intergroup relations

Intergroup Dialogue National Institute, June 16-19, 2010    

NCDD member Adrienne Dessel has asked us to invite all NCDD members to the Intergroup Dialogue National Institute from June 16-19, 2010 at the Four Points Sheraton hotel in Ann Arbor, Michigan, hosted by the University of Michigan’s Program on Intergroup Relations. The Institute is designed for faculty and staff who are interested in expanding and assessing intergroup dialogue programs already in place or are interested in starting one at their institutions. We hope that you and/or others from your institution or program can participate in the upcoming institute. The goals of the Institute are to:

  • Participate in engaging activities commonly used in intergroup dialogue settings
  • Explore the overall dialogue framework and The Michigan Model
  • Strategize the development and support of academic and co-curricular programs

While we will engage in interactive activities, the purpose of this Institute is to demonstrate the curriculum and structure of intergroup dialogue. Facilitator and “train the trainer” workshops are not included as part of this Institute.

In addition to the Institute, we will be offering a pre-Institute workshop focusing on religion dialogues. This workshop is recommended for campuses considering focusing on this specific dialogue topic area. It is also recommended for those campuses with a religious base and/or campuses that are currently experiencing tension between academia and faith perspectives.  The pre-Institute workshop is free to registered Institute participants and will include the following highlights:

  • A keynote speaker who will discuss interfaith issues and dialogues
  • A panel of diverse, local interfaith leaders engaged in interfaith dialogue
  • Exposure to various experiential activities unique to religion dialogues

When you register, you will have the option to register for the pre-Institute workshop as well.

Registration, as well as, housing information can be found at  More information about the national institute is available at

$10,000 Stowe Prize: Call for Nominations    

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Connecticut, will inaugurate the Stowe Prize(tm) in 2011.  The Stowe Prize is a $10,000 biennial award to an individual from the United States whose written work embodies the tradition and impact of Stowe’s most famous work, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by making a tangible impact on a social justice issue critical to contemporary society.

Submissions must be postmarked by June 1, 2010.  The Stowe Prize winner will be announced in March 2011, with an award ceremony in June 2011. (more…)

Deconstructing Diversity (re-posted from Orton Family Foundation blog)    

Ariana McBride, Senior Associate at the Orton Family Foundation, is a member of NCDD and gave me the okay to re-post this fantastic blog post from Foundation’s Cornerstones blog. See the original post here, and check out the Foundation’s blog here.

Deconstructing Diversity

Published by Rebecca Sanborn Stone on February 4, 2010 | Add comment to original blog post

In Millbridge, Maine, a local non-profit won federal funding to build housing for immigrant laborers. But local residents circled a petition and approved a moratorium on multifamily housing in order to keep immigrants out.

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In Brooklyn, New York this fall, a local Hasidic community objected to safety issues and immodest clothing among cyclists on its neighborhood bike lanes. The Department of Transportation sandblasted the lanes—which guerrilla bicycle activists promptly painted back on.

And in Katy, Texas, when a local Muslim community purchased a piece of land and planned to build a mosque and school, one citizen responded by running pig races next door on Friday evenings, the holiest day of the week for Muslims (see Jon Stewart’s coverage on The Daily Show).

It’s easy to brand these all as examples of intolerance, NIMBYism or downright racism. In our politically correct and increasingly diverse culture, the socially acceptable stance is that diversity is an unqualified good. But in the reams of sociological research on diversity and its impacts on communities, the findings are much fuzzier. In a controversial 2007 study, Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, found overwhelming evidence that diversity corrodes social capital, community cohesiveness and trust—not only between ethnic groups, but within them. (more…)

Program Director Opening at Everyday Democracy    

A national leader in the field of civic participation and community change, Everyday Democracy (based in Hartford, Connecticut) helps people of different backgrounds and views talk and work together to solve problems and create communities that work for everyone.

Using innovative, participatory approaches, Everyday Democracy works with neighborhoods, cities and towns, regions, and states. We place particular emphasis on the connection between complex public issues and structural racism. These issues include, but are not limited to: poverty and economic development; education reform; racial equity; early childhood development; police-community relations; youth and neighborhood concerns.

