Common Ground Committee Welcomes David Petraeus, Susan Rice for Public Forum on the New Cold War

Common Ground Committee (CGC), a nonprofit organization devoted to improving public discourse in politics, announced its eleventh public forum, which brings together former CIA Director General David Petraeus (Independent) and former Ambassador to the United Nations and National Security Advisor Susan Rice (Democrat). The forum, titled “Finding Common Ground on the New Cold War,” is cohosted by the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. The event will be held on November 19, 2019 at 7:00 PM, at Mason’s Fairfax, Va., campus and will be moderated by Craig Melvin, MSNBC news anchor and NBC news correspondent. 

According to a recent poll by Marist, nearly 80 percent of Americans are concerned that the lack of civility in politics will lead to violence. With the country increasingly divided on party lines, General Petraeus and Ambassador Rice will offer a model for civil public discourse as they look to find common ground on a range of foreign policy issues, from China to North Korea.

“At Common Ground Committee, we are focused on bringing light, not heat to public discourse. The nation needs to see people with different views work together on issues without compromising their fundamental principles,” said Bruce Bond, CGC’s co-Founder and CEO. “Both Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Rice have consistently represented the country’s better instincts on discourse. Despite their different perspectives and political experiences, attendees can look forward to a robust but civil conversation between these two leaders as they provide insight and find common ground on the evolving global relations landscape.”

Since 2009, CGC has held 10 forums during which over 200 points of consensus have been reached by prominent political figures. The November 19 event will be the second forum this year that focuses on foreign policy. In March, former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Condoleezza Rice came together at the University of Notre Dame to discuss America’s role in the world. They came to points of consensus on the threat of climate change, how to effectively manage the United States’ relationship with Russia, North Korea and China, and the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

"This is a critical time for our country,” General Petraeus notes. “The United States faces numerous challenges around the world and at home, and I look forward to a stimulating and productive conversation with Ambassador Rice about how America should address the challenges that confront us.”

"We face a number of threats to our country, but our domestic political division looms largest," said Ambassador Rice. "We won't solve this crisis overnight, but I'm looking forward to starting down that path with General Petraeus."

“The Schar School is thrilled to be co-hosting this important dialogue between Ambassador Rice and General Petraeus,” said Mark J. Rozell, dean of the Schar School. “Exposure to speakers of this caliber and the ideas that they bring to the stage enriches our collective conversation among our students and faculty and encourages the civil discussions we champion each day."

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets will be available starting October 28th at the

For any ticket-related questions, please call 703-993-3973. 


Common Ground Committee
Common Ground Committee (CGC) ( is a non-partisan, citizen-led organization that inspires action on polarizing issues by bringing prominent leaders with opposing views together in public forums to find common ground. Since its founding in 2009, CGC has held nine forums featuring 26 panelists who have reached over 200 points of consensus. Panelists have included such notables as Michael Steele, Donna Brazile, Barney Frank and Larry Kudlow, John Kerry and Condaleeza Rice exploring issues ranging from race and income inequality to taxes and entitlements. Free of political agenda and financial influence, CGC has a singular focus on bringing light, not heat, to public discourse. 

General David Petraeus
General David H. Petraeus is one of America’s most prominent military figures of the post-9/11 era. During his 37-year career in the US Army he had six consecutive commands in countries ranging from Cold War Europe to Iraq and Afghanistan, where he oversaw counterinsurgency efforts. After retiring from the military, he served as Director of the CIA and led initiatives to combat the global war on terror. A recipient of numerous military honors and a top graduate of the United States Military Academy and the U.S. Army’s challenging Ranger School, General Petraeus holds a Ph.D. in international relations and economics from Princeton University and has taught at multiple educational institutions.

Ambassador Susan Rice
Ambassador Susan E. Rice is one of the country’s most prominent diplomats. As United States National Security Advisor (2013-2017), she helped shape foreign and national security policy. Prior to that, she served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (2009-2013), advancing America’s foreign policy objectives while strengthening global security. Ambassador Rice holds a B.A. in History from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She is a former Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and currently serves as a Fellow at American University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Craig Melvin
Craig Melvin is a news anchor on NBC News’ “TODAY,” a co-host of 3rd Hour TODAY, an anchor on MSNBC Live, and a host of “Dateline.” His breaking news coverage and reporting appears across all NBC News and MSNBC platforms. Melvin has covered a wide-range of news events, including several Republican and Democratic National Conventions and three presidential inaugurations. His coverage of politics has included notable interviews with former President Bill Clinton, Former Vice President Joe Biden, Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Secretaries of State John Kerry, Mike Pompeo and Condoleezza Rice. He has also covered tragic mass shootings across the country for the network, including Dallas and Orlando in 2016; Charleston, South Carolina in 2015; the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. in 2013; and Sandy Hook in 2012. Melvin reported extensively on police involved shootings and subsequent protests in Baltimore, Maryland in 2015 and Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

Zach Halper