Peacemaking through Dialogue

“True peace is not simply the absence of hostilities or the agreement to end violence. True peace requires a change of heart, openness to understanding the life context and suffering of the other, and a willingness to see the humanity in one’s adversary.” ~ Mark S. Umbreit

FLYY’s partner Collective Voices, offers four Peacemaking through Dialogue services:

  1. Peacemaking Circles
  2. Crisis Intervention Training
  3. Conflict Mediation
  4. Leadership Training

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.

Services are for:

  • Families and individuals
  • Incarcerated youth and adults
  • Tribes
  • Businesses – Individuals, team members, managers, non-profits
  • Governments
  • Police Departments
  • Leaders

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.

Peacemaking through Dialogue is useful in the following settings:

  • Community: For communities, coalitions, state agencies, municipalities, and Native American tribes looking for dialogue and increased empathy around local issues, concerns, violence, differing perspectives, and harm.
  • Prisons: For incarcerated youth and adults to learn new methods of handling conflict both inside and upon returning to their communities.
  • Family: For families experiencing conflict, and/or are in need of healing and increased understanding.
  • Workplace: For businesses that seek more effective communication and employee engagement, and are searching for creative solutions to challenges, conflicts, and misunderstandings.
  • Schools: For schools seeking to build a sense of community and belonging, to increase social-emotional learning, and to respond to concerns and harm through a restorative lens.
  • Police Departments: For increased understanding between residents and police officers.
  • Justice Systems: For justice systems looking for an alternative to civil or criminal trial. For repairing the harm to the relationships between offenders and victims, the offenders and the community, and seeking to understand and address the circumstances that contributed to the crime.

How is Peacemaking through Dialogue Useful?

  • It offers a helpful framework. Conflict is normal and it can be a motor of change. For most, conflict makes it difficult to really hear what others are saying, including what their often unspoken needs are. Without proper support, conflict leads to deepening frustration, uneasiness, and outright pain. The lens of Peacemaking through Dialogue addresses and shows the immediate situation, the causes and forces in the conflict (underlying patterns), and the framework with which to handle it.
  • It coaches participants to listen and hear new information and perspectives in attempt to forge a broader understanding.
  • It is both a right and a vital form of social and racial justice to speak and be heard. When people are traumatized, they fight, flight, or freeze. As a result, they often suffer tremendous losses alone – without a place to get support, heal, and in turn be there for others. Our services promote safety and peace.
  • It empowers participants to become better leaders – more influential and skilled at building culturally-relevant relationships, a less reactive, power-based leadership style, and more effective at building trust and connection within the groups that they are leading.
For more information or to begin a needs assessment, please call Jessie Kushner at 608-347-1432 or email her at