Principles for Civil Dialogue

Cynthia Wenström, MBA/GM, Class XXV
Faculty, University of Phoenix

It was 8 months ago when Class 25 Day Chairs, Virginia Korte (Class 3) and Rob Millar (Class 17) introduced the topic of civil discourse. The impetus of the topic was an ‘unruly discussion’ between two Tucson-area politicians making headlines at that time.

The lively afternoon produced a first pass at the ‘Code of Civility’ and a team volunteered to move the project forward. The following day, January 8th, Senator Gabriel Giffords was shot and the need for civil discourse really rang close to home. The event seemed a clear signal to move forward with the initial class-day work effort.

Fast forward to May 2011 and the project resumed, put on hold due to the rigors of Class 25’s Pay It Forward projects and twice-monthly class days. The civility team now consists of several Class 25 and Class 24 alumni, as well as Chris Irish, Executive Director.

With diligent work, the original ‘Code’ was rewritten, removing references to ‘code’ or ‘oath’ and was condensed. More importantly, the team’s Principles for Civil Dialogue was unveiled to Scottsdale Leadership’s Board of Directors at the August 2011 Board meeting, passing unanimously for adoption by the organization. The Principles will appear on the website, the blog and in literature with the Mission Statement and other core values of the organization.

Principles for Civil Dialogue

As a member of the Scottsdale community, I will:
Genuinely listen, Speak respectfully and Be accountable for my words and actions.

‘Genuinely listen’ means I will listen for the purpose of understanding the speaker’s point of view, without prejudging whether that point of view is right or wrong.

‘Speak respectfully’ means I will voice my point of view calmly and respectfully without losing the passion of my position and commitment, discussing the issues without personal criticisms.

‘Being accountable’ means I accept responsibility for my words and actions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Presenting the Principles for Civil Dialogue to other Scottsdale organizations is the next milestone, while growing the enthusiasm for the Principles organically. As energy continues to build on this initiative, the ultimate goal is presenting the Principles to the Scottsdale City Council for adoption.

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