Creating Spaces for Dialogue – A Role for Civil Society

This manuscript is published by Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) as part of a new GPPAC Dialogue and Mediation series. The stories presented in the book are authored by GPPAC network members who initiated a conversation between communities and societies polarised and divided as a result of conflict. Each story shows how civil society plays a vital role in rebuilding trust and enabling collaborations.

The authors describe how the dialogue processes unfolded, and share resulting lessons and observations. They also present their views on the questions that need to be addressed in designing a meaningful process. Is there such a thing as the most opportune moment to initiate a dialogue? Who should introduce the process? How is the process of participant selection approached, and what are the patterns of relationship transformation? Lastly, what follows once confidence and trust have been established?

The stories include civil society contributions to normalising inter-state relations between the US and Cuba, and Russia and Georgia and chronicles of community dialogues between Serbians and Albanians in Serbia and Kosovo, and Christians and Muslims in Indonesia.

Fostering Dialogue Across Divides

This 183-page pdf from the Public Conversations Project (PCP) provides their definitive guide to conducting successful dialogues on the most heated topics. The guide is based on PCP’s experiences working in many different settings and on a wide range of topics, including abortion, foresting practices, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sexual orientation and the teachings of Christian scripture, the war in Iraq, interfaith and interethnic relations, and social class differences.

Chapters 1 and 2 provide an overview of PCP’s ways of thinking about dialogue and their core principles and practices. In Chapters 3 through 6, they offer specific advice on each phase in the dialogue process. And in Appendices A through C, they present detailed sample formats, questions, invitations, and handouts that exemplify the principles and practices described in the body of the document.

Note: This guide is also available in spanish via

Leading a Workshop on Conflict Management for Teaching Assistants

Article Abstract: The aim of this article is to share a conflict management workshop that the authors developed to train teaching assistants to proactively manage conflict, achieve productive results for conflict, and establish a climate of trust in which relationships beneficial to learning can flourish. The article begins by defining an approach to conflict management and explaining the rationale behind the workshop. A detailed plan of the workshop is then presented. Finally, results are reported of a “before the workshop” and “after the workshop” survey from two recent groups of workshop participants that shows improved perceived ability to deal effectively with conflict.

The Zone – Online Conflict Learning Module for Youth by Aik Saath

An interactive online learning module focusing on conflict and conflict resolution for young people of diverse backgrounds. Topics include the roots, the conflict, the effects and the resolution. Illustrated with animated storyboards and roll-over graphics.

Civil Discourse in the Classrooom

This 23-page pdf curriculum “will introduce educators to basic tools for teaching civil discourse. It is not subject-specific; on the contrary, the tools of argumentation and discussion lend themselves to any subject in any classroom. Although it is primarily designed for young adolescents, the curriculum can be adapted for students of any age.”

Continuum of [restorative justice] strategies

1-page PDF chart illustrating a continuum of restorative justice strategies, with an informal end where staff are provided with skills of how to engage young people in a dialogue that emphasises a greater sense of other and a more formal end with skills to restore damaged relationships following an incident or outburst.

40 cases: Restorative justice and victim-offender mediation

86-page book in PDF format which, “provides a diverse range of first hand accounts from mediators and facilitators offering some means of communication between victims and offenders. Through the authentic voices of practitioners, the cases unfold to reveal how communication was facilitated and the outcomes that followed. This publication aims to provide practitioners, policy makers and interested professionals with:
– Opportunities to compare practice
– An examination of the appropriateness of offering access to Restorative Justice
– An understanding of the subtleties of facilitated victim-offender communication
– An opportunity to see beyond our own preconceptions of victims and offenders
– Clarity and inspiration.”

Challenge to create a safer learning environment for youth, The

83-page PDF report which continues the author’s “exploration of how violence affects learning and my search for effective approaches to support learning for those who have experienced violence … I sought to learn more about how violence affects learning by interviewing young people who are currently struggling with learning, either within or outside the school system. I wanted to explore how responses to trauma support or limit learning possibilities by interviewing young people and professionals engaged in the school system and in other education for youth.”

