Better Arguments Ambassador Program

Do you want to lead your community to engage more constructively across differences of opinion?

Program Description

Program Description

The Better Arguments Project Ambassador Program is a fellowship-style, action-oriented experience. As a result of the program, each Ambassador will be equipped to make commitments of action to put Better Arguments into practice in their respective communities. We seek leaders of all kinds who share a passion for finding healthier, more constructive ways to disagree and exchange ideas, and who are ready to commit to leading their communities in doing so. This program will unfold through a series of nine modules, taking place virtually for two-hours each week. Meeting weekly with their cohort of Ambassadors, participants will master the Better Arguments framework, reflect deeply on their own values and views about civil discourse and engagement across divides, and learn how to guide others to argue better. Participants 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. With the support and feedback from fellow Ambassadors as well as the Better Arguments team, participants will craft a commitment to bring Better Arguments concepts to their community.

This program is completely free, and each participant will receive a stipend. 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!

Who Should Apply?

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be based in the United States.
  • Have experience facilitating conversations or a demonstrated interest in improving civil discourse in the United States.
  • Have a desire to engage with diverse viewpoints and bring the Better Arguments framework back to their 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*

Applications for the spring 2023 cohort are now closed.

Program Modules

March 23
Orientation
12 – 2 pm ET
The opening session will introduce the Better Arguments framework and provide an overview of what to expect from the upcoming Ambassador Program modules.
March 24
Take Winning Off the Table
12 – 2 pm ET
This session will be an opportunity for Ambassadors to learn and practice applying the first Principle of a Better Argument: Take Winning off the Table.
March 31
Prioritize Relationships and Listen Passionately
12 – 2 pm ET
This session will be an opportunity for Ambassadors to learn and practice applying the second Principle of a Better Argument: Prioritize Relationships and Listen Passionately.
April 14
Embrace Vulnerability
12 – 2 pm ET
This session will be an opportunity for Ambassadors to learn and practice applying the fourth Principle of a Better Argument: Embrace Vulnerability.
April 21
Pay Attention to Context
12 – 2 pm ET
This session will be an opportunity for Ambassadors to learn and practice applying the third Principle of a Better Argument: Pay Attention to Context.
April 28
Make Room to Transform
12 – 2 pm ET
This session will be an opportunity for Ambassadors to learn and practice applying the fifth Principle of a Better Argument: Make Room to Transform.
May 5
Better Arguments Workshop I
12 – 2 pm ET
In this session, each Ambassador will apply what they have learned throughout the program to develop their commitment of action.
May 12
Better Arguments Workshop II
12 – 2 pm ET
In this session, each Ambassador will apply what they have learned throughout the program to develop their commitment of action.
May 19
Better Arguments Workshop III
12 – 2 pm ET
In this session, each Ambassador will apply what they have learned throughout the program to develop their commitment of action.
Seán Arthurs
Seán Arthurs is an educator, non-profit leader, and lawyer with a passion for conceptualizing, developing, and implementing impactful and mission-driven educational programming at scale. He is presently privileged to be working with frontline environmental and human rights defenders as the Director of Global Education and Training with EarthRights International. When he is not attending school or building programs, Seán is learning and laughing with his two lively and inquisitive children who remind him frequently about how little he knows.
Seán Arthurs
Seán Arthurs
Director of Global Education and Training at EarthRights International
Olivia Benson
Olivia Benson (she/her) can best be described as a creative, driven strategist with a passion for social change. Olivia’s professional experience includes roles with government, private business, NGOs, and as an independent consultant. Today, Olivia serves as the Chief Operating Officer of The Forbes Funds, where she leads the implementation of the organization’s social impact goals and metrics – including program alignment to the Social Determinants of Health and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the development of humanity-centered and data trainings for community-based partners. Olivia holds a BS in Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, an MBA from Point Park University, and an MS in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania.
Olivia Benson
Olivia Benson
Chief Operating Officer at The Forbes Funds
Reverend James Encinas
Reverend James Encinas is the author of Wheeling to Healing… Broken Heart on a Bicycle, about understanding and healing from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). As a child, Encinas experienced domestic abuse, bullying, and discrimination. Encinas’ story takes readers to places where hurt originates and then into landscapes that offer larger views and growth. It educates people about the science of trauma and offers methods that can start a unique process of healing. A former actor and grade schoolteacher, Encinas has spent recent years as a parent education specialist, teacher trainer, and speaker. He has presented to diverse groups, including The Aces Project Health Federation of Philadelphia, the Aspen Action Forum, Futures Without Violence, Trauma-Informed Community Gathering, and many more.
Reverend James Encinas
Reverend James Encinas
Author and Director of Wheeling to Healing
Anna Kendig Flores
Anna Kendig Flores (she/her/ella) is a board certified interfaith and secular chaplain and PC(USA) pastor with specialties in mental health, addiction, organizational ethics & equity. In her role as Antiracism Coordinator for more than 50 congregations in the Twin Cities, wider Minnesota, and western Wisconsin area, she incorporates spiritual practices with a holistic approach to “anti-racist living” that seeks to build wholeness in churches and communities from the inside-out. Raised by her Mexican family as immigrants to Minnesota, with influence from her Syrian-Lebanese and Euro/British heritage, Anna’s multiethnic, multiracial, and spiritually diverse upbringing was where she learned the power and pitfalls of engaging across differences that now fuel her work in healthcare and community engagement.
