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Better Arguments Ambassador Program

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

Program

Program

The Better Arguments Project Ambassador Program is a fellowship-style leadership development 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 a diverse cohort of Ambassadors, participants will master the Better Arguments framework 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. At the end of the experience, each Ambassador will make 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.
  • 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 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*

Applications for the fall 2022 cohort are now closed.

Program Modules

September 15
Orientation
12 – 2 pm ET
The opening session will introduce and explore the Better Arguments framework through the lens of leadership and team building with inspiring and experienced leaders interested in bridging divides.
September 16
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. You will learn how to lead with a desire to understand and learn, rather than to win.
September 23
Prioritize Relationships & 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. You will learn how to cultivate honest connections across differences.
September 30
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. You will learn the benefits of opening up in an argument.
October 7
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. You will learn how to design a conversation that is attuned to its context.
October 14
Make Room to Transform
12 – 2 pm ET
This session will be an opportunity for Ambassadors to apply what they have learned by arguing with each other. There will be a special emphasis placed on the fifth and final Principle of a Better Argument: Make Room to Transform.
October 21
Better Arguments Workshop
12 – 2 pm ET
In this session, each Ambassador will apply what they have learned throughout the program to their own capstone project. They will collaborate with other Ambassadors to share practical ideas for design, delivery, and community engagement.
October 28
Better Arguments Presentation
12 – 2 pm ET
This session will be an opportunity for each Ambassador to present their capstone project idea. Fellow Ambassadors and the Better Arguments Project team will provide input and support.
November 4
Reflections & Conclusion
12 – 2 pm ET
This final session of this program will be a closing experience – an opportunity for the participants to bring all aspects of their learning together and set out to implement their capstone project.
Brittney Anthony
As Associate Director of Operations and Engagement at The Sycamore Institute, Brittney Anthony provides support for day-to-day management and operations and leads the team’s statewide engagement efforts through community events and symposiums. Brittney joined Sycamore in 2019 with nearly a decade of experience in community engagement and public policy at the Tennessee General Assembly and the Knoxville Utilities Board. Most recently, she worked for State Senator Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) and served as Press Secretary for the Tennessee Senate Democrats. Brittney earned a master’s degree in Corporate Communication from Austin Peay State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Brittney Anthony
Brittney Anthony
Associate Director of Operations and Engagement at The Sycamore Institute
Austin Bates
Austin Bates was born in Phoenix, Arizona to an English Second Language teacher and a small business owner. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Franklin & Marshall College. He is currently obtaining his Master’s in Public Policy from Arizona State University. Austin’s professional experience consists of voter turnout, social work, and public relations. He currently works in the Constituent Services Department of the Arizona Governor’s Office, where he facilitates communication between government agencies and the constituents they serve.
Austin Bates
Austin Bates
Constituent Services at the Arizona Governor’s Office
William Canestaro
William Canestaro is a venture capital investor focused on biotechnology companies in Washington State. He also teaches courses in Health Innovation and Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Washington Schools of Business and Pharmacy, respectively. Prior to his current role, Will earned a Ph.D. in Health Economics at the University of Washington. Will lives in Seattle with his wife and four children and enjoys spending as much time as possible in the outdoors.
William Canestaro
William Canestaro
Managing Director at Washington Research Foundation/WRF Capital
Lilian Chavez
Lilian Chavez, (Ph.D., Arizona State University) is a Residential Faculty in Sociology/Ethnic Studies at Mesa Community College (MCC) in Mesa, Arizona. Her research centers on contemporary processes of immigration and social inequality, race and ethnicity, and qualitative inquiry. She also explores Latinx issues, Chicana spiritualties, border studies, and de/colonizing epistemologies. Recently, Dr. Chavez has delved deeply in contemplative practices as pedagogical and epistemological tool for teaching and inquiring. Her contemplative training and practice include mindfulness in education, ancient Nahuatl, and other indigenous philosophical traditions. In addition, she co-directs the study abroad program to Guanajuato, Mexico and her recent interest are focused on critical Muslim studies; she was awarded a Fulbright in 2019 to study the culture of Morocco, and in 2020 she participated in the CAORC (Council of American Overseas Research Centers) to study religion and migration in Senegal, West Africa, and has also lived in Egypt. Lilian loves nature, travel, and spending time with her family, husband, and dog.
Lilian Chavez
Lilian Chavez
Residential Faculty at Mesa Community College
Allison Davis-White Eyes
Dr. Allison Davis-White Eyes currently serves as the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as Associate Faculty in Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University. Allison holds a Ph.D. from Oregon State University in Higher Education with an emphasis in International Education, as well as a Master of Arts and Bachelor of arts in American Indian Studies and US History respectively. She has over 30 years of higher education experience that includes: Admissions, Academic Advising, International Education, and Indigenous Sovereignty. As a scholar, her research foci include international education systems, anti-oppressive pedagogy and curriculum, post-coloniality, and human rights. Along with her academic bona fides, Allison chairs the University of Oregon President’s Diversity Advisory Council, and has served on numerous statewide and national committees committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and access.
