Templeton Foundation Awards $5.75 Million to Improve Public Discourse

Templeton Foundation Awards $5.75 Million to Improve Public Discourse

The University of Connecticut has announced a $5.75 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation in support of research into ways of balancing humility and conviction in public discourse.

The grant to UConn's Humanities Institute will fund three public forums, a number of summer institutes for high school teachers on how to incorporate intellectual humility into their classes, an online course, and a series of awareness-raising media initiatives. Research activities will include a visiting fellowship program for leaders from the academic, media, and nonprofit worlds; competitive research funding for interdisciplinary teams; research workshops; and a collaboration with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded Scholarly Communications Design Studio.

According to Michael P. Lynch, director of the institute and the project's principal investigator, examining the role that humility and open-mindedness can play in meaningful public discourse could promote healthier and more constructive discussion about divisive issues in religion, science, and politics.

"As this presidential campaign is constantly reminding us, real political dialogue — and any sense of intellectual humility — seems to have gone missing in American politics," said Lynch. "But we can’t just blame that on politicians or those on the other side of the aisle; we need to look at what it is about culture, psychology, and the human condition that has led us to this point. We want to know the underlying causes of our dramatic breakdown in open dialogue and how to fix it."

"$5.75 Million Grant to Focus on Improving Public Discourse." University of Connecticut Press Release 04/06/2016.