The Aspen Institute hosts conversation with Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy co-chairs Ali, Haslam and Meacham

By Carrie Moore

The Aspen InstituteThe Aspen Institute’s Socrates Program will host a virtual conversation, “Is National Unity Possible?” on Thursday, April 1, at 1 p.m. CT featuring the co-chairs of the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy, Bill Haslam, the 49th governor of the state of Tennessee; Samar Ali, Vanderbilt research professor of political science and law; and Jon Meacham, presidential historian and Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Chair in the American Presidency at Vanderbilt.

Moderated by Cordell Carter, Socrates Program executive director, the virtual event will examine issues of polarization and inequity in the 21st century. Carter brings 20 years of experience to his leadership of The Aspen Institute Socrates Program and Expectant Advisory, a privately held leadership consultancy. He has held leadership roles with TechTown Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationBusiness RoundtableNational Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the IBM Corp.

The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy seeks to advance the role of research and evidence-based reasoning into the national conversation on unity through original fact-based content and compelling conversations with thought leaders and policymakers across the political spectrum. The project launched in January 2021 after months of Vanderbilt scholars exploring how the university could play a productive, active and meaningful role in helping to heal our national fissures and seek a path toward a more united states.

The Aspen Institute Socrates Program launched in 2020 to provide a forum for emerging leaders from various professions to convene and explore contemporary issues through expert-moderated dialogue. Socrates also provides the opportunity for participants to enter a diverse professional network and into the broader range of The Aspen Institute’s programs. The Aspen Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership and action to help solve the greatest challenges of our time. For more information, visit