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The Quest for Community Webinar Series

The Quest for Community Webinar Series: A Future for American Conservatism

Thursday,  July 16, 2020 I 9:00 AM PDT / 12:00 PM EDT I Online Zoom Session

To register, please click here.

American conservatism stands at a crossroads. Launched after the 2016 elections, the American Project is arguing for a reimagined communitarian conservatism (or a “conservatism of connection”) in public policy and political rhetoric is the best way forward.  / (line break) Originally planned as a summer conference here on our Malibu campus, “The Quest for Community: A Future for American Conservatism” has now transitioned to a series of webinars with leading thinkers, activists and policymakers exploring the implications of renewing our appreciation for this long standing tradition in conservative thought and policy. Deriving our title from the late sociologist Robert Nisbet’s foundational book, The Quest for Community, this series will discuss the current day implications of this work – what it means for today’s policy and politics.

Webinar 1Is communitarian conservatism relevant in an age of ‘social distancing’ and political polarization?

Keynote: Ross Douthat, Columnist at The New York Times
Respondent: Gracy Olmstead, Author of Uprooted: Recovering the Legacy of the Places We’ve Left Behind
Moderator: Pete Peterson, Dean of Pepperdine School of Public Policy

In a time of pandemic and social upheaval the consideration of a communitarian conservatism seems like a quaint notion. But does this era – with its “social distancing” and national debates on American identity – actually demand a renewed appreciation of this humanistic approach to our public policy and politics? Join two of today’s leading thinkers and cultural critics as we begin this interactive webinar series by defining what is meant by the phrase “communitarian conservatism” and then discuss how it may be uniquely relevant for our distinctly polarized time in American policy and politics.


Pete Peterson

Pete Peterson is Dean of the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine Universit, the Braun Family Dean's Chair, and Senior Fellow at Davenport Institute. He is a leading national speaker and writer on issues related to civic participation, and the use of technology to make government more responsive and transparent. He was the first executive director of the bi-partisan organization, Common Sense California, which in 2010 joined with the Davenport Institute at the School of Public Policy to become the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership.
He has co-created and currently co-facilitates the training seminar, "Public Engagement: The Vital Leadership Skill in Difficult Times" a program that has been attended by over 2,000 municipal officials, and he also co-created and co-facilitates the seminar, "Gov 2.0: What Public Officials Need to Know." In 2017, SPP launched a new initiative titled the "American Project: On the Future of Conservatism", which is co-directed by Dean Peterson and Rich Tafel. The "Project" is a unique effort to gather scholars and activists from a variety points on the conservative spectrum to deliberate over, write about, and discuss the future of the conservative movement.
Pete writes widely on public engagement for a variety major news outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle, as well as numerous blogs. He is a regular guest on the "Politics Roundtable" with host Larry Mantle on KPCC radio. He has also helped write several survey-based reports on the subject, including "Testing the Waters: California's Local Officials Experiment with New Ways to Engage the Public" (in collaboration with the League of California Cities), and the "California Civic Health Index" (in collaboration with the National Conference on Citizenship). He contributed the chapter, "Place As Pragmatic Policy" to the edited volume, Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America (New Atlantis Books, 2014), and the chapter "Do-It Ourselves Citizenship" in the volume, Localism in the Mass Age (Wipf & Stock, 2018).

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