Michael Hebb has made a career from convening extraordinary people, provoking them into dialogue about hard issues, and seeing hearts soften, minds change, and relationships build. It began when he asked Gore Vidal if he could host a modern symposium in his living room—to Michael’s surprise, Vidal said yes. Michael was asked to convene Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Irish President Mary Russell at a table to discuss ending genocide. This was the same week the UN had begun to publicly pursue claims that Kagame was in fact an agent of genocide, not just a protector of his people. The next week Michael sat executives from Monsanto down to a dinner with organic farmers in Iowa under the stars in Sioux City with Mark Bittman, proving to everyone at the table that it’s possible to break bread with perceived enemies, and find common ground. For over a decade since, he has been convening topic-based dinners across the globe, and more recently, Michael was honored to co-host the Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday for a lunch under some palm trees.
Michael, a chef and architect by training, is the founder of Convivium – a creative agency that specializes in the ability to shift culture through the use of thoughtful food and discourse-based gatherings. Convivium has worked closely with many foundations/institutions including: The World Economic Forum, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, X Prize Foundation, FEED Foundation, TED, TEDMED, United Nations Foundation and The Nature Conservancy. He is also the founder of Deathoverdinner.org, Drugsoverdinner.org, EarthToDinner.org, Muslimneighbor.us, and Seder.Today. He has served as a Senior Advisor to Summit Series, TEDMED, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Mastercard Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, One Taste, CreativeLive, Architecture For Humanity, and Mosaic Voices Foundation. Michael recently became a Partner at Roundglass to further expand his efforts to impact global well being.