Free Intelligent Conversation is the brain-child of Kyle Emile, who at the time was an undergraduate psychology student from southwest Michigan. In the fall of 2012, with the help of 3 other friends, this side-project began in Wicker Park, Chicago.

During the summer of 2013, our conviction of this idea spread to some additional friends, and on our college budgets, we decided to spend the money for gas, parking, food, and so forth, in order to commute two-hours to and from Chicago, twice a week.

Each time we went out, we set one goal and one rule: the first, to encourage conversation, the former, that no person or conversation was off limits. We went into these conversations expecting nothing in return, but always left feeling enriched from what we had talked about and learned from strangers.

We received incredibly positive feedback, people seemed to love the idea. We were featured in the Chicago Tribune, a few small radio shows and blog, and a couple tweets here-and-there. After being asked by a lot of people if there was a way they could join in, we decided that it was time to start thinking seriously of how to share this with the rest of the world.

Since then, we’ve been spreading the movement, encouraging more and more people to join and help out. Our group is now made up of a diverse background of people, who are passionate for better interaction amongst individuals and groups within society.

The movement has spread beyond Chicago—we’ve made it into 15 major US cities, and have even stretched internationally into Canada and Italy.

We want this to be a social movement that fosters empathy and better understandings amongst different groups of people.