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YLI & CFP Host “Common Grounds” Event

On November 28, 2017, over two hundred high school students traveled from across Virginia to participate in the first ever Common Grounds event sponsored by the University of Virginia Center for Politics. The goal of the conference was to assemble high school students representing an array of political ideologies and perspectives for a day of student-centered dialogue work sessions and teacher seminars. Students explored and modeled techniques and best practices for finding common ground on many timely topics and issues of public interest where compromise and civil debate have been all too rare.

Based on the Youth Leadership Initiative's Talking Turkey: Taking the Dis out of Civil Discourse resources, participants worked in groups comprising students from each geographical region of Virginia. Talking Turkey demonstrates strategies and methods for working with those who may be politically different to produce compromise. Students discussed topics such as immigration, gun control, voting, environmental concerns, the death penalty and confederate statues and monuments. They then returned to their schools and voted on referenda that their groups proposed upon the conclusion of the event. YLI's online Mock Election program was used for the voting element of Common Grounds.

Click here to view the students' referenda and the results.