Democracy & Dialogues

Through the Democracy and Dialogues initiative, UConn is working to increase democratic and civic capacity by supporting community dialogues on critical issues, providing moderator and facilitation training for dialogues and deliberations, and partnering with campus colleagues and local institutions to increase meaningful participation by all community members.

This initiative is part of Dodd Human Rights Impact and supported by the Office of Global Affairs, the Office of the Provost, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Humanities Institute, UConn Extension, and the Division of Student Affairs’ Parent's Fund.

5 person panel discusses housing discrimination
A five-person panel, organized by Dr. Fiona Vernal (center), discusses housing discrimination. Participants include Joshua Serrano, Pastor AJ Johnson, Annette Sanderson, and Fernando Betancourt.

The Encounters Series

The Encounters Series is dedicated to fostering unexpected conversations around divisive issues and obscure knowledge. The program dives deeply into subjects that are of interest to the Greater Hartford community through facilitated, small-group dialogues followed by a question-and-answer style conversation with UConn faculty and community partners. Readings are provided beforehand to encourage informed and informal dialogue within conversations that often prove to be polarizing, and thus unproductive. Read more about The Encounters Series through Humanities for All.

Our Conveners

Jasmin Agosto
Hilary Bogert-Winkler
Janna Israel
Brendan Kane
Erica MacDonald
Jason Mancini
Brenda Miller
Dana Francisco Miranda
Chris Newell
endawnis Spears
Rebecca Taber-Conover
Sally Whipple



Included programs titled Women’s Suffrage, Monuments and Democracy In Historical Perspective, From Suffrage to Election, American Dreams, Radical Women Artists, and Race and Community Dialogue.
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Included programs titled Uncovering Black and Indigenous Histories, Public Punishment, Race and Remembrance, Afrocosmologies, Race and Community, Public Punishment Race and Remembrance, The 2020 Census, Moderator Training, and Food Systems and Sustainability.
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Included programs titled One Year After Maria, Treaty of Hartford, Surrealism and War, Encounters Conference, La Amistad, Emily Mae Smith and #MeToo, and States of Incarceration.
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Prior to 2018

Programs include The Voting Rights Act, Confronting Racism Through Dialogue, Guns, Rights, and the State, The Declaration of Independence, and more.
Read More (PDF)

Democracy & Dialogues Fellowship Program

The fellowship program is a University-wide partnership with participation from academic, service, outreach, and administrative units. Fellowship teams engage in a year-long shared learning process, develop projects that apply dialogue and deliberation to specific content areas and curricular settings, and make use of, and potentially contribute to, current research in practice.

Our People


Brendan Kane

Brendan Kane

Director, Democracy & Dialogues Initiative
Associate Professor, History & Literature, Cultures, & Languages


Nana Amos

Program Manager, Dodd Human Rights Impact

rachel jackson

Rachel Jackson

Associate Director of Operations, Human Rights Institute

Brendan Kane

Brendan Kane

Director, Democracy & Dialogues Initiative
Associate Professor, History & Literature, Cultures, & Languages

Erica MacDonald

Graduate Assistant

Glenn Mitoma

Glenn Mitoma

Director, Dodd Impact
Assistant Professor, Education & Human Rights
Graduate Certificate Coordinator, Neag School of Education