Sustained Dialogue

Dialogue is a process of genuine interaction through which human beings listen to each other deeply enough to be changed by what they learn. Each makes a serious effort to take other’s concerns into their own picture, even when disagreement persists. No participant gives up their identity, but each recognizes enough of the other’s valid human claims so that they will act differently toward the other.

—Dr. Harold Saunders, Founder of Sustained Dialogue Institute

Sustained Dialogue is a program that brings together people of different identities to talk about the way that they experience our campus and the world. Groups of eight to ten individuals are led by two moderators in an exploration of themselves, others within the group, and the way that structures operate in ways that privilege some identities over others.

Through the communication skills and relationship-building that happens in the first weeks of a Sustained Dialogue group, participants invest in each other and determine a shared investment in an issue or topic on campus. The moderators lead the group in work toward identifying the root causes behind a problem that exists within the campus community by breaking down the reasons behind that problem.

Groups are empowered to move forward on an action plan that addresses the root cause of the identified problem; through informed action planning, members of the group can collectively work toward the problem by creating change directed toward one (or some) of the problem’s causes.

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