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.”

Bios of Featured Laureates and Speakers

Program & Schedule

The program will be updated on a regular basis. Check back soon to see new developments! 

September 13th and 14th

High-level dialogues (by application or invitation only).  Click here to apply to be a delegate. 

  • Labor issues & Economic growth in Tunisia
  • 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 (SDSN)
  • The Role of Worker-owned Co-Ops in Post-conflict Societies


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 (see topics list below)

12:30 – 2:00       Lunch and 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 (see topics list below)

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 (see topics list below)

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  (see topics list below)

3:45 – 5:00        Closing Plenary:  A Call to Action with special guests (stay tuned!)



  • The Role of Worker Owned Co-Ops in Fostering economic Growth in Post-Conflict Societies
  • Human Rights and the Refugee Crisis in the Middle East
  • Constitutions and the rule of law in post-conflict societies
  • Healthcare and Peacebuilding in Africa
  • Role of Artists and Musicians in Promotion of Peace and Social Justice
  • Hearts and Minds: the Interrogations Project (video installation)
  • The UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth Solutions Report
  • Under the Cosmopolitan Canopy: a keynote address by Elijah Anderson
  • Finding Common Ground in an Era of Partisanship:  a facilitated dialogue between Republicans and Democrats
  • The Role of China in a Globalizing Economy
  • Organizing and Social Change in a time of Increased Nationalism
  • Peace Scholar panel with Steinar Bryn, Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue
  • Workshop and Performance of Silence is Health
  • The Peace of Nature: Peacebuilding in the Wilderness
  • Water Access and Water Rights (a discussion with Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen about their Access Water expeditions inspired by Thor Heyerdahl)