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Fostering Dialogue Across Divides: A Nuts and Bolts Guide from the Public Conversations Project

For years, the Public Conversations Project has set the standard for facilitation materials and training in the dialogue and deliberation field. This guide by Maggie Herzig and Laura Chasin–chock-full of PCP’s road-tested techniques for effectively engaging people across differences–is an invaluable resource for both established dialogue facilitators and newcomers to this work. Downloadable at www.publicconversations.org/docs/resources/Jams_website.pdf as of August 2010.

The Public Conversations Project (PCP) in Watertown, Massachusetts, is a multi-faceted nonprofit organization that provides a distinctive blend of services.  PCP’s offerings include dialogue facilitation; customized and open enrollment trainings; consultation to facilitators, organizations, and networks in conflict; and print resources such as this dialogue guide.

Although PCP specializes in fostering dialogues about polarizing public issues, its methods have been effective in situations characterized by chilly disconnection and suspicious silence as well as in heated and noisy conflicts.

Since its founding in 1989, PCP has worked on a range of divisive issues including abortion, forest management, religious differences, same sex marriage, the use of animals in research, the so-called US red/blue divide, and the conflict in the Middle East.

Resource Link: www.publicconversations.org

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