Anna Kendig Flores
Anna Kendig Flores
Antiracism Coordinator at Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area
Hillary Gardenswartz
Hillary Gardenswartz is the Director of Student Experiences at Civic Spirit, a role in which she can create new programs and make civics education relevant and meaningful in the lives of teens. Before joining Civic Spirit, Hillary was a Senior Project Manager at The Jewish Education Project, where she was privileged to support and collaborate with educators who worked in all types of settings, including day schools, camps, congregations, and youth groups. As a veteran high school teacher and administrator, Hillary loves helping students become critical readers of text and make text-to-world and text-to-self connections. Hillary holds a BA from Brandeis University in Politics and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. She has master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Hillary Gardenswartz
Hillary Gardenswartz
Director of Student Experiences at Civic Spirit
Bo Harmon
Bo Harmon brings decades of Republican campaign experience to Better Arguments. He served as campaign manager for Congressman John Linder, US Senator Saxby Chambliss, and Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich. Bo has also worked with the National Republican Congressional Committee and as a senior staffer for McCain for President. With deep experience in communications, mobilization, and political strategy, Bo helps pass pro-Democracy election reform efforts at the state and municipal level for RepresentUs endorsed campaigns.
Bo Harmon
Bo Harmon
Campaign Advisor at RepresentUs
Sara Kay
Sara Kay is the Director of the Executive Leaders Program at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, where she leads curriculum development, faculty engagement, and content delivery for senior executives working in homeland security and public safety roles at the federal, state, local, tribal, and private sectors. Prior to joining the Center in 2020, Sara served in roles in the federal, state, and private sectors: she led troops during peace and wartime as an officer the United States Air Force, managed the first department dedicated to Emergency Response and Security for the State of California’s Judicial Branch, and later served in three federal executive branch departments, to include the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Treasury Department, and the CIA. Her private sector experience includes serving as Head of Global Security for Airbnb for four years and as Executive Director of Threat Management for Kaiser Permanente for one year.
Sara Kay
Sara Kay
Director of the Executive Leaders Program at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security
Erin Rodat-Savla
Erin Rodat-Savla has more than 25 years’ experience in executive engagement, marketing strategy, and human-centered design thinking. She is also an active volunteer in her community, including as an elected trustee of the local public library. In both her professional and civic work, Erin explores: How can we have fun, inspire new and creative ideas, and make progress, even—especially—when faced with the hard work of messy, complex issues? Erin holds a BA in literature and rhetoric from Binghamton University, an MS in information systems, and an MBA, both from Boston University. She is an avid reader and a magpie maker, enjoying craft and creative projects of all sorts.
Erin Rodat-Savla
Erin Rodat-Savla
Independent Consultant and Community Volunteer
Dan Schuessler
Dan Schuessler is an Inclusive Diversity and Equity Sr. Consultant at Allstate, where he has made an impact developing leaders, communities, and programs at an enterprise level. Dan lives in Southwest Florida with his wife, children, and dogs where they enjoy supporting the type one community through JDRF and Beyond Type One.
Dan Schuessler
Dan Schuessler
Inclusive Diversity and Equity Sr. Consultant at Allstate
Matilda Thornton-Clark
Matilda Thornton-Clark is currently the civic engagement program coordinator with the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. In this role, she advises 7 student-run leadership groups and works to expand students’ interest in politics and public service. Matilda has spent her career working with students to make social change, turn out their peers to vote, and have hard conversations with each other.
Matilda Thornton-Clark
Matilda Thornton-Clark
Civic Engagement Program Coordinator at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics
Tameka Vasquez
Tameka Vasquez is a social futurist, foresight strategist, educator, and speaker. She is the Founder & Principal of The Future Quo, an advisory aimed at democratizing futures thinking in the private sector. She is also currently Associate Faculty for the Future of Work course at Columbia University. Before launching The Future Quo, Tameka was a marketing strategist who led brand and growth programs for global technology startups and enterprises for over 12 years, most recently serving as the first head of marketing for Sidewalk Labs, an urban innovation and sustainability unit at Google. Tameka has been a keynote speaker and commentator for a range of events, podcasts, and thought leadership forums, including for the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, Step Dubai, Hospitality Design Magazine, Smart Design, Udemy for Business, and others. Tameka holds a BA from the City University of New York, an MS from Columbia University, and is certified in strategic foresight.
Tameka Vasquez
Tameka Vasquez
Founder & Principal at The Future Quo
Alan Yarborough
Alan Yarborough conducts civil discourse training and consulting through his new business Habits of Discourse. He is also the church relations officer for The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, where he helps inspire advocacy and civic engagement across the U.S. Alan draws extensively from his experience living in rural and urban settings in the U.S. as well as abroad in Haiti and Guatemala. He has a BA in economics from Clemson University and an MA in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University.
Alan Yarborough
Alan Yarborough
Facilitator at Habits of Discourse
Facing History and Ourselves
Allstate
The Aspen Institute Citizenship & American Identity Program