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Finding Common Ground on America’s Role in the World

March 19, 2019

On Tuesday, March 19 Common Ground Committee hosted its 10th public forum, which brought together former Secretaries of State John Kerry (Democrat) and Condoleezza Rice (Republican) at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The forum was titled “Finding Common Ground on America’s Role in the World”. Tickets became available 30 days before the event and were gone in 30 minutes.

Watch the highlights:

During the forum, Kerry and Rice came to points of consensus on the threat of climate change, how to effectively manage the United States’ relationship with Russia, North Korea and China, and the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

By demonstrating how people of opposing views can find agreement without compromising core values, we aim to inspire the public, political leaders and the media to seek common ground, increase civic engagement and reduce polarization for a stronger nation. In this public forum Secretaries, Rice and Kerry were shining examples of that demonstration.

The audience was captivated, delighted and inspired. On seeing political figures find common ground, event attendee and University of Notre Dame student Julianna Ison said, “I think it’s really important to work to mitigate some of the polarization we’re seeing currently in the political climate. To see two people from different political parties actually agreeing on a lot of issues was eye-opening and helps you see that there is a lot of agreement across the aisle.”


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Condoleezza Rice, John Kerry lay out their visions for U.S. in joint appearance at Notre Dame

Former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice, John Kerry find ‘common ground’ in panel at Notre Dame

Rice and Kerry find common ground at Notre Dame


The event was co-sponsored by BridgeND, a chapter of BridgeUSA, a student-organized and managed nonprofit organization that advocates for constructive, responsible political discussion on college campuses across the country. Faculty-led cosponsoring organizations were Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy and the Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC). The event’s media partner was Christian Science Monitor, an independent international news organization dedicated to helping readers view news events as starting points for constructive conversations.

Common Ground Committee (CGC) (commongroundcommittee.org) is a nonpartisan, citizen-led organization that inspires action on polarizing issues by bringing prominent leaders with opposing views together in public forums to find common ground. Since its founding in 2009, CGC has held 14 forums featuring panelists who have reached over 200 points of consensus. Panelists have included such notables as David Petraeus, Susan Rice, John Kerry, Condoleezza Rice, Michael Steele, Donna Brazile and Larry Kudlow, exploring issues ranging from race and income inequality to foreign policy. CGC is also responsible for the “Let’s Find Common Ground” podcast and the Common Ground Scorecard, which scores politicians and candidates for public office on their likelihood to find common ground with the opposite party. Free of political agenda and financial influence, CGC has a singular focus on bringing light, not heat, to public discourse.


March 19, 2019


March 19, 2019