Two experts on conflict resolution will be in a virtual discussion at the Mark Twain Library on Wednesday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. to offer insights into how deeply divided societies can, and in fact do, change. The series is brought to you in association with Easton Public Library, Weston Public Library, Newtown’s C.H. Booth Library, Ridgefield Library, WCSU’s Ruth Haas Library, The League of Women Voters of Ridgefield, The League of Women Voters of Weston and The League of Women Voters of Northern Fairfield County.

Dr. Peter Coleman, a Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University who studies polarizing, intractable conflict and sustainable peace recently published a book “The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization.” 

Dr. R. Averell Manes is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU). They have been invited to present the fifth installment of the series “Conversations: Truth, Myth & Democracy,” which is co-hosted by the Mark Twain Library and the Redding League of Women Voters.

This virtual conversation is in response to the current state of divisive politics pervasive in our communities and sets out to address understanding such conflicts with the hope of learning how to intervene constructively. By immersing oneself in this conversation between these two experts, community members will gain access to a knowledge and outlook that can lead to healthy interactions and better relationships. asserts that Coleman’s approach “yields fresh insights and reasons for hope. Policymakers and community activists will want to take note.”

According to, Coleman “meticulously details principles and practices for navigating and healing the difficult divides in our homes, workplaces, and communities, blending compelling personal accounts from his years of working on entrenched conflicts with lessons from leading-edge research.”

As a follow up to this conversation, the Mark Twain Library will offer a complementary program on March 22 where participants will analyze three different works by noted scholars to better understand and address civic turmoil and political upheaval. One of those works is a TED Talk by Dr. Coleman. Registrants will read or watch the three works on their own time, after which Tom Kilbourn, ordained Episcopal priest and former Joel Barlow teacher, will lead a virtual discussion to compare and contrast them.

“The Conversations: Truth, Myth & Democracy Program” was designed to address the difficult issues of truth telling and myth busting within our democracy by bringing much-needed community conversations to help promote education, informed dialogue and civil discourse.

Register for both the March 9 book conversation and the March 22 discussion at: or call the Library at 203-938-2545 for more information.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

The Mark Twain Library is owned by the Mark Twain Library Association. It was founded in 1908 by Samuel Clemens – Mark Twain himself – one of Redding’s most celebrated residents. Visit, for more information.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email