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Volume 3, Number 1, Oct 2002

Dialogue Toolbox

Institutions of higher education are prone to conflict due to misunderstanding, miscommunication and peoples' inabilities to resolve differences. One organization, the Public Conversations Project (PCP), offers services that can help faculty, staff, administrators and students constructively resolve conflicts. The mission of the Public Conversations Project is to "foster a more inclusive, empathic and collaborative society by promoting constructive conversations and relationships among people who have differing values, world views and perspectives about divisive public issues". In other words, the organization aims to encourage constructive conversations that reach across differences. The PCP achieves its mission of constructive conversations by designing and facilitating dialogues. Members of the organization also train, consult, write and hold workshops.

In addition to direct services, the PCP offers resources on its website. One useful resource is a dialogue tool box. The toolbox is divided into the following sections:

-Premises, Practices, and the Spirit Behind Them
-Distinguishing Debate From Dialogue: A Table

Questions to Ask Before the Dialogue
-Questions to Ask of Those Who Seek to Convene a Dialogue
-Talking with Potential Participants About the Conflict and their Hopes for Dialogue

Designing, Facilitating, and Following up Dialogues
-A Model for An Introductory Dialogue on Abortion
-Common Phases in an Opening Meeting
-Beginning a Dialogue Session: Go-Rounds and Questions
-Sample Ground Rules (Agreements) for Dialogue
-Self-Help Tools for Participators
-Guidelines for Facilitators
-A Sample Protocol for a Follow-up Interview

Other Exercises and Questions for Mulling
-The Exercise on Stereotyping
-Moving Beyond Polarization over Abortion: Steps You Can Take on Your Own
-Thinking about Strains Related to Class Differences
-The Uncertain Path to Dialogue: A Meditation

The tools are free, although the PCP does require users to register and provide feedback.

To find out more about the PCP and its services, visit or call 617-923-1216.
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Page last updated 11/27/2005

A project of Campus Conflict Resolution Resources.
Supported by a FIPSE grant from the US Department of Education
and seed money from the Hewlett Foundation-funded CRInfo project.

Correspondence to CMHE Report
(Attn: Bill Warters)
Campus Conflict Resolution Resources Project
Department of Communication
585 Manoogian Hall
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48201.

Please send comments, bug reports, etc. to the Editor.

© 2000-2005 William C. Warters & WSU, All rights reserved.