Tufts University Launches Center to Promote Dialogue And Listening Across Differences

The Generous Listening and Dialogue (GLAD) Center at Tisch College will focus on the nexus of civic engagement, listening and dialogue on challenging issues

A large elephant statue looms in front of two academic buildings, one of which will house the GLAD Center

Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life today announced the development of the Generous Listening and Dialogue (GLAD) Center, designed to serve as a hub and educational resource for the Tufts University community to promote authentic dialogue and generous listening across differences. 

Launched in collaboration with the Vuslat Foundation, the GLAD Center will broadly define generous listening, encompassing the art of listening to ourselves, to nature, and to others—especially when people disagree, or when they confront differences of power and status.

“At this pivotal time for our country and our institution, Tufts University is proud to launch the GLAD Center to build our capacity for genuine dialogue among diverse communities on campus,” said Anthony P. Monaco, president of Tufts University. “The Center will empower our students, faculty and staff to develop and apply the skills of civil discourse to challenging issues in our society.”

Housed at the Tisch College of Civic Life, the GLAD Center will collaborate with schools and departments across the entire university, building on the expertise of Tufts’ faculty, research centers and civic engagement programs. Its programming and interdisciplinary initiatives will help students, staff and faculty develop skills and awareness, address hard issues, and generate new knowledge.

“It is clear that in order to address the complex challenges that confront our world—from climate change to income inequality to racial injustice—we must develop and apply every skill of civic engagement, and this includes civil discourse with those with whom we disagree,” said Alan Solomont, dean of Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. “The GLAD Center builds on our groundbreaking research and will provide all students at Tufts with a new set of opportunities and skills to contribute to civic life.”

Jenny Peace will serve as the GLAD Center’s interim director and establish the center’s structure and framework. Peace served most recently as the Tufts University interim chaplain and brings decades of experience to the work of leading challenging conversations. 

“As the name signals, the GLAD Center will focus on generous listening as a necessary foundation for dialogue work,” Peace said. “Inspired by our collaboration with the Vuslat Foundation, the center’s model will underscore the intertwined capacities of listening to oneself, to one another and to the natural world as essential for fostering sustainable and healthy civic lives.”  

Today’s announcement of the center’s launch will be followed by a more formal roll-out during the Fall 2021 semester. A national search for a permanent director is under way.

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