A Toast to Civic Dialogue

Ladies give a toast to history

2017 has been a rough year for the world. Just this month, wildfires, hurricanes, and civil war competed for international attention, as if suffering can be measured in degrees of trauma. No one has been untouched by hardship, and there is a palpable weariness in the public conscience.

Devastation on such a scale would seem to unite the world in shared mourning—loss, like love, knows no cultural bounds. But anyone who has lost a loved one can attest to the isolating effects of bereavement, the often acutely alienating experience of prioritizing your own wellbeing over those who are equally struggling.

As we face the reality of 21st century challenges, GBA is turning to history’s undisputed unifier to restart public discourse: food. Leaders of every community in every century have traded dinner for diplomacy, and there is no surer ceasefire than bread well broken or drinks generously poured. As part of our Inspire Speakers Series, we are proud to present a series of Civic Dinners, meals designed to kickstart conversation and forge personal connection.

“There is no surer ceasefire than bread well broken or drinks generously poured.”

The idea is simple: a group of new and old friends get together to talk about one topic, lightly guided by a dinner host. People share their thoughts, and practice the art of active listening between sips and bites. At the end of the meal, the group reflects on what they’ve learned.

Everyone from Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr. has built partnerships around a shared table, and we are excited to bring diverse Pittsburghers together to sit down and dig in. First up is a meal about social impact and investing on November 14th, followed by a dinner on climate on December 5th. Happy ruminating!


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