Meenakshi Chakraverti is director of San-Diego-based Public Conversations West (PCWest), a branch of the Public Conversations Project (PCP). She has studied conflict and facilitated conversations across the United States and the world, from Flint, Michigan to Burundi. Before participating in a panel on civility in American life, Chakraverti took questions in Zócalo’s green room.
Where are relations worse—in Burundi or in Carlsbad, California?
What are the most unfair things people say about San Diego?
That it’s provincial.
What’s been your biggest disappointment in dialogue?
In many cases, not having enough time to keep the relationships we’ve started sustained. The risk is that people revert back to the status before the dialogue, which they themselves don’t want.
What’s your favorite breakfast food?
Bacon and eggs.
Of what inexcusable habit are you guilty?
When were you most fearful in your professional life?
Physical danger has never been where my mind would go. It was a worry I wouldn’t know how to hold the space.
What U.S. airline would you never fly?
Who is your favorite singer today?
What is the most uncivil thing you said to anyone this past month?
I’m sure I’ve told my children they’re stupid!
What are you like behind the wheel?
Well, I got my driving spurs in Boston.