Via Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program
By Robert C. Bordone, Jon Hanson, Jacob Lipton, and Sam W. Straus
HNMCP is proud to announce the launch of a new series on our blog sharing the experiences of facilitators in our new student initiative, Real Talk.
In fall 2015 the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP),in collaboration with the Systemic Justice Project (SJP), launched a joint initiative for Harvard Law School (HLS) students called Real Talk—a series of small group facilitated dialogues and curated events on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The initiative developed from a shared interest of HNMCP and SJP to promote dialogue among HLS students on how legal education can, at times, unwittingly silence student voices and experiences, especially as these experiences relate to identity and personal narrative.
Real Talk is an initial effort to provide a forum for HLS students to learn with and from each other—encouraging genuine conversation around challenging issues, emotions, and narratives that relate to the law, legal systems, and legal education; a forum that promotes an inclusivity and openness that can often become stymied in traditional law school classrooms; and a forum that promotes respect, understanding, curiosity about the other, and a willingness to be “raggedy” even in our deepest moments of difference and dissent. For HNMCP, Real Talk represents the first manifestation of what we hope will be a new, larger dialogue and facilitation initiative. For SJP, Real Talk is part of a general commitment to encouraging conversations about diversity and inclusion in legal education and, more generally, about systemic problems in society.