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The Listening Project Essay

"Anthony Wallace has a very powerful story," says O’Kane, a student in one of Napoli’s pop culture courses. Wallace suffered a back injury from a blast after his bunker was hit, killing two other men who were with him. "It made the war more personal to me. I wasn’t born then, so the Vietnam War never seemed relevant to my life." O’Kane adds that, after this experience, she is adding radio broadcaster to the list of careers she is considering.

Cohn is a Macaulay Honors College student who is taking Napoli’s course on Vietnam. He interviewed O'Brien as part of a class requirement for which he has to interview two veterans and write a paper comparing their experiences.

One of the most striking parts of the conversation for Cohn, who is considering becoming a foreign correspondent, among other career choices that would allow him to explore the globe, was O'Brien's desire to serve—he volunteered for the draft—and his sense of patriotism.

"It seems like he was among one of the last generations of people who wanted to defend America," says Cohn. "This guy felt it was a duty."

For his part, Napoli—who has been compiling oral histories of veterans since graduate school, has written a book about the stories of some of the veterans he has met, and counts many veterans among his very good friends—says he’s glad to give the men who served an opportunity to "witness" their stories.

"It’s therapeutic," he says, "and a way to make their memories useful."

He hopes his students are learning, through their Listening Project experiences, "the power of emphatic listening."

Last spring, 22 classes participated in the Listening Project, contributing raw material that will be housed in the library’s special collections archive.

Interview With a Vet

The Listen First movement began with a commentary written on an overnight bus ride across Africa that was published in dozens of newspapers across America reaching millions of readers. Essays are an integral way for us to give voice to the power of listening. We feature leaders from around the world applying listening first to their life experience and the most challenging issues of our time.

Resolve to Listen First in 2018 (The Hill)

In a column shared by thousands, Pearce encourages a fractured nation that each person who sets aside interpersonal conflict for conversation and pledges to listen first tips the scales toward a new direction.

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Colleges, the First Amendment isn't protection from offensive speech (The Hill)

Pearce discusses experiencing intolerance of listening at a campus protest and the alternative view of the First Amendment now precluding listening first at schools.

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Listen First Reflections on the Tragedy in Charlottesville

LFP Founder Pearce Godwin shared the Listen First perspective on the violent clash in Charlottesville in the days following the tragedy, with several posts on the Listen First Blog:

When Southern Conservatives & San Francisco Liberals Listened First

LFP Founder Pearce Godwin describes Listen First Conversations that challenged the caricatures of Americans from opposite corners of the nation

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Senator Tillis' Scare and the Collapse of Civility in America

LFP Founder Pearce Godwin calls out political vitriol that spewed following Senator Tillis' collapse during a 5k run

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Duke University Known for Listening; is it true?

Duke LFP President Rachel Stand observes that listening is not such a challenge when your peers all agree with you

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We've Lost Our Ability to Listen

Ryan Kashtan reflects on rejecting his teachers' wise encouragement to listen - a skill we've seemingly lost

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Discussing Politics with Complete Strangers

Andra Wilkinson shares her bold experience confronting anger after the 2016 election

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Listening to Know our Fellow Citizens

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, LFP VP Kemi Adegoroye challenges us to listen to and get to know our fellow citizens again

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Listen First, Vote Second 2016

LFP Founder Pearce Godwin calls on Americans to rise above the vitriol of the 2016 presidential campaign, one conversation at a time

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Health Policy: A Prescription for Listening

Dr. Sky Vanderburg proposes a path to productive dialogue on one of the most polarizing policy challenges of the century

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Listening First as a Catalyst for Action: Environmentalists and Farmers

Katie Anderson on the power of listening to find common ground between traditional adversaries

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Learning to Listen with an Open Mind

Matt Ilinitch on the value of travel across ideologies in heartfelt and respectful conversations

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Hello? Can You Hear Me Now?

Erica Philpot offers the perspective of a stage actress on the art of listening

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Forgiving, Listening & Learning

Gloria Odusote shares her personal growth in listening and illuminates the need for forgiveness and grace when we fall short

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Financial Regulation: An issue ripe for listening

Dean of University of Virginia Law School, Paul Mahoney, on a complex issue plagued by decisions not to listen

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African Listening: How it saved me from Kony's LRA

Augustine Okello shares listening lessons from the other side of the world

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The Confederate Flag: A Black and White Issue

Alan Jefferies' experience discussing the Confederate Flag with a white friend

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Guns: More or Less, a Polarized Issue

LFP Founder Pearce Godwin shares facts around gun violence and looks for common ground on the divisive issue

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Listening, a Richer Experience than Hearing

Elaine Sylvester on discovering the difference between hearing and listening

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Don't Raise Your Voice

Host of radio show 'I'll Grant You That,' Berkeley Grimball, shares his personal listening challenge

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Listening First in Business and Politics

U.S. congressional candidate Jim Duncan shares his experience listening first

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Intersections of Political and Religious Ideologies

A unique perspective from lawyer and Bible study leader Scott Anderson

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Lessons in Listening

Reflections on listening from law student and LFP VP of Strategic Initiatives Kemi Adegoroye

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Tolerance and Understanding Lacking in Gay Marriage Discussion

LFP Founder Pearce Godwin on the most polarizing social issue of the 21st century

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Listen First, Vote Second

LFP Founder Pearce Godwin on the most salient case of our failure to listen - politics

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Our Foundational Essay

It's Time to Listen

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