Presidential Leadership Conversations | Office of the President | The University of Vermont(title)

The goal of the Presidential Leadership Conversations is to equip future leaders with an understanding of the power of evidence-based civil discourse, especially when opinions and backgrounds are very different. If part of a university’s mission is to empower future generations to steward our democracy, our country can do a better job in this area. Indeed, the failure to find common ground visible in national news is mirrored—sometimes fostered—on college campuses. 

A desire to counter this trend led UVM President Suresh Garimella and Honors College Dean David Jenemann to provide students with the opportunity to talk to leaders and “real world” experts about polarizing societal challenges in a spirit of honesty, creativity, curiosity, and civility–a challenge to students to understand and incorporate multiple points of view to formulate workable solutions to current topics of national debate. 

Now in its third year, these conversations lead students to engage with one another energetically and openly, to be willing to consider other points of view that challenge their perspective, and to revise their beliefs in unexpected ways—fostering constructive, civil dialogue aimed at making the world a better place.