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PCP Helps Organize Conversation About The Mystery of Love

The Public Conversations Project (PCP) is a national ally of a nationwide effort that uses the documentary, The Mystery of Love, as a springboard for conversations about the many different kinds of love in our lives. Narrated by Anna Deveare Smith, the film tells stories of marriage, family, friendship, divine love, altruistic love, brotherly love, the love between parents and children, and love of community. For more information about the broadcast and associated community engagement activities organized by Active Voice, visit www.themysteryoflove.org. In conjunction with the project, PCP has added a format for dialogue about violence prevention a to their guide to community dialogue, Constructive Conversations About Challenging Times.

PCP developed their guide after 9/11/01. It was designed to assist people in convening single-session “living room” or “community” dialogues about the challenges we faced related to security and global relations. Appendix I offers a format for use with the “Brotherly Love segment” of The Mystery of Love. This segment introduces the viewer to the father of a murdered young man and the grandfather of his murderer. These men have become brothers in the cause of reducing violence. The sample format is well suited for use in communities that have struggled to reduce violence.

The new appendix also offers the sample format that PCP developed for The Islam Project–Boston (2002-2003), a collaboration with Active Voice that utilized clips from the film Mohammed: Legacy of a Prophet as a catalyst for
interfaith dialogue. This format was developed and field-tested in several settings in the aftermath of 9/11. We include it in our updated guide because dialogues between Muslims and non-Muslims continue to be crucial for prejudice reduction and mutual understanding. For more information about the Islam Project, see www.publicconversations.org and www.theislamproject.org.

PCP have also recently added sample questions about the Red-Blue Divide in the US (Appendix H) and a new section (Appendix I) on using video or other presentations as a common stimulus at the beginning of a dialogue. The expanded guide is available for download from their website (www.publicconversations.org).

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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