Toward Understanding How Cultural Agility Leads to Civil Discourse

The 2019 Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs Annual Conference accepted a concept paper co-authored by Simon Cleveland, Ph.D. and Marisa Cleveland. Simon and Marisa presented their research and discoveries on Friday, October 11, 2019. Their presentation was titled, “Toward Understanding How Cultural Agility Leads to Civil Discourse.”

“Without the willingness and knowledge of how to engage in uncomfortable conversations, educators aren’t able to model how civil discourse could help bridge boundaries” (Cleveland & Cleveland, 2019).

Higher education is a place to cultivate the students’ “cultural knowledge, respect for people and places, skills of reflection and communication, critical thinking abilities, creativity, and a sense of empathy to make their workplace, the world they will inherit, safe, equitable, and productive” (Morris, 2016, p. 361).


Cultural agility is an important concept in today’s digital landscape and global economy. Despite the popularity of politically-charged headlines in the United States media, global corporations erase boundaries and merge cultures. In today’s digital landscape, interconnectedness impacts humanity globally, and the challenge facing organizations is finding common ground beyond the rising incivility among individuals. With the age of inclusion and framing intersectionality, marginalized groups are shifting the way humanity interacts and communicates with each other. Some groups consider civility to equal silence, and with the polarization of today’s society, civil discourse is a term creating a fragmentation among many. The purpose of this paper is to examine how cultural agility helps leaders produce civil discourse and find common ground. It is critical for organizations to focus on developing leaders capable of engaging in civil discourse.


To view more academic publications from Simon Cleveland, Ph.D., please visit Google Scholar.

To view Marisa Cleveland’s academic publications, please visit Google Scholar.


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