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two photos side by side of Penn Badgley and Dr. Nura Mowzoon who are running the "Can We Talk?" discourse series. Tney're both smiling

Penn Badgley & Dr. Nura Mowzoon’s ‘Can We Talk?’ Series Nurtures Connection in Polarised Spaces

Somewhere in between his immaculate portrayal of a serial killer in YOU, thoughtfully dissecting middle school experiences on the Podcrushed podcast series, dominating TikTok with some epic (and rather hilarious) dance moves and raising a family, Penn Badgley teamed up with renowned psychotherapist and professor of social sciences Dr. Nura Mowzoon to launch the Can We Talk discourse series.

Their mission? To nurture connection in an increasingly polarised world through meaningful and healthy conversations.

Yep, it turns out cutting off all contact with that uncle who doesn’t share the same views as us, only creates further societal division, and halts any chance of social change. Who knew? Well, probably all of us on some level. The big question is then how do we possibly engage with someone we don’t agree with?

“We’re hoping to, at a minimum, get people thinking about how they can approach conversations with people they don’t understand politically, religiously or personally, with a spirit of potential collaboration rather than an assumption of ‘otherness’,” Dr. Nura tells CelebrityKind.

“We want to at least plant the seed of the idea that people are fundamentally good – and that it’s only through meaningful conversations and genuine friendship that we can begin to find a sense of unity and social progress.”

Sounds like exactly what the world needs right now.

The duo, who first met in 2019 when Dr. Nura invited Penn to speak to Arizona State University students about how the media shapes unrealistic expectations about relationships (hello, you), have already been speaking to thousands of people at college campuses and universities in the U.S. They’ve been exploring the reasons why social progress has become so stagnant, both the media and social media’s role in driving division and ultimately how we can grow together by starting from a place of being open to understanding another person’s boundaries, experiences or differences.

They’re now ready to take their show on the road to reach more people, and no doubt make the world a little better.

 

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“The simplest thing we can do is listen to understand rather than listen to be understood or convinced,” Dr. Nura shares.

“People sense our intentions and their guards will only drop – and they will only be willing to hear you and understand you – if they feel emotionally safe. As long as we’re out to compete and convince, we’ll be in gridlock and increased division.”

Announcing the series on Instagram this week, Penn added that he and Dr. Nura have been working on the platform for the last few years to help navigate “difficult times”.

“And the times, to put it lightly, are not getting any less difficult. Dr. Nura and I started the ‘Can We Talk?’ series to offer an interactive experience at colleges and universities, exploring how psychology and social science translate into real-life scenarios for you personally – from your everyday conversations to broader social spaces.”

To learn more about Can We Talk? or to have Penn Badgley and Dr. Nura Mowzoon speak at your campus, check out their page on Instagram @canwetalkseries or get in touch with CAA Speakers.

You can also keep up to date with Penn and Dr. Nura on social media: @pennbadgley; @drnuramowzoon

(Feature Image Credits: Penn Badgley and Dr. Nura Mowzoon photos supplied)

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter, author of "A Kids Book About Kindness Online" and founder of CelebrityKind. She has dedicated her career to creating connected and healthy spaces in the media. When she's not writing, you'll find Nehal hanging with family, dancing to Beyoncé, interpreting Taylor Swift lyrics or watching old eps of Oprah.