Lara Schwartz focuses on dialogue across difference, freedom of speech and dissent, inclusive pedagogy, dispute resolution, depolarization, law, and public policy. Drawing on her experience as a legislative lawyer, lobbyist, and communications strategist in leading civil rights organizations, Lara understands how to lay the groundwork for important, tough conversations across difference. At American University, she founded and directs the Project on Civic Dialogue (formerly the Project on Civil Discourse), which supports students in developing their skills as listeners, communicators, and learners.
Lara regularly speaks at national conferences on issues related to free speech on campus, productive dialogue, inclusive learning communities, collaborative learning, academic freedom, student activism, and college readiness. She creates workshops tailored to your organization’s needs, including for professional and faculty development, curriculum design, and student support. Lara has appeared on national and local radio and television programs and written op-eds published in national papers and local papers of record. She is the author of the upcoming book Try to Love the Questions: From Debate to Dialogue in Classrooms and Life (Princeton University Press, 2024).