People in conversation

In the Press

For 30 years, Essential Partners has worked in civic, civil, religious, and institutional settings around the globe to help groups restore trust, understanding, and relationships where conflicts are driven by differences of values, beliefs, and identities.

Our expert practitioners can be available to members of the media for interviews and background. Some topics of special interest include:

  • Effective techniques for difficult conversations
  • Dynamics of polarized conflicts
  • Free speech on college campuses
  • Teaching methods in higher education
  • Improving discourse about divisive issues
  • Social cohesion and community building
  • Identity-based conflict dynamics
  • Fostering pluralism and inclusion

For all press and media inquiries, contact Daniel Pritchard, Director of Strategic Communications, at or 617-923-1216 ext.24

Photo: Woman with EP Pen

2021 in the Press

Scaling a Community Bridge-Building Initiative: Howard County Courageous Conversations and Essential Partners
Dispute Resolution Journal, Vol. 75, No. 4, September 2021

When You Don't Believe in God, and They Really Want You To
How to Talk to Mami & Papi About Everything, August 30, 2021

Public conversation project on the difference of opinions about the Bolsa Família Program
Gerais: Revista Interinstitucional de Psicologia (Brazil), August, 2021

Workshop Teaches Constructive Communication
Winthrop Transcript, August 5, 2021

Growing Sustainability Leaders Will Help Change The World
Irving Patch, August 2, 2021

On Condemning White Supremacy and Hate Crimes: But First, Let’s Talk
The Winthrop Transcript, July 23, 2021

Inviting Religion Into the Classroom
Heterodox Academy Blog, July 6, 2021

3 tips for managing the transition to post-pandemic civic life
The Fulcrum, July 2, 2021

Free Guide Helps Schools Navigate Debates Over In-Person Education
Associated Press, June 28, 2021

Our Differences don't have to be our Divisions, interview with Katie Hyten and John Sarrouf
More in Common Podcast, June 2021
Listen to Part 1 / Listen to Part 2

Newburyport’s DEI Alliance to host community dialogues
Newburyport Daily News, June 3, 2021

Interview with EP partner Sarah Stroup, faculty director of the Engaged Listening Project at Middlebury College
Free to Think Podcast, June 2021

Opinion: Rituals can guide us in our post-pandemic worlds, by Jill DeTemple
Austin American-Statesman, May 29, 2021

When Norms Collide, Part 5: Essential Partners’ approach to inter-bubble conflict
Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program at Harvard Law School, May 12, 2021

[Video] Interview with Kathy Eckles of Essential Partners
Chatting it Up with Rama, May 5, 2021

Talking about Polarizing Topics
Insider/Outsider Podcast, April 27, 2021

Stimulus tips: 11 solutions for healthier, enriched learning environments
District Administration, April 14, 2021

Community initiative promotes civil discourse
The Beacon (Mass Municipal Association), April 2021

Revving up the ‘curiosity engine’ in inclusive class discussions
District Administration, April 1, 2021

Interview with EP Co-Executive Director John Sarrouf
CityBiz, March 29, 2021

Wellesley Civil Discourse Initiative virtual meeting, April 6th
Swellesley Report, March 29, 2021

[Video] Holy Cross Alumni Discuss Role of Catholics in Restoring Public Life, Facilitated by EP Associate Meg Griffiths
Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, March 26, 2021

Convening Conversations About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Babson Thought & Action, March 25, 2021

Transforming Student Engagement Through Dialogue: 3 Approaches for Every Classroom
Getting Smart, March 23, 2021

[Video] Community Conversations: How Citizens Are Rebuilding the Public Square
Wellesley Public Media, March 23, 2021

Teaching Toward Equity: A Pandemic’s Uneven Burden (EP collaboration)
Tufts Now, March 15, 2021

The conversation: Looking to change how Wellesley combats racism and bias
Wellesley Townsman, March 9, 2021

Wellesley launches Civil Discourse Initiative
Wellesley Townsman, March 8, 2021

Profile of EP Senior Associate Raye Rawls
Mediators Beyond Borders, March 5, 2021

Newburyport school principals share goals for next year
Newburyport News, March 3, 2021

Coming soon to Wellesley: Civil discourse
The Swellesley Report, March 3, 2021

Nonprofit Helps Americans Talk About Race With Free Guide
Associated Press, February 10, 2021

Why sharing personal stories is more important than facts in bridging political divide
USA Today, January 27, 2021

Is it even possible to talk about our stark differences? It is, and it can do a lot of good.
DesMoines Register, January 26, 2021

