One of our primary tools to build better relationships and promote constructive conflict is Transformational Intergroup Dialogue.
What is Transformational Intergroup Dialogue?
Transformational Intergroup Dialogue is a social justice education approach which promotes intergroup cooperation and understanding through dialogue by helping participants address individual, social, and organizational barriers to diversity engagement.
Dialogues offer an opportunity for authentic intergroup engagement by providing a supportive, non-judgmental environment that minimizes shame, humiliation, and guilt and fosters collaborative learning. Intergroup Dialogues, whether implemented in a one-time session, full-day event, house party, or workshop, create effective spaces for learning and authentic engagement across differences based on age, ability, gender, race and ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.
Dialoguing the GFS Way
While this approach is offered throughout the United States, we have made it our own by including important elements of the Quaker roots and philosophy, including an emphasis on reflection and asking queries, or thoughtful deep questions that encourage self-inquiry and discovery.
The concept of Transformational Intergroup Dialogue draws from two successful models for promoting democratic dialogue, action and civic engagement in the context of diversity. These include 1) the Michigan Intergroup Relations Model, a process used by the University of Michigan and universities throughout the United States to promote intergroup dialogue and engagement in higher education and community settings; and 2) Transformational Social Therapy (TST), a process used internationally to promote knowledge sharing and collaborative action involving diverse parties in municipalities, civil society, educational settings, and other public arenas.
Both models are informed by the theory and practice of multicultural citizenship and theory and research on learning and equitable social change in the context of diversity.