Everyday Democracy is an equal opportunity employer committed to practicing diversity and inclusion. We seek a Program Director to join our Community Assistance team. (more…)

Repost: Transpartisan Town Hall, Fresno, CA    

Joseph McCormick posted this today to the Transpartisan Alliance’s social network. (You can join the TA network here.)  I thought some of you would be interested…

The other night about 35 people in Fresno got together at “the big red church” to talk about Ending the Political Un-Civil War. They were real estate brokers, retirees, non-profit leaders, former senior business executives, conservative columnists and politicos from the left and right. The purpose of the evening was to engage this group of community thought leaders and networkers in the possibility of a new way to going about politics. A way that moves beyond traditional dualities and fixed positions by applying proven techniques of dialogue, deliberation, and conflict resolution.

Invitations for the evening went to all sides and was promoted on Alan Autry’s conservative radio show, but to be honest those who showed up tended to be more progressive. In the future transpartisan events will be coordinated with groups like the local Tea Party (which had a concurrent event that night) so that, ideally, participation is approximately a third progressive, a third conservative, and a third independent or unaligned. (more…)

Free bulk issues of Yes Mag’s Purple America issue    

Here is a great offer from my friend Susan Gleason at Yes! magazine.  These free issues are great for distributing at conferences, trainings events, at exhibit booths, etc.

YES! Magazine has a long commitment to the innovations of the dialogue and deliberation movement.  Many of you saw copies of the Fall 2008 issue, Purple America, at last year’s NCDD conference, featuring a set of stories about “Conversations Across the Divide.”  These inspiring stories illustrate how Americans can engage each other in what are often viewed as difficult or highly polarized conversations: an urban environmental activist finds common ground with her rural farmer father; LGBT youth activists initiate conversations on a roadtrip to conservative college campuses; neighbors hold living room conversations about immigration on the Night of 1,000 Conversations, and Evangelicals share their passion for the environment and social justice.

Through a donor-supported program, YES! is making copies of the Purple America issue, containing these stories and more, available to NCDD members in bulk quantities, completely free of charge (international shipping excepted). To request bulk copies (packaged 50 to a box) of the Purple America issue, please contact Susan Gleason, Media & Outreach Manager, at [email protected].  Yes! takes care of the shipping charges as well.

The full issue is online at if you’d like to check it out before deciding.

Re-Post: Model Dialogue Coverage on the Oregonian Website    

Restorative Listening Project Online Coverage

I decided to repost this NCDD blog post from April 2008. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can tell our stories about dialogue and deliberation in compelling ways, and the amazing coverage on the Oregonian website Judith Mowry got for her work came to mind.  This unique, engaging, inspiring media coverage featuring audio recordings of dialogue participants in a Portland dialogue program on gentrification is still online, and any of you who haven’t checked it out should do so. It’s just too cool!

You can also revisit the May 28, 2008 article about the Restorative Listening Project in the New York Times (yep – I said the New York Times!), also still online.

Original April 17, 2008 post in the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation blog…

NCDD member Judith Mowry runs a Restorative Listening Project in Portland, Oregon that uses dialogue, storytelling and restorative justice to engage the city in race dialogue. Some amazing press coverage went up today on the Oregonian website which highlights the project using articles, a multimedia website and beginning a year long community wide dialogue. Check it out at

Mowry, now with the city Office of Neighborhood Involvement, designed the project from her background in restorative justice, which aims to mend harm by inviting the sufferer to describe the harm, revealing, for both sides, their shared humanity. “The one who strikes the blow doesn’t know the force of the blow,” Mowry says. “Only the one who has received the blow knows its force.”

I love one page of this web coverage in particular, and the image on the right shows you what the page looks like. The page allows you to click on the faces of dialogue participants and then listen to audio of them talking about what race and gentrification means to them (I clicked on Judith’s name so her image and audio is the one highlighted). It’s an amazing example of how to cover dialogue in the local press using new media.

Be sure to also read the accompanying article by Erin Hoover Barnett, called “Speak. Listen. Heal.” and the column by S. Renee Mitchell titled “A successful crossing of the racial divide.”

