Click here to register for Better Arguments Principles to Practice, a two-hour immersion on the Better Arguments approach, on Wednesday, September 29 from 3-5 pm ET.

Better Arguments Ambassador Program

Do you want to lead your community to engage more constructively across differences of opinion? Apply to our free Better Arguments Ambassador Program.

Program

Program

The Better Arguments Project Ambassador Program is an immersive educational experience to train leaders in the Better Arguments Project’s framework for constructive and empathetic disagreement. This is a perfect opportunity for leaders who wish to hone their skills with regard to engaging diverse audiences and stimulating dialogue for the common good. You will engage in peer-to-peer learning with a diverse cohort of Ambassadors, all of whom are taking this step to improve our civil discourse. This program will unfold through a series of nine modules, taking place virtually for two-hours each week. At the end of the experience, each Ambassador will be tasked with designing a project to bring Better Arguments concepts to their community. This program is completely free, and each participant will receive a stipend to assist with implementation costs. If this program sounds right for you, start by asking yourself: “Why does my community need a Better Argument?” Share your thoughts with us by applying to the Ambassador Program today.

2021 Class

Terrisa Anderson
Terrisa is a passionate Communication Instructor, committed to helping students overcome public speaking challenges, manage conflicts in relationships, and navigate the complexities of perception in communication. She founded a nonprofit organization, Listen & Love, to help families in underserved communities self-actualize by enhancing communication strategies and life skills through interactive events. She is also an Adjunct Instructor at Tallahassee Community College. Terrisa holds a Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing & Management Communication. She is a devout Christian, wife to Jeremy Anderson and a volunteer. Her mission is to eliminate transgenerational trauma and help communities thrive.
Terrisa Anderson
Terrisa Anderson
Communication Instructor, Founder & Executive Director, Listen & Love, Inc.
Pablo Blank
Pablo has more than 20 years of successful management career on nonprofits, corporations, and public agencies. He currently serves as CASA’s Director of Immigrant Integration overseeing the citizenship, financial education, free tax preparation, and driver’s license for undocumented immigrants programs. Pablo leads a team of 17 members who serve over 3,000 community members every year, improving their inclusion and economic opportunities. Pablo also leads National Service and AmeriCorps programming at CASA. Pablo holds a BA in Business Administration and a MA in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. He also holds certificates in nonprofit management, project management, development of civic society organizations and courses on Social Psychology and Social Determinants of Mental Health. Mr. Blank is bilingual Spanish/English and lives in Rockville, MD with his wife and daughter.
Pablo Blank
Pablo Blank
Director of Immigrant Integration, CASA
Donald Broussard Jr.
Donald is an educator/administrator at Northeast High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is the Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Urban Debate League. He has over thirteen years of education and administrative experience from three states (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee). Along with this experience, he has developed multiple speech and debate programs from Middle School to Universities across multiple states. He continues to consult with multiple programs concerning debate and educational practices when teaching civility and debate. He is dedicated to the field of education and bring about civility in the classroom and in debate circles. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice from Alabama A&M University (HBCU) and received his Master’s Degree in Education from Grand Canyon University. He is currently working on his Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership.
Donald Broussard Jr.
Donald Broussard Jr.
Educator/Administrator, Northeast High School
Shehab Chowdhury
Shehab is a Senior Advisor at the NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity where he funds, manages, and evaluates the next generation of anti-poverty programs in New York City, specifically at the intersections of asset building, college access, workforce development, and parent-family supports. His work also involves developing and designing new programs and digital tools to foster collaborative innovation among city agencies and create effective services for New Yorkers. Shehab was previously a storyteller at UNICEF USA, a Participatory Budgeting facilitator, a 2020 NLC NYC fellow and is currently working on a docu-poetics initiative on Immigration, Identity, and Belonging in America. Shehab is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York and also received a Master’s of Public Affairs from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. 
Shehab Chowdhury
Shehab Chowdhury
Senior Advisor, NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity
Maya Cross
Maya is the coordinator of capacity building at Points of Light, a nonpartisan, global nonprofit organization that inspires, equips, and mobilizes millions of volunteers to take action that changes the world. In her work, she is currently focused on managing engagement and promotion of the Points of Light Civic Circle Discussion Series with the Points of Light Global Network, as well as supporting Points of Light’s signature volunteer recognition program, the Daily Point of Light Award. Prior to joining Points of Light, Maya served in the Peace Corps in Colombia, where she worked as an English education facilitator and Peace Corps Volunteer Leader, focused on experiential education programs for youth and supporting Peace Corps Volunteer integration with local partners. Maya graduated from The University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs and received a certificate in Asset-Based and Citizen-Led Development from Coady International Institute.
Maya Cross
Maya Cross
Coordinator, Points of Light
Alexandra Escobar