Exploring emotional literacy through visual the arts: With embedded literacy and numeracy skills

21-page PDF document created to “enable staff who are not Arts practitioners to carry out this [art based] work. They are designed as individual projects but can equally be extended into small group activities … The aim is to encourage the young person to express visually emotions that are difficult to articulate verbally.” Projects include: Making masks (expressing feelings using facial expressions); Abstract art (expressing feelings using colors and shapes); Designing a chair (expressing how I feel about myself); Creating a book (expressing how I feel, exploring what I know about an issue in my life); and Drawing a neighborhood map (exploring safe and unsafe areas where I live).

Reaching across boundaries: Talk to create change

21-page pdf handbook which, “shows you how to conduct Mix It Up Dialogues. In the dialogues, participants will have honest discussions about social boundaries, and they will plan action projects that help cross those boundaries … Mix It Up Dialogues aren’t just about talking, however. They’re also about taking action — changing personal behaviors that may hurt or exclude others and engaging in collective projects to improve school climate.”

Mixitup: 2008-2009 planner

50-page pdf document, “designed for teachers, counselors, students, administrators and others looking for activities and ideas to organize Mix It Up at Lunch Day, reduce social boundaries at school and promote an inclusive learning environment for all students. It includes lesson plans for early, middle and upper grades based on content standards and can easily be adapted for use in school clubs. For additional activity ideas, online polls and essay prompts, visit”

Global education guidelines: A handbook for educators to understand and implement global education

85-page pdf handbook “written on the premise that educational processes in formal and non-formal settings should open the path to a better understanding of an increasingly globalised world. It also raises important issues about the professional responsibilities of educators and teachers and the role of schools and different organisations and institutions in raising global awareness and knowledge on worldwide issues across the curriculum and in non-formal projects and activities … this document should be regarded as a guide for understanding and practising global education, also as a pedagogical coaching tool to help establish global education approaches where they do not yet exist and enrich existing ones. Its content was set up taking into account in-field practices and references and cultural, geographic, social and economic realities.”

A Comparison of Two Models Used to Predict Student Strategy Choice for Classroom Conflicts

Although the topic of conflict has received much attention in communication literature, the topic of conflicts between students and teachers has not. The purpose of this dissertation was twofold: to examine what classroom conflicts exist between students and teachers, and to determine which of two existing model best predicts conflict strategy choices for students. In communication literature, there is a divide in how conflict resolution is examined. Some researchers do so using communication predispositions such as argumentativeness, verbal aggressiveness, communication anxiety, and communication competence as a basis for predicting conflict strategies. Other researchers predict strategies from the perspective of attributions made in conflict episodes. In this research, two studies were conducted. First, 710 students were asked to identify conflicts they had experienced with classroom teachers. These conflicts were coded and categories of classroom conflicts emerged around the themes of class/work conflicts and teacher personality conflicts. From these responses, a new instrument for studying conflict, the Student-Teacher Conflict Index, was developed. In the second study, 171 students were presented with the new index which contained several hypothetical classroom conflicts. The students were asked to identify how they would respond in each situation. Discriminant analyses were conducted to determine whether a communication predisposition model or an attributional model best predicted students’ strategy choices. A mixed model was determined to best predict strategies with the trait of verbal aggressiveness, and attributions of responsibility, stability, and personal control being the strongest predictors. Additionally, it was determined that strategy choice seemed to influence channel selection: More students who chose distributive strategies selected mediated channels to communicate than did students who chose integrative strategies. Most of the hypotheses involving communication predispositions and strategy choice were supported, while the hypotheses involving attributions and strategy choice were not. These results were interpreted and discussed. Following this, suggestions for future research are proposed. Examining teachers’ approaches to conflict, or examining the affect of culture on classroom conflict are two examples of ways that this research could be developed further.

UNESCO: Mainstreaming the culture of peace

26-page pdf created by UNESCO which “defined the Culture of Peace as consisting of values, attitudes and behaviours that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by addressing their root causes with a view to solving problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations. The 1999 United Nations Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (resolution A/53/243) called gor everyone – governments, civil dociety, the media, parents, teachers, politicians, scientists, artists, NGOs and the entire United Nations system – to assume responsibility in this respect. It staked out eight action areas for actors at national, regional and international levels:” Those 8 action areas are: Fostering a culture of peace through education; Promoting sustainable economic and social development; Promoting respect for all human rights; Ensuring equality between women and men; Fostering democratic participation; Advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity; Supporting participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge and Promoting international peace and security.