VIDEO - AAC Promising Practices Webinar: Bridging Divides through Community Dialogue
National Civic League, January 2021

2020 in the Press

Evolving Dialogue
New England Museums Now, Fall/Winter 2020-21

Video: Interview with Newburyport, MA, educators
Morning Show with Mary Jacobsen, December 31, 2020 

Inclusive Pedagogy in the Academic Writing Classroom: Cultivating Communities of Belonging
Journal of Academic Writing, December 18, 2020

We’ll find better ways to archive our work
Sam Ford, Nieman Lab, December 2020

Newburyport superintendent's contract renewed with flying colors
Newburyport News, December 9, 2020

Red and blue: Let's talk reconciliation
Michael Felsen, The Hill, November 30, 2020

NHS students, staff to kick off community read of Just Mercy
Newburyport News, November 27, 2020

How to Survive Political Talk at Thanksgiving and the Holidays
Bicultural Mama, November 16, 2020

Mission-Driven Interview with Meg Griffiths
Mission-Driven Podcast, November 10, 2020

How to glue together a cracked nation
Christian Science Monitor, November 5, 2020

Teaching: Helping Students Make Sense of the Election
Chronicle of Higher Education, November 5, 2020

How we heal after a contentious election
Deseret News, November 4, 2020

Dear America, We Can Still Do This
Public Square Magazine, November 4, 2020

SMU Reminds Students About ‘Responding Respectfully To The Election’
CBS Dallas, November 4, 2020

Fostering Community During Crisis
Portland Community College blog, November 2020

Gloucester high schoolers choose Biden/Harris
Gloucester Times, October 28, 2020

WBUR CitySpace Now Offers Virtual Event Production Services
WBUR, October 27, 2020

Does politics belong in Halloween decorations? What about book reviews?
Deseret News, October 20, 2020

ROE Dialogue Across Difference: Introducing Essential Partners
WAM Theater blog, October 9, 2020

Bishop Lynch High School Students Learn Essential Dialogue Skills
Bishop Lynch High School blog, October 8, 2020

Americans Averse to Discussing Hot-Button Issues, Says New Report
The Dialogue Project, October 6, 2020

New Free Resource Lets Students Talk Politics With Honesty & Civility
Globe Newswire Release, October 6, 2020

How A Few Simple Ground Rules Can Help Polarized Groups Hold Civil Conversations With Each Other
Conversation Matters, September 15, 2020

Hard Talk: Gender Inclusion in a Corporate Setting
Transactional Analysis Journal, September 8, 2020

WAM Theatre Announces Digital Production of ROE by Lisa Loomer
Broadway World, August 24, 2020

Newburtyport Education Foundation elects student representative from EP program
Newburyport Daily News, July 21, 2020

Blackface 2010 NHS yearbook photo prompts rebuke from school leader
Newburyport Daily News, June 27, 2020

‘It’s my duty to educate myself, nobody else’s’: Youth Anti-Racism Education Project has international reach
LA Times, June 22, 2020

Experts offering tips on pandemic parenting
The Gloucester Times, May 28, 2020

Essential Partners: How to keep remote teams connected, creative, and efficient (op/ed)
Multiple Outlets, May 12, 2020

Namedropper: Mention of EP's Online COVID-19 Dialogues
Scranton Times-Tribune, May 10, 2020

Better Dialogue: Speak your piece thanks to Essential Partners
Monocle Magazine's “The Entrepreneurs,” May 2020

Questions for Connection and Purpose
by John Sarrouf and Jill DeTemple, Inside Higher Ed, April 22, 2020

Teaching Brave – TEDx Talk
Jill DeTemple, April 6, 2020

Essential Partners offers free virtual dialogue series to combat COVID-19 social isolation
Yahoo News, March 26, 2020

The Hurtt Locker: Make Arlington (and America) Dinner Again
by Matthee Hurtt, ArlNow, March 19, 2020

Leadership must evolve or we will remain in crisis
by David Nevins, The Fulcrum, February 20, 2020

Interview with Jill DeTemple about better classroom discourse
Heterodox Academy podcast with Chris Martin, February 4, 2020

Saying 'Those people' isn't helping. Grassroots nonprofit aims to ease political disagreements
Duluth News Tribune, February 2, 2020

Interview with Nadiya Brock
Morning Show on WJOP with Mary Jacobsen, January 3, 2020

2019 in the Press

Interview with Katie Hyten
The Growth Exponential Podcast, December 24, 2019

“Newburyport High School to keep traditional criteria but change class speaker selection”
The Newburyport Daily News, December 18, 2019