Allison Davis-White Eyes
Allison Davis-White Eyes
Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Fielding Graduate University
Bobbie Garza-Hernandez
A native of San Marcos and graduate of San Marcos High School, Bobbie Garza-Hernandez went on to major in Communications and Hispanic Relations at St. Edward’s University. She began her career in youth services which included statewide migrant education programs, employment programs for high school dropouts, and local and statewide summer youth employment programs. The 1997 launching of her public relations company, Pink Consulting, came out of a passion she derived from years of organizing neighborhoods and empowering communities while serving as the Chief of Staff to former Austin City Mayor Gus Garcia. Bobbie continues her active involvement in community issues especially those that affect the disenfranchised and under-served, through her volunteer work with various groups and service on boards and commissions, including serving as: Leadership Team Member, Indigenous Cultures Institute; Founding Member, Council for the Indigenous & Tejano Community; Member, San Marcos Neighborhoods Commission; Chair, Hays County Women’s Political Caucus – PAC, and as a Hays County Precinct Chair.
Bobbie Garza-Hernandez
Bobbie Garza-Hernandez
Lead Communications Strategist & Principal at Pink Consulting
Megan Halteman Zwart
Megan Halteman Zwart is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, IN). She teaches courses in the history of philosophy and applied ethics. Megan is founder and director of The Dialogue Project, a collection of programs supporting dialogue across difference at Saint Mary’s College, including Dialogue and Democracy, a summer academic institute for high school girls. Megan’s work on dialogue has been published in America Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Megan received her bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and her PhD from the University of Notre Dame. 
Megan Halteman Zwart
Megan Halteman Zwart
Associate Professor of Philosophy at Saint Mary's College (Notre Dame, IN)
Moya Harris
Moya Harris is currently a third year Ph.D. student in the African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric program at Christian Theological Seminary with a focus on hip hop womanist preaching and rhetorical theory. She is also the Church Network Coordinator and Fellowship Program Director at Sojourners, which is an award-winning progressive Christian publication and non-profit mobilizing organization that seeks to amplify the intersection of faith, politics, and culture. An ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, she is currently serving on staff at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC. Moya is also a retired registered nurse. In the words of the late Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, Moya is doing the work her soul must have, marrying theory and praxis, scholarship, and service, believing that justice and faith are inseparable. She can easily be found reading a book or writing a paper while listening to A Tribe Called Quest or The Roots while drinking a double espresso.
Moya Harris
Moya Harris
Fellowship Program Director at Sojourners and Ph.D. Student at Christian Theological Seminary
Rev. Jerad Morey
Through the Respectful Conversations peacebuilding work of the Minnesota Council of Churches, Jerad Morey has assisted thousands of people through churches, colleges, corporate boards, community groups, and educational institutions to face potentially toxic polarization in a way that builds empathy, strengthens relationships, and improves social cohesion. A Conflict Resolution Quarterly article concluded the program could “move us to a stronger, more democratic society.” When he is not working with constituents and congregants to better love God, neighbor and opponent, Jerad renews himself guiding Wild Path Forest Therapy walks, writing, and playing board games with his family.
Rev. Jerad Morey
Rev. Jerad Morey
Director of Strategic Relationships at Minnesota Council of Churches and Associate Pastor at Northfield United Methodist Church
Josh Robertson
Josh Robertson is a designer at Allstate. Originally from Springfield, IL, he now lives in Chicago with his amazing wife and became a proud dad in 2021. The Robertsons (very) occasionally run marathons with World Vision to fund clean-water projects abroad. Josh has a BS Industrial Engineering with a second major in Economics from Northwestern University.
Josh Robertson
Josh Robertson
Customer Journey Manager at Allstate
Peter W. Tragos
Peter Tragos is the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, just north of Chicago. He is responsible for leading innovation in curriculum and instruction and professional development. He leads several key initiatives related to the district’s strategic plan. Most recently, he facilitated the development of the Characteristics of a New Trier Graduate, which articulates the skills and dispositions students will develop over the course of their four-year experience to thrive in a rapidly changing world. He also co-authored New Trier’s Civil Discourse and Critical Thinking Statement and developed a “Teaching and Learning Series” in his district to make visible how the principles of the statement are put into practice in the classroom. He believes creating civil civic spaces in schools, where students can interrogate ideas, seek truth, and practice democracy, may be the best antidote to the current state of national discourse and the best hope for the future of education. 
Peter W. Tragos
Peter W. Tragos
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction at New Trier High School
Rabbi Ari Witkin
Ari Witkin is the Director of Leadership Development at the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit and serves part-time as the Rabbi of Temple Beth Israel in Bay City, MI. A graduate of Goucher College, Ari also holds a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, and rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College where he was a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Ari lives in Huntington Woods, MI with his with Liz Traison and their sons Hadar and Raviv.
Rabbi Ari Witkin
Rabbi Ari Witkin
Director of Leadership Development at the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit
Facing History and Ourselves
Allstate
The Aspen Institute Citizenship & American Identity Program