Alexandra is an Associate at Democracy Fund, a private foundation working to defend American democracy and challenge it to be more open and just. Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Alexandra previously held positions in the Office of Councilwoman Suzie Price as well as in the Office of the President at Long Beach City College. Today, she volunteers as Board Secretary and Chair of the Fund Development Committee with the Historical Society of Long Beach.  Prior to Democracy Fund, Alexandra served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guizhou, China and provided legislative assistance on a Peace Corps reform bill that was signed into law in 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship from Loyola Marymount University and is an alumna of the Latino Leadership Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Alexandra Escobar
Alexandra Escobar
Associate, Democracy Fund
Parker Evans
Parker is majoring in International and Global Studies, with a geographical concentration of Europe and a thematic focus of culture and society and minoring in Spanish and rhetoric. Parker has previously worked with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI), completing the Legacy Youth Leadership Program and working as a Docent in the BCRI galleries. She has also worked closely with the Birmingham YWCA and is currently a tutor at the Speaking and Listening Center at Sewanee.
Parker Evans
Parker Evans
Student, The University of the South; Sewanee
Oliviah Franke
Oliviah lives in Anchorage, Alaska and works as the Alaska Humanities Forum. She was raised in Portland Oregon and has worn many hats in her professional life including working in Outdoor School programs, working as an educator for the US Forest Service, supporting professional development opportunities for classroom teachers, and developing curriculum as an independent consultant. She is passionate about the environment, creating positive experiences in the outdoors, effective communication, and the importance of community and connection for problem solving.
Oliviah Franke
Oliviah Franke
Conversation Programs Coordinator, Alaska Humanities Forum
Donovan Gayles
Donovan is a class of 2020 graduate from Susquehanna University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Policy with a minor in Economics. Donovan has recently completed his fellowship with the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and will be pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2021. His previous professional experiences include organizing for the state, local, and federal campaigns, student mentorship, volunteering, and interning for the District Attorney of Snyder County.
Donovan Gayles
Donovan Gayles
Graduate Student, University of Michigan
Olivia Gross
Olivia is pursuing a custom curriculum focused on free speech and the evolving dynamics and challenges of public discourse and debate. Olivia serves as a Fellows Intern at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, in addition to working as a tour guide for the University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. While a student at Avenues: The World School in New York City, Olivia started the first-ever high school law review to further and share her passion for constitutional law, particularly with respect to First Amendment issues. She then founded, and is continuing to develop, the High School Law Review Network, whose mission is to bring law review programs and related curricula to high schools across the United States.
Olivia Gross
Olivia Gross
Student, The University of Chicago
Jennifer Jones-Clark
Jennifer is an Equity Education Consultant and former Program Director for Facing History and Ourselves, a nonprofit that uses lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate. Jennifer designs and facilitates historical-based social justice courses, workshops, and presentations for educators, corporations, and community organizations throughout the United States and internationally. Internationally, Jennifer has studied and worked in Canada, Germany, Israel, Japan, and South Africa. She holds Master’s Degrees in School Administration and Educational Psychology with a focus on multiculturalism and Bachelor’s Degrees in Special Education and Fine Arts. Jennifer is a passionate volunteer, enjoys theater, art and travel and she incorporates these passions into her work.
Jennifer Jones-Clark
Jennifer Jones-Clark
Equity Education Consultant
Helga Penner
Helga is a Claim Service Leader at Allstate Insurance Company. After 37 years with Allstate, she is retiring and looking forward to broadening her engagement with her community. As a congregational leader at an historic church in downtown Baltimore, she is committed to applying the Better Arguments principles to shaping a future vision for this congregation. Helga holds a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Communication and lives in Baltimore.
Helga Penner
Helga Penner
Claim Service Leader, Allstate Insurance Company
Rabbi Joanna Samuels
Rabbi Joanna Samuels, the founding executive director of the Manny Cantor Center, is a nationally respected spiritual leader and social activist. In her role as the founding executive director of the Manny Cantor Center, Joanna is redefining the Jewish Community Center and the Settlement House for a new era. Her work at the Manny Cantor Center has been written about in the New York Times, Daily News, and The Forward.
Rabbi Joanna Samuels
Rabbi Joanna Samuels
Executive Director, Manny Cantor Center
Nico Taylor
Nico is a junior at Yale University, studying philosophy. As a fellow at the Franke Program in Science and the Humanities, he researches the intersection of mathematics and moral philosophy. Outside the classroom, he performs sketch and stand-up comedy. He’s originally from Berkeley, California.
Nico Taylor
Nico Taylor
Student, Yale University
Randall Thacker
Randall is a political organizer and activist based in southern Ohio advocating for increased investment in clean energy, expanded access to healthcare, and the strengthening of social services. His work has primarily focused on electoral politics such as elections to public office and ballot initiatives. Previously he has worked for the campaigns of Senators Ossoff, Warnock, and Jones. Randall graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Shawnee State University.
Randall Thacker
Randall Thacker
Graduate, Shawnee State University

