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National Civic League Webinar 1/21: Bridging Divides Through Community Dialogue

NCDD partner organization the National Civic League is hosting a webinar this Thursday, January 21st at 2:00 PM Eastern/11:00 AM Pacific. The webinar, titled Bridging Divides through Community Dialogue features NCDD’s own Courtney Breese as well as members John Sarrouf of Essential Partners and Hollie Cost, former mayor of Montevallo, Alabama. We hope you will join this exciting event!

For more information, check out the event announcement below, or go to the webinar registration page to sign up!


Join the National Civic League for a webinar discussing practical steps for addressing our divisions and bringing our communities together.

Too often the events of 2020 have divided the country, cities and even families. Fortunately, there’s a body of work and committed organizations that are striving to rebuild these connections.

Join us for this webinar where we’ll discuss practical steps and provide resources for addressing our divisions and healing our communities. Attendees will hear about Essentials Partners’ post-election support which stresses the importance of the pre-work necessary before our communities are healthy enough to come together again for meaningful dialogue. NCDD will join us to discuss the array of organizations and resources available to communities and individuals looking to take on this important task. Finally, we’ll hear from former mayor Hollie Cost about the lessons learned from deliberative forums in Montevallo, AL.

To sign up, go to the National Civic League webinar registration page!

Meet Our Speakers

Courtney Breese, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD)

As the executive director of NCDD, Breese leads a network of 700 individuals and organizations who bring people together across divides to discuss, decide, and take action together effectively on today’s toughest issues. She directs ongoing programs including planning, organizing, and special projects.

Breese is also an experienced mediation and public engagement practitioner. She has a passion for helping people make connections, communicate more effectively, and make decisions collaboratively. She enjoys examining systems and structures and working to improve society on a macro level.

She has a B.A. in Social Work and Counseling from Franklin Pierce University, where she was introduced to dialogue & deliberation.

John Sarrouf, Co-Executive Director and Director of Program Development at Essential Partners.

John was first exposed to Essential Partner’s work while studying in the master’s program in dispute resolution at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Since then, John has facilitated dialogues on issues such as sustainability, gender, Israel-Palestine, religious pluralism, and technology and sexuality.

John served as the Assistant Director of Difficult Dialogues at Clark University, where he taught dialogue to faculty and students and previously taught in the departments of Communication and Peace and Conflict Studies at Gordon College.

John’s private consulting work has focused on mediation and transforming conflict in small workgroups and non-profit boards.

Hon. Hollie C. Cost, Ph. D., former Mayor, Montevallo, AL and Professor of Special Education, University of Montevallo

As Mayor of the City of Montevallo and Professor of Special Education at the University of Montevallo, Dr. Cost has worked collaboratively with respective stakeholders to develop a shared vision and implement needed change. She began her public service as a Montevallo City Council member in 2004, before being elected to her first term as Mayor in 2012. Her community enhancement initiatives focus on arts, sustainability, and education with a central mission of youth engagement.

Notably in 2018, the City of Montevallo successfully passed the second non-discrimination ordinance in the State of Alabama after a series of public forums and dialogue and deliberation sessions.

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Courtney Breese
Courtney Breese is the Executive Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). She has a B.A. in Social Work and Counseling from Franklin Pierce University, where she was introduced to dialogue & deliberation.

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