Transformative Dialogue

Simon Mediation provides Transformative Dialogue to universities, colleges, school systems, hospitals, and other large organizations, in association with Judy Saul, Erik Cleven and the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation.

ABOUT TRANSFORMATIVE DIALOGUE:  

A PARTY-DRIVEN RESPONSE TO COMMUNITY CONFLICT

 

Goal of Transformative Dialogue:

  • To change the nature of conflict interaction in the community, affecting how individuals understand and react to the situations they find themselves in and allowing groups to deal with their differences in constructive and connecting ways.

Transformative Dialogue:

  • Builds on a relational understanding of conflict and on the principles and practices of transformative mediation
  • Allows community members to define the desired outcome of dialogue or, if an outcome is externally imposed, to determine how best to move toward that outcome
  • Leaves decisions about content and structure of the dialogue process to the community
  • Understands that change is needed on many levels and equally values one-on-one conversations, intra-group and inter-group dialogue
  • Works through existing groups and social networks, acknowledging the important role they play in connecting people and helping the changes in conflict interaction happen at the community level as well as at the individual level

Activities:

  • Preparing for Dialogue: discussing the situation with community leaders, training a diverse group of interveners, facilitators and, as appropriate, community representatives in the principles and skills of transformative dialogue, and in ways to monitor and document markers of relational change.
  • Entering the Community: meeting with key community members to understand the situation, the community and its networks, to consider needed changes and to establish a baseline for use in documenting progress.
  • Establishing Relationships: meeting individually and in small groups with representatives from groups and networks to build trust, increase people’s clarity about their situation and determine who people want to talk with and how they want to have conversations.
  • Facilitating Meetings: bringing homogeneous and heterogenous groups together to explore their situation and support them in determining what they want to do about it.  Meetings may extend over several weeks or continue for longer periods with local leaders moving into the role of facilitators, as appropriate.
  • Documenting change: monitoring done by interveners will document changes from the established baseline.  A separate evaluation of the project’s effectiveness can be conducted to determine its impact on the individuals involved and the community, and progress toward meeting defined outcomes.

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