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How to Have Difficult Conversations: A Virtual Panel Discussion

Virtual September 16, 2020 Public Event

On Wednesday, September 16 at 8pm EDT, Heterodox Academy hosted How to Have Difficult Conversations, a virtual panel discussion. This event, featuring Karith Foster, Irshad Manji, and Eboo Patel explored ways to approach conversations on difficult topics – like the ones taking place at high schools, colleges, and universities this fall – and how to use these conversations to promote critical thinking, respect, and mutual understanding.

This event was only open to HxA members and affiliates. Advanced registration was required. Following the event, we posted a recording on our public social media pages.

Please note that we accepted audience questions for the panelists in advance and there was a field to submit your questions on the registration form.

Missed the event? Catch it below!

More information on our panelists:

Karith Foster is a stand-up comedian, motivational speaker, TV and radio personality, actress, author, and entrepreneur, who has appeared on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, the Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC’s Today Show and Last Comic Standing, and VH-1’s Best Week Ever (just to name a few). She transitioned her comedy into a speaking career and frequently addresses colleges, universities, and corporations on issues related to diversity, leadership, and team building. She is also the founder of the “Laughter Bootcamp” workshop and is the author of “Laugh Your Way to Happiness: 101 Ways to Have a Great Laugh” and the soon to be released children’s book “Lealah Finds Love.”

Irshad Manji is the founder of Moral Courage College, which equips people to do the right thing in the face of fear – particularly in the fractious space of diversity and inclusion. Manji teaches “honest diversity,” which holds that different viewpoints, not complexions, are the key metric of pluralism. A fellow with Oxford University’s Initiative for Global Ethics and Human Rights, Manji is also an internationally best-selling author and Emmy-nominated filmmaker. Her latest book, Don’t Label Me, is being used by schools to teach a new generation about how to harvest common ground from our differences. Manji also sits on the HxA Advisory Council.

Eboo Patel is the founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core. For over 15 years he has worked with governments, social sector organizations, and college and university campuses to help make interfaith cooperation a social norm. Named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Patel served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council and is the author of Acts of FaithSacred GroundInterfaith Leadership: A Primer, and Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. Patel also sits on the HxA Advisory Council.

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Heterodox Academy hosts a variety of events throughout the year, ranging from panel conversations to skill-building member workshops to awards dinners. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all our events are currently taking place virtually. HxA also strives to host inclusive, accessible events that enable individuals to engage fully.

If you have any questions about our events, inquiries about accessibility, or requests for accommodations, please contact us at

We want your feedback! If you have any suggestions for upcoming events, or are interested in hosting a conversation as part of our Member Spotlight Series, please complete this short form.

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