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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern, Kellogg to launch Center for Enlightened Disagreement

Daily file photo by Madison Bratley
The center will be built upon the pillars of research, outreach, curriculum and discussion.

Northwestern and the Kellogg School of Management are launching a Center for Enlightened Disagreement –– a new research center aimed at developing stronger ways to engage in diverse perspectives, the University announced Wednesday. 

“Kellogg and Northwestern are deeply committed to addressing the growing barriers to discourse that hinder our progress as a society, not by seeking to eliminate disagreement but by embracing it as a virtue,” Kellogg Dean Francesca Cornelli said in a Wednesday news release.

Kellogg Profs. Nour Kteily — co-director of Kellogg’s Dispute Resolution Research Center — and Eli Finkel will co-direct the center. 

The center will focus on research, outreach, curriculum and discussion. The University hopes for the center to become a “worldwide destination” for conversation about the topic of disagreement in multiple disciplines, including business and politics, according to the release.

“Any healthy group, organization or society requires disagreement,” Kteily said in the release. “That’s how we home in on the best and most rigorous ideas. Too often, though, we get lost in caricaturing and alienating those who disagree with us, spurning the opportunity to learn and benefit from our differences in perspectives.” 

Kteily said the Center for Enlightened Disagreement will facilitate the development and sharing of research and practical tools to improve discourse around disagreement. 

The center will research on how to foster conversation across diverse perspectives, partnering with businesses to test strategies as they’re developed, according to the release. Eventually, the center hopes to work with government officials, policymakers and CEOs. 

After developing insights, faculty will train both undergraduate and graduate students on methods to better understand others’ perspectives.

“Our nation is threatened today by the politics of identity and persistent divisions based on region, class, religion and educational attainment,” University President Michael Schill said in the release. “We increasingly lack the capacity to understand each other and to empathize with people who seem not to be like us. Solving such problems is what higher education institutions should be about.”

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