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The Common Ground Initiative

By: Amanda Dungan, David Stevens (Broaden)

Every item, ingredient, and object in our lives creates connections between us and the larger world, and the people behind the scenes who build the technology that we rely on, the clothes we wear, and the food we eat.

Understanding and celebrating the complex ways that our lives are shaped by the communities who provide, nourish, and support us is central to what we do at Broaden, and why we are so happy to join with Common Ground, Kaua’i in developing the Common Ground Initiative.  


Broaden is the successor to the World Policy Institute, a think tank that, from 1948-2018 worked to create more inclusive, diverse, and open spaces for policy conversations. Driven by the belief that policy should represent and be accessible to those affected by decisions being made at the highest levels of government, WPI became known for its use of new, innovative ways of bringing crucial issues to the public from workshops, to educational programs, to public campaigns with names such as Leonard Bernstein, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, and William Gibson.

Unlike other think tanks, World Policy actively engaged the arts and media, creating short productions with the renowned animators Faith and John Hubley, featuring starts like jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar-nominated actor Dudley Moore. Through its artistic endeavors and films like The Hat and Voyage to Next WPI brought global issues like disarmament down to a human level, helping audiences separate policies from people.

Today, as Broaden, we’re continuing World Policy’s commitment to blending rigor with accessibility and to honoring the contributions of the many types of people working to better the world. Through events, storytelling, research, and media we aim to bring the world to our audiences, helping people find joy in the sense of belonging to something bigger. With that in mind, our programs are built around the shared experiences and concerns of communities – creating content and experiences that allow audiences to engage the issues and ideas behind their everyday lives. In a world where people are surrounded by fear and anxiety, we chose to focus on the things that bring people together: things like music, art, and aspects of our everyday lives, like food. 

 

We want our work to create a welcoming environment for people to connect and learn from each other, explore the world around them, and share ideas for improving our common experience. Like Common Ground Kaua’i, we believe that change comes from engaged, energized, curious people who feel a sense of connection and mutual responsibility.

 

Broaden will work with our partners at Common Ground to help anchor larger policy issues to the deeply human experiences they impact. In addition, we’re excited to work with the Common Ground community to explore the various policy contexts and experiences that connect communities around the world grappling with the issues that impact us all. It’s our hope that we can be a resource for those trying to help communities adapt to rapidly changing global contexts, while creating a program that reminds people of the human experiences that make the world amazing.

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