“Selected New Books on Higher Education”
The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 15, 2019
Recommends Creating Space for Democracy, which includes a chapter co-authored by Essential Partners co-Executive Directors Katie Hyten and John Sarrouf

"In a polarized world, dialogue is a radical act"
America Magazine, December 3, 2019

"When red and blue agree to meet—and not change each other’s minds"
The Christian Science Monitor, December 2, 2019

Case Study: Arkansas Dicamba Dialogues
Participedia, December 2019

The Family Meal: Tips for Staying Sane and Sated”
The New York Times, November 22, 2019

"The courage to talk about abortion: Tips for starting a better conversation"
an op/ed by EP co-director Katie Hyten,, November 1, 2019

“North Central College trains Naperville campus leaders in productive dialogue”
Chicago Daily Herald, October 24, 2019

"NHS students prepare to lead class rank discussion"
The Daily News, October 22, 2019

"For those of us longing for the return of civil discourse, this SMU professor can help"
The Dallas Morning News, October 16, 2019

"Want Free Speech and Meaningful Classes on Campus? Encourage Listening."
Heterodox Academy blog, October 11, 2019

"SMU Professor Teaching Students How To Engage Without Arguing"
KERA Radio interview with faculty associate Jill DeTemple, September 24, 2019

"How we can use the art of listening to heal the divisions in our country"
An op/ed by faculty associate Jill DeTemple, The Dallas Morning News, September 1, 2019

“The poverty of partisan identity”
An op/ed by Daniel E. Pritchard, The Fulcrum, August 21, 2019

"Reflective structured dialogue: A conversation with 2018 American Academy of Religion excellence in teaching award winner Jill DeTemple"
Teaching Theology and Religion, July 2019

"Hearing Each Other Over the Gun Fire”
HowlRound Theater Collective, June 24, 2019

"Edward M. Kennedy Institute Wins Leonore Annenberg Civics Award"
Diverse Issues in Higher Education, June 11, 2019

"Groton Civil Discourse Project interview"
GD: 911, Groton Community Access TV, June 1, 2019

“‘It’s not just opinions flying around the room’”: The Berkshire Conversation Project considers gun violence”
The Berkshire Edge, May 25, 2019

“There's a difference between debate and dialogue”
Des Moines Register, May 7, 2019

“Passion, Conflict, Diversity, and Leadership; an interview with Parisa Parsa”
Nonprofits Are Messy Podcast, May 3, 2019

“Gunning for Understanding: Facebook and the Gun Control Debate in America”
PA Times, April 30, 2019

"Farm wars"
The Reveal podcast, PRX, April 20, 2019

"Elijah Cummings discusses illness, diversity in Columbia"
The Baltimore Sun, April 16, 2019

“Have a conversation and defend democracy”
Civic Nebraska blog, April 11, 2019

"Lessons from a year-long community dialogue on guns", March 27, 2019

"Courageous Conversations Tackle Race and Religious Bias"
The Baltimore Jewish Times, March 15, 2019

“Howard County faith community to host series of conversations on race and religion”
The Baltimore Sun, March 12, 2019

Urgen las conversaciones cívicas”
Blog de Centre d'Estudis Christianisme i Justícia, March 12, 2019

2018 in the Press

“How to Have a Productive Conversation About Guns with Someone Who Holds Different Views”
The Trace, December 22, 2018.

“Top Comments: Dialogue With the Enemy”
Daily Kos, November 25, 2018

“Politics at the Table”
HearSay, WHRV Radio, November 21, 2018

“How to Handle Difficult Conversations at Thanksgiving”
The New York Times, November 20, 2018

"Thanksgiving table talk: How to put relationships ahead of political differences"
The Denver Post. November 20, 2018

“Finding Reason in Difficult Conversations”
Let's Gather, November 19, 2018

“A Political Bubble, Burst”
Scranton Journal, Fall 2018

“The Value of Boredom”
Windrose Magazine blog, October 21, 2018

“Recovering the (Lost) Art of Civility”
The New York Times, October 29, 2018

“Can Dialogue Journalism Engage Audiences, Foster Civil Discourse, and Increase Trust in the Media?”
Nieman Reports, October 23, 2018

“A Case Study of Murphy’s Law in Missouri”
Indisputibly blog, July 25, 2018

“Birmingham-Southern religion professors to attend summer teaching workshop”, July 26, 2018

“Running Class Discussions on Divisive Topics Is Tricky. Here’s One Promising Approach.”
Chronicle of Higher Education, July 19, 2018

