JULY 5-8

The Future of a Movement
Braver Angels leader John Wood Jr. will set forth the vision of a social movement.
Braver Angels Debates
These are not your normal debates. Braver Angels Debates are a shared pursuit of truth.
Better Conflict
Governor Spencer Cox (R-UT) will join a Democratic Governor to discuss the nature of healthy conflict.
I Never Thought of It That Way
Braver Angels leader Mónica Guzmán will show us the power of curiosity.
In-House Convention Band
American bluegrass and hip hop group Gangstagrass will teach songwriting and perform live.
Battlefield Tour
A licensed battlefield guide will lead us through a tour of the Gettysburg battlefield.
Convention Platform
We deliberate. We debate.
We decide together on our future.
July 5-8, 2023


A total of 8 plenaries (all-delegate gatherings) over the course of the Convention focus on three main topics.

Wednesday, 7/5
Opening Plenary

"Are you ready?"

Desired outcomes & Convention overview
Remarks from BA President David Blankenhorn

Thursday, 7/6
Plenary 2

Why are we here? Why are we here? Why are we here?”

Plenary 3

"Where are we now?"

Braver Citizens & Braver U

Field reports & testimonies
Brief report from Scholars Council
Monica Guzman keynote

Friday, 7/7
Plenary 4

“Where are we now?” (cont.)

Braver Network & Braver Campuses

Braver Network
Partner reports and testimonies
BA Debates & Public Discourse
Plenary 5

“Where are we now?” (cont.)

Braver Politics & Braver Media

Candidate debates
Trustworthy elections
Braver Media report

Saturday, 7/8
Plenary 6

“Where are we now?” (conclusion)

Better Conflict & Civic Renewal

Gov. Spencer Cox and his Democratic counterpart
Reading of the draft Platform for Civic Renewal

Plenary 7

“Where are we going?”

A Platform for Civic Renewal

Debate & Vote

Plenary 8

“Where are we going?” (conclusion)

A Call to Action

John Wood, Jr. keynote
Closing ceremony



About 40 breakout opportunities (delegates choose which they want to attend) over the course of the convention divide into three main areas of focus.

Please note that this page will be updated with additional sessions as they are confirmed.

Tour of the Battlefield

What happened on this hallowed ground in June 1863, when the nation was torn apart, and on the same ground later that year, when Abraham Lincoln spoke of “a new birth of freedom”? A bus tour of the battlefield created for Convention delegates and led by Bob Seenstra, a Gettysburg scholar and licensed battlefield guide. Bob believes in what we’re doing and is donating his services to our convention.

What Is the Braver Angels Way and Why Is It Helpful?

The power of the Way

The “Braver Angels Way” is core to our vision, mission, and ethos. Braver Angels Field Leaders break down the elements of the way, why it’s helpful, and how to stay the path.

Dr. King Then and Now

For both Black America and the current state of American divisiveness, what lessons can we learn from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ministry of nonviolent protest against injustice and his call for a beloved community?
A conversation between Tavis Smiley and Ian Rowe, moderated by John Wood, Jr.

Family and Politics: A Case Study

Monica Guzman joins her conservative parents for a discussion on the challenges of bridging political divides within families — and what delegates can learn from their experience.
Moderated by Bill Doherty

Depolarization by the Numbers: The Effectiveness of BA Events and Workshops

We know that Braver Angels programs meaningfully reduce polarization, but HOW do we know? Where is the evidence, and how has it been produced?

Braver Angels Head of Evaluation Eliza Hawkins explains our rigorous evaluation methodology, outlines our work with academic researchers, and provides the hard numbers to back up our claims.

Depolarizing Within

Am I aware of my “inner polarizer?” Who are the “four horsemen” of polarization?
One of our classic workshops, the Depolarizing Within Workshop is designed to foster skills to help you lessen the effects of polarization when you encounter them in your political conversations.

“How Could They Possibly Think That?”

