Tired of Partisan Hostilities in America? Hungry for Ways to Come Together in More Mature and Generous Ways?

Utahns of all political, philosophical and religious backgrounds came together for a post-election Citizen Summit – uniting in our beliefs that we can be more civil, compassionate, inclusive, collaborative and productive.

Recap of the Utah Citizen Summit


ut-citizensummit-poster-2016-frThank you to those who participated in and to supported the first annual Utah Citizen Summit sponsored by the Utah Civil and Compassionate Communities initiative.  We know that our ability to lift this event from the vision of a handful to be the fulfillment of many people’s goals is entirely dependent upon your involvement with us.

Please find below a summary of our events and our goals for upcoming next steps based on the success of our inaugural gathering.


Executive Summary of the Utah Citizen Summit

  • A year of planning and organizing at the community, governmental institution, and business/industry levels occurred to achieve leadership, buy-in and sponsorship for hosting a Citizen Summit in Utah. A planning group met to brainstorm how to bridge differences of opinion on hard issues, how to respect interfaith traditions and cultural diversity found throughout our State, and how to build and inspire civility, compassion, inclusion and collaboration as we find common ground solutions to some of our most intractable challenges.  A website was created which introduced the Summit
  • We also coordinated and brainstormed with the leaders of the National Citizen Summit initiative. As a result in our inaugural Summit we focused primarily on the national theme of coming together in America, particularly after such a divisive election season, and extended that call to all Americans.  We received support from several national groups and received significant national attention.
  • After two months of “seeding dialogues” throughout Utah organized primarily by Utah Village Square, on November 12, 2016, day long dialogues began in the morning with small group work to build on the pre-Summit dialogues and to express emotions and thoughts about coming together with greater civility compassion inclusiveness and effectiveness. Elected officials, college students, parents and grandparents, activists and first-time voters, private citizens, and community leaders participated in these opening dialogue sessions. Perspectives were diverse and wide, creative and hopeful, weary and concerned, and all seeking a direction to become involved in a positive way to impact our Utah communities, the Nation and the World.
  • In the afternoon two panel discussions were held to feature Utah and national perspectives on next steps to more fully engage our citizenship for the common good and in the spirit of coming together. Panelists discussed, with the help of facilitators, their experience and expertise in employing civility, negotiating solutions, finding bipartisan support for policy, and bringing about creative solutions to issues facing our families, neighborhoods, and State. Further, panelists shared their feelings and insights about the 2016 elections, their own calling to public service in a multitude of forms, and to fully exercise their own citizenship. Candid and heartfelt discussion, as well as informative and rigorous conversation, occurred about some hard issues we face and how we might come together as Utahns and Americans.
  • Finally, an evening celebration was held of colleagues and nationally known experts in dialogue and civic engagement and “transpartisan” approaches. We acknowledged the contributions of seven awardees for their public service. The evening gathering was held in part to celebrate Utah as a unique place to have collaborative dialogue and civic engagement as part of our collective obligations of citizenship to one another and to our society and the world. Skills in civility and listening were modeled by our award recipients as they discussed their own inspiring ideas for how to become involved in meaningful ways to shape our communities and to heal the divides we sense throughout our country.
  • On this web site you will find videos from the 2016 Summit.  See the VIDEOS tab.  In addition, for those who are inspired by our message of coming together locally, nationally and even globally, the web site is connected to a local/global social networking platform, uBegin, where as of January 1, 2017, we invite you to share your story about your own dialogues and activities about coming together. See the CONNECT AND SHARE tab.
  • After you share your story, we will get back to you to support you in networking, coordinating and collaborating with others on this same platform.If you would like to hold your own community dialogue, and would like some sample guidance see the HOST A CONVERSATION TAB.  If you would like to see who received national life time awards, see the AWARDS tab.  If you would like to know who our local and national/global partners and sponsors in the Summit were see the PARTNERS tab.

Again, we appreciate your participation encourage you to continue the collective learning of the Utah Citizen Summit.  We welcome your involvement with us as our next steps take shape.