The City Club of Boise is hosting a civility summit July 31 through August 2. It’s part of City Club’s yearlong focus on promoting civil, public discourse.
Early this year the City Club partnered with the National Institute for Civil Discourse to give Idaho lawmakers a training on how to have political and policy discussions in which people can disagree respectfully. Bill Manny is past president of the City Club and an editor with the Idaho Statesman. He says the lawmakers pointed out that they are not the only ones who sometimes contribute to a culture of incivility. Manny says a lot of them singled out the media.
“We thought they made a good point and we wanted to get everybody who has a responsibility to contributing to an effective and successful society, to see if we could get them all at the table to have a conversation about how we can all do our jobs better,” Manny says.
Manny says invitees include journalists, local and state politicians, people from the nonprofit sector, judges, business leaders and business association leaders. Representatives from the National Institute for Civil Discourse will also be there. He says participants will work with trainers from the NICD and one another in small groups.
“If we can get people talking and get people past looking at each other as labels or stereotypes –politician, journalist, activist – and just see people who have good will and sincere motives, I think that’s a start,” he says.
Manny says the City Club wants the people at the forefront of Idaho’s public conversation to focus that conversation on success and engagement, not hostility and apathy. He says the goal is to get these public-discourse leaders thinking and talking about how their actions affect others.
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