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The Public Conversations Project ( suggests that facilitators use their guide "Constructive Conversations about Challenging Times" to conduct conversations about divisive issues with neighbors, colleagues, fellow worshippers, family, and others. Both a Guide to Community Dialogue and a Guide to Family Dialogue are downloadable from their website. Also offered are poignant questions geared specifically to the Iraq conflict and an online forum about the war.

Public Conversations Project: Questions for Iraq Dialogues


1) Can you tell us something about your life experience or current situation that will help us understand your views and concerns about the war in Iraq?

2) What are your views, hopes and fears regarding the war? What is the "heart of the matter for you?


3) Have you experienced any mixed feelings, value conflicts, and/or areas of confusion or uncertainty about the war? If so, please describe.

4) What are the central assumptions and values that underlie your views and uncertainties?

5) What experience or credible information might alter your views, hopes and concerns?

6) Have the war in Iraq and/or the impact of past or anticipated terrorist attacks strained or challenged relationships that matter to you? If so, how?

7) Have you had a constructive conversation about the war with anyone who disagrees with you? If you have, what was the focus of that conversation and what made it possible? If you have not, what internal and/or external barriers have kept you from having such a conversation? What could help you surmount these barriers?

8) Now that the US has attacked Iraq, what are the questions we need to ask ourselves -- as individuals, as members of various groups and organizations, and as citizens? Why do you think these questions are important?

9) What questions could provide a constructive focus for the conversations you want to have with immediate family and friends? With neighbors or colleagues? With activists or politicians? What makes these good questions?

10) What strains or fault lines in your local community are of concern to you at this point? How do you think these divisions will be affected by unfolding events in the Middle East?

11) Where do you see the strongest need for dialogue in your community? How might you help create more opportunities for community dialogue?

12) What actions do you think US leaders should take to keep the war with Iraq from dividing Americans and/or from further estranging the US from its international allies?

13) What specific events or changes have altered your sense of individual, national, and international "security"? In what way do you feel more "secure"? Less "secure"? What are some specific actions our leaders could take that might increase your sense of security at home and abroad?

14) What could the US do regarding Iraq that would make you feel proud to be an American citizen (or to live here)?

Added by Sandy on March 31, 2003 05:03 PM

Some of you might also find PCP's Ground Rules for their online Iraq Dialogue Forum useful. They are:

1. Speak for yourself. Write as "I" rather than "we", "one", "they" etc. Avoid saying what the motives or views of others are.

2. Omit stereotypes and sweeping generalizations -- especially about people who have different views from yours. Omit rhetorical questions.

3. Stay on the subject. Keep your response focused on one or more of the questions within each topic.

4. Address question 1a before addressing the other questions.

5. Agree to have your response posted on the PCP website either with a first name + last initial or a pen name of your choice.

6. Agree to let us trim or make minor edits to your response if it does not conform to the groundrules.

Posted by: Sandy Heierbacher on March 31, 2003 07:42 PM
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This forum was created to provide dialogue & deliberation practitioners with the support, resources and ideas they need for organizing, facilitating and encouraging D&D; during this time of war. Add your comments to existing postings, or send ideas for new postings to [email protected].


Resources on this Forum have been Converted
SCRC Post-War Discussion Materials
Please Use the Links on the Right


Background Info
    Links to Iraq Data
    Public Opinion on the War
    Analysis at
    Public Opinion on Protest & Patriotism
    Terrorism & Nonviolence
    Peace-Oriented Resources

D&D; Guides on Iraq/Foreign Policy
    SCRC Post-War Discussion Materials

D&D; Programs on Iraq
    Art Meets Dialogue in Richmond Event
    Online "Rotisserie" on the War
    Online Deliberation About the War Brings People Together
    By the People: America in the World
    Discussion at
    DWCW Online Forum

Discussion & Exploration
    Resources on this Forum have been Converted
    Please Use the Links on the Right
    Feedback Needed about Iraq Dialogue
    Ideas/Thoughts About This Forum?

Encouraging Youth D&D;
    ESR’s Revised Guide for Parents & Educators
    Univ of Michigan Resources for Teachers
    PoliTalk to Host Online Student Conference
    United Youth Int’l Fosters Online Dialogue
    YouthNOISE Helps Youth Communicate
    Global Kids Conference on War & Peace
    Best & Worst Things to Say to Kids

Opportunities & Ideas
    Conference on Muslim Peace-Building
    Articles Needed on Dialogue
    Blue Buttons Promote Dialogue

Others Encouraging D&D;
    ACR Calls for Dialogue
    Egyptian Intellectual Encourages Dialogue

Tips and Resources for Facilitators
    Resources at Co-Intelligence Inst. Site
    U.S.-Iraqi Youth Dialogue Video
    PCP Dialogue Guide
    Study Circles Discussion Guide
    National Issues Forum Guide
    Overview of Conversation Café Model
    NCDD’s List of D&D; Organizations & Programs
    Introductory Facilitation Resources

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