Sacred Sites and Indigenous Rights
  • Healthcare in Africa (Friday morning only)

Evening workshop and performances of Silence is Health (a site-based play about human rights in Latin America)


Friday, September 15th

7:30 – 9:00         Registration in Si Melby lobby

9:00 – 10:45       Opening Plenary with the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet

11:15 – 12:30     Breakout Sessions, including:

  • High-level dialogue on healthcare in Africa (delegates only)
  • Finding work after the revolution: challenges and opportunities for the Tunisian economy
  • Bridging the partisan divide: report on the Red-Blue dialogues and “One America Tour”
  • Interfaith perspectives on peacemaking: finding strength in one’s faith
  • Seeking peace in the wilderness
  • Under the Cosmopolitan Canopy: a keynote address by Elijah Anderson

12:30 – 2:00       Lunch

1:00 – 1:30 Tree-planting ceremony on the site of the new Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion at Augsburg University

1:45 – 3:00         Breakout Sessions, including:

  • Strengthening democracy and the rule of law in post-conflict societies
  • Healthcare and Peacebuilding in Africa
  • Hearts and Minds: the Interrogations Project. A virtual reality artwork performance and discussion
  • Water Access and Water Rights (a discussion with Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen about their Access Water expeditions inspired by Thor Heyerdahl)

3:30 – 5:00         Plenary: Peace X Design: Urban Planning under the Cosmopolitan Canopy, with Elijah Anderson, Alfredo Zamudio, Tom Fisher, and Steve Kelley

7:00 – 11:00      Cocktails at the Castle:  American Swedish Institute (separate ticketed event, 21+)

7:30 – 10:00      Peace Concert:  Cedar Cultural Center (artists TBA)


Saturday, September 16th

7:30 – 9:00        Registration in Si Melby lobby

9:00 – 10:45      Breakout Sessions, including:

  • The Role of Worker Owned Co-Ops in Fostering economic Growth in Post-Conflict Societies
  • Writing peace: a young writers workshop
  • Hearts and Minds: the Interrogations Project. A virtual reality artwork performance and discussion

11:15 – 12:45    Plenary on Gun Violence Reduction: Prospects for Progress, with Rep. Gabby Giffords and Capt. Mark Kelly of Americans for Responsible Solutions

1:00 – 2:00        Networking & Lunch

2:00 – 3:15        Breakout Sessions, including:

  • The path forward to reducing gun violence in Minnesota: reporting out from the Northstar Public Health Conference
  • Organizing workshop on movement ecosystems with Paul Engler (starting at 1:00)
  • The UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth Solutions Report (a call to action)
  • John Paul Lederach: peacemaking and reconciliation in Colombia.  A look ahead to the 2018 Forum with Pres. Santos

3:45 – 5:00        Closing Plenary:  A Call to Action