President Jones to Share Updates on Dickinson's Dialogues Across Differences Program at National Conference

John Jones photo

President John E. Jones III ’77, P’11, will join a range of notable speakers at Asheville Ideas Fest

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Thought-leaders and innovators from across the nation will learn about a cutting-edge Dickinson program—direct from the leader who championed it. President John E. Jones III ’77, P’11, will share updates about Dickinson’s Dialogues Across Differences program during a national conference devoted to sparking positive change. 

Dickinson launched the innovative program last fall, with funding from a grant through the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. Positioned as a national model, the program is designed to equip students—and those who teach them—with the skills to communicate and collaborate more effectively with those who hold differing points of view. 

Jones will discuss the groundbreaking program during the Asheville Ideas Fest. Held in mid-June in Asheville, N.C., the festival aims to share new and diverse perspectives from leaders, thinkers and citizens devoted to making a difference. Other speakers include New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, Emmy Award-winning news anchor Juju Chang, and CNN correspondent Sanjay Gupta. Jones will co-deliver the talk, titled “I Never Thought of It That Way,” with Mónica Guzmán, senior fellow for public practice at the nonprofit organization Braver Angels.  

I’m eager to highlight how our Dialogues Across Differences program takes a multifaceted approach to teaching students how to discuss even the most challenging issues—the ones in which difference in perspective can lead to polarization and inflammatory ‘road rage’ rhetoric,” says Jones. “Make no mistake. This is not about surface-level politeness. It’s about creating a campus culture in which students learn to listen fully to each other’s points of view, ask each other curious questions and think critically about each other’s perspectives while reflecting on their own.” 

The Asheville appearance arrives on the heels of another event highlighting our president’s accomplishments. During the first week of June, Jones’s high-school alma mater, Mercersburg Academy, will present Jones with its Class of ’32 Award. 

Bestowed on Mercersburg alumni who have distinguished themselves through exceptional character, service and achievement, the Class of ’32 Award is only the latest in a growing list of honors for the Dickinson president and retired federal judge, which he continues to use to highlight Dickinson’s momentum as well as the power of a Dickinson education.  

Published May 30, 2023