Dialogue

 


The term "dialogue" can be used in many different ways, ranging from a very formal, structured process to an informal give-and-take of ideas. Both views are represented in the comments below, although many come from Public Conversations Project facilitators, who follow a very formal, structured process to address highly-emotional and intractable issues, such as abortion.

Uses and Benefits of Dialogue

Tamra d'Estrée explains how she finds the personal healing that occurs in some dialogues to be particularly inspiring.
Indira Kajosevic talks about dialogue as a way to heal trauma.
Mark Gerzon talks about the empathy and humanization that emerged during the Congressional civility retreats.
Peter Coleman describes an abortion dialogue in which the parties came to respect each other and protect one another, but they were still very polarized on the abortion issue.
Robert Stains discusses the power of storytelling and dialogue.
Robert Stains describes dialogue as a way to enrich parties' narratives about conflict.

Taking Dialogue to a Higher Level

Mary Anderson describes how one "scales up" interventions from the personal level of dialogues to the institutional, structural, and societal level.
Andrea Strimling, Commissioner, International ADR, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, describes a workshop with some Green Berets and saw the opportunity for deeper dialogue with the conflict resolution field.
Máire Dugan talks about moving from the transformation of dialogue participants to broader social change.
Laura Chasin describes dialogue as a local initiative that has had a far-reaching social impact.

Preparing for Dialogues

Sallyann Roth describes the questions posed to dialogue participants before the process begins.
Sallyann Roth recommends using participants' questions as a way to identify their common interests.
Laura Chasin talks about using interviews with participants to improve the quality of dialogue groups.
Robert Stains talks about creating safe spaces for dialogue.
Laura Chasin talks about using feedback from participants to improve the design of dialogue groups.
Terrence Lyons talks about the roles that diaspora populations can play both as spoilers and as dialogue participants.

Dialogue Facilitation

Robert Stains talks about the personal skills that dialogue practitioners need.
Robert Stains of the Public Conversations Project gives advice for dialogue practitioners.
Laura Chasin recommends that dialogue groups adopt concrete ground rules.
Laura Chasin recommends that dialogue facilitators be honest about their own views rather than claiming to be neutral.
Laura Chasin recommends that the first phases of dialogue proceed in a highly structured fashion.
Louise Diamond talks about creating safe spaces for communication.
Sallyann Roth describes the "Focused Pause" technique as a useful tool for dialogue facilitators.
Máire Dugan talks about how dialogue practitioners can create a space that's safe enough for participants to develop new insights.
Robert Stains discusses how to facilitate when you strongly disagree with some or all of the parties in the dialogue.
Sallyann Roth suggests that an effective facilitator will become almost invisible.
Robert Stains recommends that dialogue facilitators try to stay out of the participants' conversation as much as possible.
Civil rights mediator Stephen Thom explains how he helps each side understand the others' perspectives.

Dialogue Training

Sallyann Roth talks about how to make dialogue training collaborative and elicit.

Case Examples

Mark Gerzon explains his facilitation of the U.S. Congressional Retreats.
Louise Diamond talks about her work with dialogue groups in Cyprus.
Máire Dugan discusses her dialogue and envisioning workshops.
Laura Chasin describes a high-profile dialogue on abortion that taught both the parties and the facilitators a lot.
Robert Stains talks about the dialogue groups he facilitated with the the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
Louise Diamond talks about a transformative inter-ethnic dialogue that took place in Bosnia.
Laura Chasin talks about the experience that inspired her to start the Public Conversations Project.
Louis Kriesberg describes the Syracuse Area Middle East Dialogue Group. He discusses how the group got started, how it operates, and what it does for the participants.
Ron Fisher describes Track I-II coordination in Tajikistan.
In the Middle East and other autocracies, it is common for government security people to monitor peacebuilding workshops. Palestinian peacebuilder Mohammed Abu-Nimer explains how he can still run a productive workshop under such circumstances.
Mohammed Abu-Nimer asks what qualities are necessary for interfaith dialogue facilitators?
Mohammed Abu-Nimer sees interfaith dialogue as a sure way to break down stereotypes, establish relationships, and humanize "the other" in intractable conflicts between people of differing faiths.
Mohammed Abu-Nimer suggests that dialogue is more effective if it is done in the context of development activities.
John Katungaof Nairobi Peace Initiative (NPI) describes the challenges of scaling up in village dialogue from individuals to the community level.
John Katungaof Nairobi Peace Initiative (NPI) describes some of the major obstacles to generating dialogue and building peace through examples from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
John Katungaof Nairobi Peace Initiative (NPI) shares some lessons from his experience in facilitating community dialogue in ethnic conflicts in Africa.
John Katungaof Nairobi Peace Initiative (NPI) reveals some 'magic moments' of individual transformations in village dialogue.
John Katungaof Nairobi Peace Initiative (NPI) describes how the organization got involved with religious organizations in generating dialogue to deal with ethnic conflict.
Michelle LeBaron, Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia and Director of UBC's Dispute Resolution Program, recounts a dialogue between pro-choice and pro-life activists.
Michelle LeBaron, Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia and Director of UBC's Dispute Resolution Program, gives an example of getting law students to think in unusual ways.
Susan Dearborn, Director of the Pacific Family Mediation Institute, discusses her work generating dialogue with women with ovarian cancer and the medical community to build understanding and spread information where communication has historically been poor.
Dennis Sandole discusses that dangers of going back to ones own group after attending a cross-group dialogue or meeting.
Andrea Strimling, Commissioner, International ADR, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, advises those entering the field to develop professional networks and to carve out a professional niche, of which there are many available.
Andrea Strimling, Commissioner, International ADR, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, recounts a story from Indonesia in which the pervasiveness of violence necessitates much attention at the grassroots level.
Andrea Strimling, Commissioner, International ADR, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, describes the challenges of funding as an obstacle to her work.
Andrea Strimling, Commissioner, International ADR, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, gives an example from Indonesia related to working with local partners and being sensitive to relationship and dynamics.
Andrea Strimling, Commissioner, International ADR, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, describes teaching a course for young adults in South Africa in which art and music proved a powerful means to create dialogue.
Andrea Strimling, Commissioner, International ADR, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, retells an experience working to build local capacity in Indonesia where dialogue regarding military power was not possible because it did not enter people?s minds to question it.
Stephen Thom talks about a dispute resolution and conflict prevention system that was put into place in a largely African American and Latino school district to work to prevent racial problems before they started.