University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for the American West will host a virtual conversation between system President Mark Kennedy and University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan at noon Thursday, the second installment in the center’s “Bipartisanship (and Friendship) Happen!” series.

Center for the American West began the series because ongoing national tension and polarization “put a premium on seizing every opportunity for civil, respectful, and productive conversations,” according to the series website.

Kennedy, a Republican, and Meehan, a Democrat, previously served together in the U.S. House of Representatives and formed a friendship during that time, according to a news release from the system.

“You learn a lot about a person when you travel with them, particularly overseas. Marty and I really became friends when we traveled the Middle East together as Congressmen,” Kennedy said in a statement.

“While we don’t always agree on issues, I respect and appreciate his ability to look at all sides of an issue and think critically about a solution. He is also a man with deep integrity and a strong sense of public service,” he continued.

Faculty director Patty Limerick will moderate the discussion.

“The bad news is also the good news that this series is even more desperately needed than it was in December of 2019, and I think it was pretty darn needed then,” Limerick said. “I think the need for it is significantly greater.”

The series’ first discussion was between former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-Colo) and former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo), which Limerick said was well-received by attendees.

Limerick said she plans to continue the series beyond the events that are currently scheduled, which include a May 10 discussion between U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and a May 21 discussion between former U.S. Reps. David Skaggs (D-Colo.) and Scott McInnis (R-Colo.)