Dialogue provides an opportunity sorely lacking in modern society – a chance to speak about things we value most and be understood.Without debating, without convincing. The sole purpose is to understand.

Because when we do this, it begins to open minds. People have a little more reason to trust each other. A bit more reason to consider each other’s ideas. More ability to give up stereotypes and opposition for opposition’s sake. We stop and think of the other person as a human being with legitimate motives, even as we disagree with their ideas. And this can open up new worlds.

Facilitated dialogue can provide an entry to productive discussions when there are tough corporate decisions ahead. It can generate tremendous learning among constituencies that have never sat together. It can help opponents on an issue agree to pursue vigorous advocacy nonviolently. And dialogue can help people form the conviction to begin the long, hard work toward coexistence.

Collaboration Specialists works with other dialogue experts to foster this understanding in companies, professional communities, and communities destroyed by war. We have designed and led dialogues -- and taught colleagues to facilitate them – in interdisciplinary health care groups in the US and Canada, in areas plagued by violent interfaith disputes in Nigeria, and in communities fractured by civil war in Liberia.


As we come to the dialogues, we discuss, people say what’s on their minds and after that, hear the views of others. As we share our views about things, then we get understanding. Because you didn’t know my mind, I didn’t know your mind and I wouldn’t give you a chance to really say your mind. Because you’re not saying your mind with peace. Before, when I express something, because I think you got something against me, so when I want to express myself, I would say it harshly, with frustration. At the end of the day, we end up with confusion. I believe [the improved communication] is because of the dialogue as we are coming here and learning how to handle each other.

- Kema Freeman, resident, Gbah, Liberia