8th International Conference on

" Engaging The Other:"

The Power of Compassion


April 13-15, 2018

Edgewood College ~ Madison, Wisconsin, USA

(Watch for full details)

 ~ Call For Proposals ~


At a time when escalating polarization is the true culprit,

a shared common-ground conference

promoting respectful listening, dialogue, trust,

and action to bridge the divide



JOIN US for an interactive, working conference to address:
- polarization and animosity in our relationships, including: negative stereotypes, scapegoating, enemy images, the role of the unknown, fear-based beliefs, and artificial barriers of distrust that separate us from our common bonds;
- compassionate healing in our relationships with "The OTHER" from a universal, cross-cultural perspective to advance a wider public dialogue about toxic images of "Us and Them," and to promote positive action for remedies.

LEND YOUR VOICE to a dynamic gathering from various "sides" and "Other" identities to engage together in 3 days of:

  • dialogue and deep listening within a neutral, respectful space,
  • developing a framework of trust,
  • increasing understanding of differences,
  • finding commonalities and points of agreement,
  • cultivating our capacity for genuine engagement, appreciation of diversity, and reconciliation, 
  • promoting collaborative action planning for bridging the divide.

Sponsored by:
Common Bond Institute (CBI), Edgewood College, and International Humanistic Psychology Association (IHPA)

Endorsed by:
An international list of over 100 cooperating organizations and universities

Official Partner and Event of:
Charter For Compassion  and  Parliament of World's Religions


~ A Conference For Everyone ~




Overall Goals of the Conference:

This year's ETO program focuses on:

  • addressing the toxic divisions, distrust, and animosity intensifying across our society,


  • creating a shared space to promote mutual understandings, appreciation, support, and concerted cooperation in finding common ground and visions for healing the divide.

Additional conference goals include:

Raise the level, depth, and breadth of public dialogue and awareness on core issues. The conference examines dimensions and dynamics of "The OTHER" on individual and group levels, and considers how enemy identity is formed, perpetuated, and manipulated.

Identify and compile fundamental questions, dilemmas, and implications for further deep inquiry and examination in an expanding public dialogue, and to challenge embedded negative belief systems that promote adversarial perceptions of the "The Other."

Tap our shared wisdom, compassion, and responsibility as a community - from the local to the global - in developing practical applications. Developing and sharing practical strategies for applying results to the current state of local and world relationships to promote increased understanding, sensitivity, and compassion as a means of countering and neutralizing hostility, particularly inter-group hostility.

Create Networking Opportunities to promote collaboration, action planning, and next steps following the conference.

Formulate findings and products to make available to all - through publications, media, the Internet, educational curriculum, networks, community based dialogue groups, etc.


Outcomes are co-created by conference participants.
Examples of possible outcomes and follow-up may include:

1) Creating and promoting a working network of bridge-building activists for seeding a growing number of on-going community-based dialogue groups across the country to widen public involvement and continue the process of compassionate engagement.

2) Developing a regularly meeting virtual working group of key stakeholders to identify points of common ground and interests, and explore proactive possibilities for mutual support and cooperation in advancing them.

3) Utilizing findings from the conference to plan and develop an "Engaging The Other" dialogue project for application within schools and universities, community organizations, religious groups, government agencies, political groups, and the general public.

4) Formulate findings and produce a resource of publications, recorded proceedings and interviews, multimedia, and art images to place the topic on the wider public table, increase awareness, and encourage involvement

5) Prepare joint recommendations for reducing polarization and animosity within the public discourse to provide to public policy makers, social-political representatives, and the general public.

   An important, timely dialogue
                        ....everyone needs to be part of.


Donate to our Subsidy Fund
to help students and participants from developing communities attend
by making a Tax Deductible donation through our partner organization
International Humanistic Psychology Association




The conference is a highly interactive learning community. Prepared workshops and presentations are designed to share diverse perspectives, impart knowledge and skill, and stimulate in-depth dialogue and deliberation leading to increased understanding, practical applications, and next steps in putting principles into practice.

Dialogue and deliberation are the essential engines of the conference.
As such, a central driving feature of the program is conducting interactive topical roundtables and dialogue groups to actively engage all participants in exploring and addressing conference themes, and contributing their expertise, perspectives, and personal experiences.

Structure of the ETO Conference. A 3 day working program of:

  • Presentations and Interactive Workshops
  • Interactive Topical Panels and Roundtables
  • Facilitated Dialogue and Action Planning Break-out Groups
  • Facilitated All-conference Dialogues and Action Planning
  • Live 2-way Global Links to key stakeholders
  • Final Action Planning Process for next steps beyond the conference.
  • Rich Networking and Collaboration Opportunities
  • Interdisciplinary, Multi-cultural Community.
  • Displays and Poster Sessions

Examples of Participants:

- Community activists and leaders, Social-Political activist and leaders, Peace activists, Government representatives, Cultural/Ethnic and Spiritual Community representatives,
- Key participants from diverse segments of society, including members of minority and majority groups.
- Human Service providers, Educators, Mental health professionals, Medical professionals, Humanitarian NGO representatives, etc.

- Visionaries and front-line thinkers in social-political principles, psycho-social-spiritual dynamics, and human consciousness.
- Academics, Students, Social Science researchers, and Representatives of university departments, professional associations, and academic groups (including Psychology, Psychiatry, Social Work, Health Care, Sociology, Education, Political Science, Government, Religious studies, Philosophy, Peace studies, International studies, History, Law, Anthropology, Media, the Arts, etc.).
- Anyone from the public drawn to the mission of the conference.

Coordination with Other Efforts:
This ETO Conference is programmatically linked to CBI's other international conferences, including the International Conference on Transgenerational Trauma (TT) (Jordan).

Previous Year Sample Programs:



The Other often conjures up images of strange faces, practices, and beliefs, usually in faraway places. At the same time that it challenges our understanding, our sense of normalcy, and sometimes our sense of security, it is a label we all share.

....Steve Olweean