This breakout brings together small, evenly divided group of conservatives and liberals (“reds” and “blues”) for a “fish bowl” designed by Braver Angels to help participants clarify disagreements, reduce stereotyped thinking, and discover common values.

One to One Conversations Across Disagreements

Created by StoryCorps, this breakout brings together convention delegates with different political views to record 50-minute one-to-one conversations—not to debate politics, but to learn who we are as people. Audio recordings of each interview are archived at the Library of Congress. They remind the country of the humanity in all of us, even those with whom we disagree.

“Can We Find Common Ground on Ensuring Trustworthy Elections?”

Reena Bernards and (likely) Larry Mayes
A common ground workshop on trustworthy elections, carried out over the course of two breakouts on the same day. 8 red and 8 blue participants; could also have observers.

History of Polarization in American Music

Gangstagrass leads a discussion on the history of American music and the ways in which it has
created divisions in American culture.

Is There a Spiritual Dimension to Bridge-Building?

Led by Mark M. Beckwith. Mark was the tenth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark and is the author of the 2022 book Seeing the Unseen: Beyond Prejudices, Paradigms and Party Lines (available in the Convention bookstore).

What Would Lincoln Do?

As we face our own time of testing today, what can we learn from the president who led the nation though a Civil War?
Led by Daniels Stid. Daniel is a leader in U.S. philanthropy and the founder of Lyceum Labs, a center-right group focusing on the future of American democracy. Regarding the group’s name, Daniel says: “We draw our inspiration from Abraham Lincoln’s 1838 speech on ‘The Perpetuation of our Political Institutions’ to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois.”

Live Braver Angels Podcast

The Braver Angels Podcast is back! Join us for the official relaunch episode, recorded live in Gettysburg.
Monica Guzman, the new host of the BA Podcast, convenes an all-star panel for the first episode of the relaunched show.

The Future of Black Lives Matter

Founded in 2013, Black Lives Matter is an organization that protests racially motivated violence against Black people and has become one of the worlds’ most visible social justice movements. What are the organization’s goals for the future?
Led by Hawk Newsome. Hawk is the co-founder and president of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York.

Common Ground Songwriting

Want to learn to write songs? Then record and perform them? Guided by professional musicians eager to teach and inspire you? Here’s your chance!
Led by the BA Music Team and members of the musical group Gangstagrass – our 2023 in-house Convention band. Delegates will participate in a Common Ground Workshop in the morning breakout session and then reconvene in the afternoon breakout to write original songs.

Braver Angels Skills for Bridging the Divide Workshop

How can I talk to my political other? What are the practical tools for navigating difficult political conversations?
This classic Braver Angels workshop teaches skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground, and affirm the importance of the relationship. They also give participants a safe environment to practice those skills.

How to Have an Energizing Meeting

What’s worse than an unproductive meeting? In this breakout, learn best practices for planning and facilitating meetings that are engaging, energizing, and productive – where things get done and people feel good about the process. Using these skills can strengthen your entire organizational culture.
Led by William J. Doherty. A cofounder of Braver Angels and professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, Bill is one of the nation’s leading authorities on meeting design and leadership in civic groups.

Skills for Navigating Social Media

Social media are often a problem, but what can you do? In this breakout, you’ll learn constructive alternatives to the toxic exchanges that typify so much of today’s social media.
The focus is on skills for people who choose to engage about politics on social media, not on the societal impact of social media.

Polarization and Propaganda

Is it possible to both defend reality and reduce polarization?
Led by Jonathan Rauch. Jonathan is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and the author of the 2021 book The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth. A founding board member of Braver Angels, his previous books include Political Realism and Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America.

How to Progress Our Mission With Faith-Sponsored Workshops

Braver Angels Leaders will provide essential information on field experiences with an innovative packaging of standard workshops with a ‘wrapper’ suitable for a variety of faith organizations. Hear about results of pilots and plans for future offerings in other faith traditions.

