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Leading Public Opinion: The Challenge of Persuasion at Mass Scale

Antonio Lambino's picture

In yesterday’s OP-ED page of The New York Times, Thomas Friedman suggests characteristics of what non-extremist factions of the American polity want in a leader.  I was struck by the high levels of communication capacity these criteria demand.  According to Friedman, the following are among the required traits of desired leadership:  1) the ability to persuade constituents and 2) the ability to lead, not merely read, public opinion.  Not only do these two things require expertise, they are inextricably linked.

Building Coalitions: If Not through Mutual Interests, then through Mutual Gains

Antonio Lambino's picture

It’s easy to say that we need to build broad coalitions to bring about sustainable pro-poor change.  Easier said than done.   In a piece entitled “Connecting Nature’s Dots”, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman argues that

“We’re trying to deal with a whole array of integrated problems – climate change, energy, biodiversity loss, poverty alleviation and the need to grow enough food to feed the planet – separately.  The poverty fighters resent the climate-change folks; climate folks hold summits without reference to diversity; the food advocates resist the biodiversity protectors.”

Why the disconnect?  One of the reasons Friedman and his interviewees offer is that when it comes to environmental preservation, the farther humans are from experiencing nature, the harder it is for us to make the connections among environmental issues and other relevant policy and practice domains.