Photo: EP Dialogue Session
Solving polarization where you live, work, worship, and learn

We give people the means to strengthen relationships, deepen belonging, and renew hope in their communities.

Our Impact

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Building Community in the Age of COVID-19 Social Distancing

“I always say that community is an act of courage,” says EP co-Executive Director John Sarrouf. “That has never been truer than it is now. I am humbled by the courage of so many, both near and far, who have embarked on the hard work of community. It’s a privilege to support them.”

  • At the beginning of the semester, there was not much participation in class. But by the end, almost everyone had something constructive to add every day.

    Undergraduate Student
    Bridgewater College, Virginia
  • I learned that I can build relationships, that I can be connected to anybody who I want to be connected to, no matter how difficult it is

    Romeo McCauley, Project Partner
  • I learned to expect the best of my classmates, even when we don’t agree. I can’t write off their opinions anymore, despite our disagreements.

    Undergraduate Student
    Bridgewater College, Virginia

A Guide to Dialogues About Abortion

For more than 30 years, Essential Partners has been the global leader in dialogue about abortion.

Whether reaching across deep and polarized divides—as in our seminal Pro-Life/Pro-Choice Leader Dialogues—creating space for people to reflect on their own values, or building connections and support around this issue, our new guide offers structures, expert tips, and prompting questions.

Image: Cover of abortion guide, women sitting in dialogue circle with teal wash
Photo: two people hugging

EP in the News: How to tackle political polarization — the researchers trying to bridge divides

“The right framing for a conversation can go a long way. When [John] Sarrouf prepares to facilitate a discussion with a community in conflict, he carefully considers how to initiate the dialogue. For example, ‘if I ask you, “are you for or against gun control?”, you’ve got a polarized conversation right away,’ he says. Instead, he asks participants to tell a story that can help others to understand how they’ve reached their beliefs.”

Recent Partners

Image: Facebook logo
Logo: The Colossian Forum, Michigan
Logo: Tufts University, Massachusetts
The Poynter Instittue
Logo: Ben Franklin Circles
Chatham Financial Services
American Library Association
Winthrop Rockefeller Institute
Logo: Mediators Beyond Borders, International
Logo: The Union of Concerned Scientists
Lahey Behavioral Health Services
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