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Citizen Summit
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Citizen Summit


After Utah’s second Citizen Summit in January, 2018, an exploratory committee has been formed toward putting on a national Citizen Summit — A Convention on Respect Collaboration and Solutions — in the fall of 2019 in Salt Lake City, UT with other venues around the country .The narratives of the two party conventions could be stated as “elect me and my party and we’ll “fix it” and that of the Citizen Summit, “it will take citizens and leaders from all sides to ‘fix it’”.  One way of looking at the division in the country is between those who want to come together with civility and respect, to listen and learn, to help resolve the great challenges we face at all levels of society and those who don’t or aren’t yet ready.

As our colleague, Brian Clancy, co-founder and co-director of Big Tent Nation observes, “There is a heartfelt need for an authentic new path in American politics. Lunging from right to left and now left to right is what we’ve been doing for many years now — the very period in which the American Dream has dangerously eroded.  The big challenges fracturing our nation remain beyond the capacity of any one side to resolve unilaterally and sustainably.”
Building on our work at Mediators over the last three years and particularly on the work of

• the Bridge Alliance —

•  the National Association of Non Partisan Reformers —

• Unrig the System Summit  — and

• Listen First in Charlottesville –

the Citizen Summit is designed to

•  showcase and highlight what’s working in our country in healing and bridging divides, often beneath the political and media radar,

•  (re)create a culture of dignity and collaboration and

• support bridge leaders and citizens working across our differences for mutual understanding and solutions.

We also see the Summit as a way to further catalyze and enhance a nascent transpartisan constituency — not a third party — bringing together all Americans who truly want to work together

Utah Citizen Summit 2016

On November 12 2016, in partnership with Mediators Foundation’s 2016 Citizen Summit efforts, Salt Lake City and the state of Utah, hosted a Utah Citizen Summit — a convening of leaders from various sectors and participants from various local constituencies, including the Democratic mayor of Salt Lake Country and former mayor of Salt Lake City, The Republican majority leader of the Utah State Summit, a top aid the Republican Secretary of State and the Democratic prosecutor of Salt Lake City. It was lived streamed across the country to those want to work together for a stronger, more innovative and collaborative America. Other cities are currently being invited to host their own gatherings. It was also recorded.

These two afternoon panels, the second of which was facilitated by Mediators Board President, Mark Gerzon, and the evening session at which John Steiner, Mediators Board member and Mark Gerzon received lifetime achievement awards for their work in the transpartisan field can be found at Salt Lake Civil Network

The Utah Citizen Summit unequivocally demonstrated that there is an alternative to hyper-partisan politics and Americans across the divides are willing and wanting to come together after a highly contentious election season.

Expressing a third narrative that can generate new possibilities and a spirit of hope, The Summit:

  • celebrated of values, process, ideas and success stories;
  • offered a place for all Americans, including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who believe that we can and must work through our differences to solve the problems facing our country;
  • created a high-profile, inclusive event in Utah that gave citizens inspiration and a voice and made an emerging grassroots movement more visible – and powerful;
  • showcased tools and methods that can work in local communities or on Capitol Hill – tools and methods that enable Americans to communicate respectfully and seek common ground;
  • used the latest collaboration software and content aggregation tools to provide a template for a new type of technologically empowered participatory democracy.

We at Mediators are extremely grateful to John Kesler, served as Communities Editor of National Civic Review, the oldest and most respected journal in the United States addressing local civic and democratic practices.  John founded and chairs the Salt Lake Civil Network and the Global Civil Network, which played a major role in putting on the event, and he was a leader in the founding of The Utah Civil and Compassionate Communities Initiative.