john a. powell Receives Convergence Bridge-Building Leadership Award

 powell’s “Targeted Universalism” Envisions Equity-Based Policies Meeting Needs of All Groups

WASHINGTON , June 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Leading researcher and thinker about strengthening American pluralism john a. powell today received the 2022 Convergence Bridge-Building Leadership Award. Convergence Center for Policy Resolution (Convergence) — which works to build trust, bridge divides and identify solutions to critical issues and strengthen America’s democracy and society, grants the award to one leader each year who demonstrates exceptional bridge-building efforts across ideological and partisan lines and embodies the imperative to bring people together to solve problems.

Presenting the award at today’s Convergence Leadership Council Meeting, CEO David Eisner lauds powell, Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, for his storied expertise and leadership in a host of civil society issues of equity and inclusion, and especially for creating and advancing his breakthrough framework of “Targeted Universalism.” The Center’s primer, “Targeted Universalism: Policy & Practice,” offers a roadmap to design policies that can simultaneously meet critical universal needs of all people, while formulating equity-based solutions for groups that have been traditionally marginalized and excluded.

“In our painfully polarized environment, too many can see work to advance the equity and belonging of marginalized communities as a zero-sum approach in which their own critical challenges go unmet and are even exacerbated,” Eisner said. “With his brilliant ‘Targeted Universalism,’ john has envisioned and constructed an evidence-based approach that allows for urgent progress for communities that have been left behind, without that progress coming at the cost of addressing the pain that other communities are currently experiencing. This is bridge-building at its finest, pointing directly toward solutions for some of America’s most intractable challenges.”

“I am glad to see the rapid growth of the bridge-building community of people and organizations who understand that bringing us together is essential to solving America’s toughest challenges,” said powell. “We see Targeted Universalism as a way to ensure that the needs of all groups are addressed, including those that are traditionally more favored or resourced, while outgroups who have been neglected are also placed in the center of societal care. We must work as though our fates are intertwined, because they are. Thanks to Convergence for recognizing this as an important contribution to bridge-building, for lifting up the work of the whole team at the Othering and Belonging Institute, and for Convergence’s own contributions to bridging divides and fostering solutions through collaboration.”

Previous recipients of the Convergence Bridge-Building Leadership Award include Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY), Co-chair of the Bipartisan Working Group in Congress (2021), and Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress and co-chair of the Bipartisan Working Group (2020). 

To watch the presentation of the Convergence Bridge-Building Award and to hear powell’s discussion with Eisner, tune into the YouTube live stream on Wednesday, June 22 at 1:30 pm ET/10:30 am PT.

john a. powell

At Berkely, in addition to his leadership of the Othering and Belonging Institute, powell holds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion and is a Professor of Law, African American Studies, and Ethnic Studies. He was previously the Executive Director at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, and prior to that, the Founder and Director of the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. powell formerly served as the National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and has taught at numerous law schools including Harvard and Columbia University. He is one of the Co-Founders of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and serves on the board of several national and international organizations, including More in Common, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, and Open Society Foundations.

Convergence Center for Policy Resolution 

Convergence is a national non-profit with locations in Washington, D.C. and the Bay Area that builds trust and bridges divides to solve critical issues and strengthen our democracy and society. Convergence Dialogues convene individuals and organizations with divergent views to understand each other, find common ground, develop groundbreaking, consensus solutions, and build unusual alliances to see those solutions enacted. Dialogues usually address critical national issues in impact focus areas, including economic opportunity, health and wellness, and democracy and society. Learn more at:

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SOURCE Convergence Center for Policy Resolution

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