The 188-page guide, Fostering Dialogue Across Divides: A Nuts and Bolts Guide, was written by Maggie Herzig and Laura Chasin and published in 2006.
For years, Essential Partners (formerly the Public Conversations Project) has set the standard for facilitation materials and training in the dialogue and deliberation field. This guide is chock-full of EP’s road-tested techniques for effectively engaging people across differences–is an invaluable resource for both established dialogue facilitators and newcomers to this work.
The guide is available for free download on EP’s website here.
From Essential Partners…
This guide shares some of what we and our colleagues at Essential Partners have learned grappling with this question during the past fifteen years. The text offers general advice as well as very specific nuts and bolts tips for those who wish to convene, plan, and facilitate constructive conversations on deeply divisive issues. What we offer in these pages is based on our experiences working in many different settings and on a wide range of topics, including abortion, foresting practices, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sexual orientation and the teachings of Christian scripture, the war in Iraq, interfaith and interethnic relations, and social class differences.
From the Introduction
Dialogue participants talk in ways that serve such purposes, communicating their views, experiences and values without attacking their opponents personally or “trashing” opposing perspectives. Dialogue participants talk about the experiences and values underlying their own views. They ask real questions. They avoid interruptions. They listen.
The need for dialogue in our public life is less well understood than the need for debate and activism. In history and civics classes in the US, debate and political activism are presented as time-honored tools in the toolbox of democracy, and rightly so. It was largely through these forms of public engagement that slavery and segregation were ended, women and African Americans got the vote, and the war in Vietnam was ended sooner rather than later.
Dialogue has a vital, if quieter, role to play in a resilient and civil democratic society. It can build bridges across divides in the body politic. It can promote healing in small communities that are struggling with a controversy. It can also reduce the likelihood of gridlock in the halls of Congress, hatred in the arena of public opinion, and potentially dangerous misrepresentations in our sound-bite saturated media.
This is an excerpt from the guide, you can find it in full on the Essential Partners’ site here.
About Essential Partners
Essential Partners helps civic groups, faith communities, colleges, and organizations build resilience, cohesion, and trust across deep divides of values, beliefs, and identities. EP’s trademark methodology helps communities and institutions have healthier, more complex, more inclusive conversations about polarizing differences of values, beliefs, and identities—whether the issue is building a new public school in Ohio or addressing the global refugee crisis in Jordan.
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Resource Link: https://whatisessential.org/fostering-dialogue-across-divides-download