Keystone’s Common Higher Ground Workshop helps professionals in all sectors develop strategies and build skills for effective decision-making and problem-solving within and beyond their organizations.  For this international online edition of the workshop, Keystone is partnering with Nina Harding, a nationally accredited Mediator based in Australia.

Many pressing problems cannot be solved sustainably by one person or party. The workshop is designed for leaders and emerging leaders who need to build a shared vision in the face of apparent differences, whether within a single organization, between organizations, within a community, or across society.

Participants will learn collaborative skills and strategies from Keystone’s experienced practitioners, who will demonstrate how the collaborative skillset has been applied in real-life multi-stakeholder dialogues.  For example,

  • Field to Market, initiated by Keystone 14 years ago, has grown from a cross-sector dialogue to the premier U.S. standard-setting organization in sustainability metrics for the commodity supply chain. See how a spark became a flame as farmers, agribusinesses, conservation groups, government agencies, academic institutions, and retailers collectively defined how they wanted to measure progress and tell their story.
  • The Food and Nutrition Roundtable, a multi-sector and inter-disciplinary discussion initiated by Keystone, grew into the Smart Choices Program, a voluntary but widely adopted program to signal healthier choices to U.S. consumers using front-of-package labeling and motivating significant reformulation of numerous food products.
  • PIHOA Meetings on Non-Communicable Diseases. Keystone assisted the Pacific Island Health Officers Association by facilitating intensive deliberation among public health officials, experts, and advocates from island nations and U.S. island territories in the Pacific region.  The effort resulted in a formal framework for coordinated action and a joint leadership council to implement that framework.
  • Regional Initiative to Eliminate Micronutrient Malnutrition. At the behest of the Asian Development Bank, Keystone facilitated the development of consensus strategies for private and public sector investment in efforts to combat micronutrient malnutrition in the People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.  Nearly one billion persons suffer from clinical forms of micronutrient deficiencies and another two billion from non-clinical forms, resulting in deficiencies such as reduced intelligence, lower work productivity, impaired reproduction, illness and death.  The initiative resulted in the creation of new cross-sector partnerships, the development of groundbreaking research and analytical tools, and mobilization of over twelve million dollars in seed financing for specific food fortification projects.

By the end of this workshop, participants should:

  1. Feel confident in assessing whether a problem is appropriate for collaboration, and in discerning whose participation is necessary for success.
  2. Know how to prepare for a challenging discussion and be ready for a range of potential outcomes.
  3. Feel practiced at generating and refining options on the way to workable solutions.
  4. Have a toolkit of strategies to deal with difficult personalities and tactics, and to work through impasses and misunderstandings.
  5. Understand common breakdowns in communication and professional relationships and how to get them back on track.

Format: Online Workshop (via Zoom)

Dates: February 22 – March 11, 2021 comprising a total of 6 two-hour sessions.

  • In Australia AEDT: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • In Hong Kong: Tuesdays and Thursdays 7:00 am – 9:00 am
  • In New Zealand: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
  • In U.S. Mountain Time: Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00pm – 6:00pm (6:00pm – 8:00pm Eastern)

Technology: The workshop will make use of the Zoom videoconference platform (Note: please let us know if your organization has limitations regarding this platform).  Attendees are responsible for securing a device and internet connection that will allow them to participate in this format.  Further information about system requirements will be sent closer to the workshop and is available on request.

Tuition: US $330

For more information, contact Jonathan Geurts,, +1 (970) 760-0720

RegistrationRegister Here

Brad Sperber

Brad Sperber is a Senior Policy Director at Keystone Policy Center, providing expertise in collaborative decision-making — including facilitation, mediation, public and stakeholder engagement, and issue assessment — locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. He has more than 20 years of experience designing and facilitating dialogue and research processes that assist public, civic, and private sector organizations in solving complex shared problems. His project experience spans public health and healthcare, education, human rights, agriculture, energy, and the environment.  Clients include the Pacific Island Health Officers Association, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Asian Development Bank, and the Louisiana Department of Education.  He holds a M.Div from Harvard University and a B.A. in history and religion from St. Olaf College.

Jonathan Geurts

Jonathan Geurts is a Senior Project Manager at Keystone.  His focus on public and private land management has connected agricultural supply chains – from farmer to retailer – on sustainability principles, engaged communities on joint needs for adjacent public lands, and helped land and water planners problem solve for a water scarce future. He holds a M.A. in conflict resolution from the University of Denver.

Nina Harding has over 20 years’ experience in resolving business and public interest disputes. Nina is a law graduate and has a Master of Laws.  She has mediated over two thousand disputes.  Nina is a nationally accredited Mediator and a recognised expert in the area of dispute resolution. In addition to mediating disputes, Nina facilitates large meetings and also teaches Mediation, Dispute Resolution and Complaint Handling workshops.  She regularly speaks at conferences and has taught thousands of people how to negotiate more effectively and resolve conflict.  Nina Harding has lectured at numerous universities in Australia and overseas.  


About Keystone Policy Center

Keystone Policy Center is a trusted non-profit organization founded in 1975 to drive actionable, shared solutions to contentious agriculture, environment, energy, education, and public health issues. Keystone is recognized by public, private, and civic-sector leaders throughout the United States for independent, collaborative problem-solving approaches that offer a proven blueprint for progress and collective impact.  Keystone’s trainers have tested theory with years of real-world experience building multi-sector collaboratives and facilitating public engagement.