How to Start a Braver Angels Alliance

Interested in forming an alliance but not sure how? Braver Angels Field Leaders will discuss the best ways to go about developing an alliance, recruiting members, and building programs.

The “Utah Way”

On contentious issues such as gay rights and immigration, Utah’s leaders in recent years have consistently worked together toward compromises. What is the “Utah Way” and is it relevant to the nation as a whole?
Led by Paul S. Edwards and Erika Munson. Erika teaches English at the Waterford School in Sandy, Utah, and is the Utah State Co-Coordinator for Braver Angels. Paul directs the Wheatley Institute at Brigham Young University and has previously served as editor of the Deseret News and deputy chief of staff for Utah Governor Gary E. Herbert.

Christian Nationalism

What it is and what it isn’t.
Led by Hunter S. Baker and Glenn T. Stanton. Hunter is dean of arts and sciences and a professor of political philosophy at Union University and serves as chairman of the Braver Angels board of directors. He’s the author of The End of Secularism and The System Has a Soul. Glenn is director of Global Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family and a member of the Braver Angels board of directors. He’s the author of The Myth of the Dying Church.

What is an American?

In an age of diversity and growing group identity, is there anything that we Americans have in common? Anything that unites us across our many differences and makes us one people? If so, what is it?
Led by John Wood, Jr. and Mónica Guzmán. John is Braver Angels’ National Ambassador and a musical artist, writer, and public speaker on subjects including racial and political reconciliation. Monica is Braver Angels’ Senior Fellow for Public Practice and the author of the 2022 book I Never Thought of It That Way: How To Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times (available in the Convention bookstore).

Politics without Politicians

A look at current examples and future possibilities of deliberative democracy.
Led by Jason S. Canon. Jason is a political scientist and the director of new partnerships at the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.

How to Build Relationships with Politicians?

How do I approach politicians? How do I speak their language?
Head of Braver Politics Elizabeth Doll breaks down the art of engaging candidates, elected officials, and political staffers.

Tech and Polarization

How to confront tech as a structural driver of harmful polarization and a call to action for a working group focused on tech sector reforms in line with the work of the Council on Technology and Social Cohesion.
Led by Braver Angels CTO Andrew Stillman

Braver Angels Debates

These aren’t your normal debates. The format encourages everyone to speak or ask questions, ensures civility in disagreement, and strives for learning and better understanding for all. This kind of debate is intended as a collaborative search for truth. You can participate in debates such as:

• Is America the Greatest Country in the World?
• Should We Re-Elect President Trump?
• Should We Defend Free Speech, No Matter What?
• Should We Re-Elect President Biden?
• Should We Take Down All Monuments to Slaveholders?
• Is America a Racist Nation?
• Should We Abolish DEI?

Revise the Braver Angels Platform

Join the platform committee to revise the draft platform before delegates vote on it in the afternoon.

Common Ground Songwriting

Want to learn to write songs? Then record and perform them? Guided by professional musicians eager to teach and inspire you? Here’s your chance!
Led by the BA Music Team and members of the musical group Gangstagrass – our 2023 in-house Convention band. The delegates will then have the opportunity to rehearse/record them live in a breakout session the following day and then perform them live at our Closing Night Concert.

How to Reach Out to Underrepresented Groups

How do we Reflect America?
Braver Angels Field Leaders share their wisdom and experience when it comes to reaching out to under-represented groups in Braver Angels, including conservatives, working class Americans, and people of color.

How to Convert Visitors to Members

What are the keys to conversion?
Braver Angels Field Leaders teach the most successful methods for converting subscribers, event-goers, and volunteers into members.


Special Evening Events

“An Expert and a Deplorable Walk Into a Bar…”

A conversation between Francis Collins, former Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Wilk Wilkinson, the conservative leader of We The People’s project.

Four Score: A Memory Play

Four Score is about Gettysburg, the American Story, and generational reflection. How do we remember? What stories and songs do we share? What does it mean to us today?

Is Congress Fixable?

A discussion between U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and a Republican counterpart.

Braver Angels Support