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Strategies for Integrating Dialogue With Community Action

How can intergroup dialogue organizers integrate talk with action more effectively, without damaging the dialogue process itself by focusing too much on action or ending the dialogue too soon? Heierbacher’s Master’s thesis for the School for International Training tackles this important question. For this research, leaders of race dialogue programs were interviewed, materials in the fields of conflict resolution, community building, and social change were examined, and an in-depth study of existing dialogue materials and resources was conducted to answer this question. The end result? A set of strategies which can help dialogue organizers enable their participants to take more effective action in their communities.

Although the research focused on intergroup dialogues on race, people who organize or facilitate dialogues which tackle other important issues can also benefit from the information in this paper.

Heierbacher’s thesis was simplified somewhat and broken down into six sections for the web. This document brings those sections back together into one document.

The nine Strategies For Integrating Dialogue With Action include…

  1. Make action a clear goal from the start.
  2. Plan for action.
  3. Involve the right people.
  4. Share ownership of the program.
  5. Retain the dialogue method and principles.
  6. Communicate within the group, and within your local community.
  7. Treat your dialogue effort as an organization.
  8. Recognize those who deserve it.
  9. Train participants in social change methods.

Sandy Heierbacher
Master’s thesis, School for International Training (Brattleboro, VT) (1999)

Resource Link: www.ncdd.org/exchange/files/docs/Integrating_Dialogue_With_Action.doc

Freely downloadable from the NCDD website.

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