A dialogue is a process for talking about tension-filled topics. Peacemaking through Dialogue services consist of sessions and workshops that heal relationships and teach skills (dialogue, conflict mediation, and nonviolent responses.) These help create conditions for honest communication, increased understanding, and strengthening relationships across lines of hurt, conflict, division, power dynamics, and varying perspectives. The services are rooted in restorative practices and principles. Restorative spaces allow for real conversations and deep listening to take place.
There are many forces at play that are responsible for the social conditions that increase the likelihood of fear, oppression, trauma, and lack of resources. Experiencing such conditions can quickly lead to anger, hostility, conflict, and emotional and physical violence. What is happening inside of us that disconnects us from our compassionate nature, and what is needed to bring us back to our natural empathetic state?
Words carry power. “Violent” communication simply means using words that can lead to hurt and pain. Learning to speak and listen to what is being said beyond the words – to the underlying feelings and needs of others – can help mend broken relationships and allow for healing. The extent to which people in our society feel excluded and invisible is most evident by the difference it makes when they are truly recognized and heard by others. People must believe that they belong in this world and that they have something to give.
Violent communication is the opposite of dialogue. Violence is an act of disconnection. Dialogue allows people to express themselves and their view of reality, to be heard, and to have their views respected. Violence is protected by silence and silence is a protector of many forms of abuse, violence, family issues, and negative mindsets that hamper people’s ability to overcome challenges and sustain wellness. Peacemaking through Dialogue services offer the possibility of reconnecting, repairing, and breaking the silence.
It is difficult to realize your worth and true potential without the support of a community that stands by you no matter how hard things appear, seem, and are. A functional community is made up of individuals who have the ability to empathize. We define empathy as the act of making an effort to understand the others’ words, feelings, and attitudes. Trying to slow down and put oneself in the others’ shoes. Empathizing is not about agreement; it’s about trying to see and feel the world from another’s viewpoint.
Peacemaking through Dialogue helps to minimize fear, shift judgements and perceptions of difference, and build mutually respectful connections. When people believe they have no “voice” and that no one is listening, they often resort to self-harm and other destructive behaviors as attempts to be heard and seen. A respectful dialogue can mitigate harm and violent communication. Peacemaking ultimately supports human security—where people have freedom from fear, freedom from want, and freedom from humiliation.
The driving force behind our work is showing and teaching people who feel excluded, marginalized, or powerless how to articulate their feelings and needs in ways which are more likely to be heard, and to increase their capacity in being willing to do the same for others.