Who Should Apply?

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a desire to engage with diverse viewpoints and bring the Better Arguments framework back to your community.
  • Be willing to uphold the 3 dimensions and 5 principles of a Better Argument throughout the program.
  • Understand and respect the time commitment. Participants must be willing to attend each weekly session.

*Applications will be reviewed based on many factors to create a diverse cohort of thoughtful leaders based on geographical location, political views, professional sector, and race and ethnicity to name a few examples*

Application is closed for 2021. Missed the deadline? Contact betterarguments@aspeninstitute.org for further information.

Modules

September 10
Orientation
12:00-2:00pm ET
The opening session will focus on exploring this first step of leadership, the examination of the story of self and those factors in your lives that drive your leadership.
September 17
What Better Arguments Does Your Community Need?
12:00-2:00pm ET
This session will be an opportunity for Ambassadors to start sharing about themselves, their communities, and their perspectives, ultimately building towards a discussion of what issue(s) they’d like to take on with their Better Argument.
September 24
What Does it Take to Show Up in a Better Argument?
12:00-2:00pm ET
After leaving this session, each Ambassador will know their individual strengths and areas of growth in engaging across differences and how to use them to their advantage.
October 1
Building Community Buy-In from Diverse Perspectives
12:00-2:00pm ET
This session will feature a panel of 2-3 experienced community organizers to share their story with the cohort of Ambassadors and engage in dialogue about the opportunities and challenges surrounding building community.
October 8
The Art of Conversation Design
12:00-2:00pm ET
This session will dive into the principles of design, and why they might be the most important set of leadership skills you haven’t been taught (yet).
October 15
Facilitation Best Practices
12:00-2:00pm ET
This session will focus on critical building blocks for powerful facilitation and then move into skills needed to guide productive, thought-provoking, and inspirational meetings and gatherings that are aligned with the needs of multiple stakeholders.
October 22
How to Tell Your Story
12:00-2:00pm ET
This session will be a practical training to help Ambassadors improve their communication skills as well as the way they present themselves and their work to the world.
October 29
Better Arguments Workshop
12:00-2:00pm ET
This session will be an opportunity for each Ambassador to present the project they have been working on to solicit feedback from their peers.
November 12
Reflections & Next Steps
12:00-2:00pm ET
This final session of this program will be a capstone experience – an opportunity to create space for the participants to bring all aspects of their learning to a crescendo
Facing History and Ourselves
Allstate
The Aspen Institute Citizenship & American Identity Program