The Dialogue Project in Residency at Duke University

Message on the Future of the Dialogue Project
Bob Feldman, Founder

I am pleased to share with you exciting news about the Dialogue Project.  It will continue on, hopefully bigger and better, in a relationship with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Of particular note is that our important work will immediately continue: we are actively planning a Dialogue Project conference this October at Fuqua. The challenges of polarization and civil discourse in our society are more pressing than ever and, as you know, the Dialogue Project specifically examines what role business can play to help.

I am working now with some amazing Fuqua faculty to create a compelling agenda and I will follow up with you, for sure. I would very much welcome your participation.

The opportunity for the Dialogue Project to connect with Duke is exciting and promising. As you may recall, I announced the creation of the Dialogue Project in September 2019 during a speech at the Page Society’s annual conference.  That led to a year-long global research effort examining the appropriate role of business to reduce polarization and improve civil discourse in our society.

Thanks to the support of many companies and institutions, we launched the results of that study this past October.  The report featured original research conducted by Morning Consult; original commentary by such business leaders as Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, Mary Barra of General Motors, Doug McMillon of Walmart, JoAnn Jenkins of AARP and many more; and case studies of innovative work being done to reduce polarization and improve discourse by such companies as General Mills, Allstate, Chevron and others.

The report was featured prominently and positively in media ranging from Fortune to the Financial Times to the Harvard Business Review.  The success of the program made it clear the program should live on, not merely be a “one and done” effort.

For Duke to open its doors to a conference offers extraordinary possibilities. As I’m sure you know, Duke has one of the nation’s premier business schools; Fuqua’s curriculum prepares tomorrow’s business leaders to create common purpose in a polarized world, and the power of the school offers important C-suite level relationships in the business community.

The program has the support of three remarkable faculty champions: Ronnie Chatterji and Sim Sitkin are both professors at the Fuqua School of Business and Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke.  They are joined by Daisy Lovelace, an associate professor at Fuqua, who teaches leadership and communication in the MBA program.  The Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics (COLE), which Sitkin co-founded as faculty director, will also support this work.

These three folks will be supported by my good friend and colleague Mike Schoenfeld, Duke’s head of public affairs and government relations.  I should also note Fuqua’s Dean Bill Boulding is so enthusiastic and committed to the Dialogue Project’s success at Duke that he is developing our relationship as a Dean’s Initiative.

I believe the Dialogue Project being in residency at a leading business school enhances the chances for the program to have the kind of impact many of us hope for. The Dialogue Project is all about impacting business, as well as helping to prepare future business leaders, and at Duke Fuqua our effort could be incorporated into the curriculum for some of the best and brightest students from around the world. The school also has powerful relationships with business leaders in this country. This can only can help us achieve our goals.

Thanks to everyone who helped launch the Dialogue Project and please know: whether it’s for support in funding this effort at Duke and/or contributing content and ideas, we continue to want and need your engagement.  There is much work ahead for us to tackle one of the most pressing issues of our day. 

Thank you for helping to make a difference.

Bob Feldman
The Dialogue Project