“Journalistic Curiosity and Some New Powers of the Press”
Tom Atlee's blog, July 10, 2018

Op/ed by Parisa Parsa: “To move from outrage to courage: Why we need to talk”
Advance Local, June 28, 2018

Stories, Videos, and Continued Engagement with “Guns: An American Conversation”
Advance Local, June 28, 2018

“Complicating the Narratives”
Solutions Journalism, June 27, 2018

“State Department fellowship programs brings emerging leaders to the U.S. to share skills”
Daily Hampshire Gazette, June 2, 2018

“What happens when 15 strangers talk guns in America? Emotions run high, but some common ground is found”
MassLive News, May 20, 2018

“Parkland shooting, interest in finding solutions to gun violence help teen, 63-year-old surgeon develop unique friendship”
MassLive News, May 17, 2018

“Young, black and Republican: Why this NRA member thinks education is key in the conversation about guns in America”
MassLive News, May 11, 2018

“'I didn't know how strong I was;' Two mothers deeply affected by gun violence share how it impacted their lives”
MassLive News, May 10, 2018

"A Friendship Forged in Disagreement", April 6, 2018

"What Happens When You Reimagine the Difficult Conversation about Guns"
TIME, April 4, 2018

“New 'dialogue journalism' project will immerse itself in gun debate”
Poynter, March 16, 2018

"Cumberland County high school students walk out of class 'for change'"
WRAL, March 14, 2019

"What a Middle School Pen Pal Program Taught Me About Difficult Conversations"
On Being blog, February 22, 2018

“Interview with Chatham Financial”
Work and Life Podcast, January 2018

2017 in the Press

"Preserving and Protecting Our Precious Civic Ecosystem"
The Huffington Post. November 30, 2017

"The anti-Washington: College group offers a model for debating politely"
The Christian Science Monitor. October 26, 2017

"Journalism and Civil Conversations: Truth and Consequences"
The Poynter Institute. September 2, 2017

"Project Funded to Promote Civility in Classroom Discourse"
Diverse Issues in Higher Education. February 22, 2017

"Difficult Conversations in Uncertain Times" January 20, 2017

2016 in the Press

VIDEO: "Healing the Divide, One Conversation at a Time"
WGBH, December 12, 2016.

"Making Thanksgiving Great Again"
Detroit Today, November 23, 2016.

"Social Gatherings Need Healthy Debate"
Public News Service. November 28, 2016.

"Pass the Turkey. Now, Let's Talk Politics"
Denver Post, November 23, 2016.

"My View: Lets Tell Some Truth Before Reconciliation"
Deseret News, November 12, 1016.

"After Trump's Remarkable Win, Can National Reconciliation Follow?"
Christian Science Monitor, November 9, 2016.

"Make American Whole Again: How the US Can Heal its Political Rift"
New Scientist, November 2, 2016.

"Who is the Public Conversations Project?"
Wicked Local Lexington, July 8, 2016.

"PCCI Holds Seminar on Reflective Structured Dialogue with Public Conversations Project"
Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. July 7, 2016.

"Olive Branch Giving Circle"
KGNU, March 30, 2016.

"Is There a Movement to Depolarize America?"
Deseret News, March 6, 2016.

"Boulder Focus Group on Firearm Use"
Boulder Jewish News, February 25, 2016.

2015 in the Press

"SUNY Potsdam Associate Dean Phil Neisser Honored With Award from Public Conversations Project"
SUNY Potsdam, October 23, 2015.

Interview with Dave Joseph.
The Doug Knoll Show, October 1, 2015.

"Lessons from 25 Years of Bridging Divides at Public Conversations Project" September 25, 2015. Featuring interview with Director of Programs, Dave Joseph.

"Finding a New Tone for the Day of Atonement" September 23, 2015

"How to Get the Most Out of a Conference,"
Harvard Business Review. July 8, 2015

"Public Conversations Project: The Leader in Fostering Constructive Discussions." May 6, 2015.

"Rehumanizing Difference Through Dialogue." May 4, 2015

"Sexual Orientation: Conversations that Strengthen Community in Challenging Times." 
Texas Conflict Coach. February 12, 2015

2014 in the Press

"How to Talk Guns: First, Get to Know Each Other."
Christian Science Monitor. November 21, 2014

2013 in the Press

"As Nigeria Battles Islamist Boko Haram, An Imam and Pastor Spread Tolerance."
Christian Science Monitor. November 8, 2013.

"On Guns: For a Conversation Rather than a Debate, Start With These Questions."
Christian Science Monitor. May 13, 2013.