Amy Lazarus Named SDSN’s First Executive Director    

AmyLazarusThe Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (SDCN) recently announced that Amy Lazarus has been selected from a strong pool of candidates to serve as their first Executive Director. SDCN trains, mentors, & connects student leaders using dialogue to ease social tensions on campuses nationwide. SDCN is a project of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue (an NCDD organizational member), headquartered in Washington DC and founded by Dr. Harold Saunders in 2002. IISD seeks to promote the process of sustained dialogue for transforming racial, ethnic, and other deep-rooted conflicts in the United States and abroad, and has programs on 15 campuses across the country.

As the first SDCN Executive Director, Amy will lead SDCN as it pursues new partnerships and growth. She will work with SDCN’s team, which includes Deputy Executive Directors Christina Kelleher and Chris Wagner and Program Directors Rhonda Fitzgerald and LaTia Walker.  See the full announcement at

10% NCDD Discount for National MultiCultural Institute Conference    

In our continuing efforts to reach new audiences and provide greater benefits to our members, NCDD has been strengthening its relationship to the longstanding National MultiCultural Institute. NMCI is welcoming NCDD members with open arms to its 2009 annual conference/training event, offering a 10% discount to dues-paying NCDD members on its Diversity Leadership Institute and Emerging Issues Forum. Depending on what you are interested in attending, that’s a savings of up to $97 for nonprofits and individuals, or $145 for corporate attendees.

NMCI’s 2009 conference, “Forging New Pathways for Diversity and Inclusion: Building Skills for Collaboration and Dialogue,” takes place November 18-21 at the Marriott Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. If you are interested in professional development and dialogue on cutting-edge diversity and inclusion issues, the NMCI conference is for you. NCDD is an official sponsor of the conference.

Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD’s Director, helped design and organize the innovative Emerging Issues Forum on November 18th, a day-long event designed to convene engage leaders from different sectors and disciplines in thoughtful dialogue on controversial diversity and equity issues they face in their organizations, communities, and greater society. NCDD members David Campt and Leilani Henry will help this session succeed, using electronic keypads and Playback Theatre techniques (respectively) to enable top thought leaders in diversity and inclusion to identify and explore the major challenges they face, now and in the future, in achieving their goals of a truly equitable and inclusive society.

Learn more about NMCI and this year’s training program at or download the PDF program at

Inroads Made in Mormon-Evangelical Relations    

Thanks to my Google news alerts, I spotted an article that appeared in Salt Lake City’s Deseret News on Friday, September 4th. Those of you who attended the 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation in Austin may remember Reverend Greg Johnson. I found him to be extremely personable, and was inspired (to say the least) by his workshop with Jacob Hess called “Attracting Conservative Citizens to Dialogue Events: Liberal-Conservative Campus Dialogue & Mormon-Evangelical Interfaith Initiatives.” (Look over a great summary of the workshop here.)

Rev. Johnson is continuing his groundbreaking work bridging Evangelical Christian and Latter-day Saint faith leaders, and his latest accomplishment is outlined in the article by Carrie A. Moore, titled “Evangelicals plan Salt Lake meeting in ‘11.” Look over the article, and be sure to also check out the video at in which Rev. Johnson and Dr. Robert Millet discuss the importance of real dialogue between the Evangelical & Latter-day Saint faith. (more…)

RFP from Kellogg Foundation for Community-Based Racial Healing Efforts    

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has announced a new grant opportunity as part of its commitment to becoming an effective, anti-racist organization that promotes racial equity.

This grant opportunity seeks to strengthen and bolster community-based approaches for racial healing and equity efforts targeting vulnerable and marginalized children. The foundation defines racial healing as “group efforts to acknowledge the wrongs and group suffering of the past while trying to address the cumulative and current consequences of the past injustices.”

The foundation seeks proposals from community-based organizations that foster racial healing. To be considered for funding, the organization must be working to promote racial healing within and between racial and ethnic groups within specific geographic areas. National programs that have projects within local communities may also be considered.

To be eligible to receive a grant, applicants must be public entities or nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations that demonstrate the fiscal capacity to manage the funds. The Kellogg Foundation anticipates awarding grants of up to $400,000 each. The complete Request for Proposals, including examples of eligible projects, is available at the Kellogg Foundation website at  Proposals must be submitted online no later than September 30, 2009.

Sustained Dialogue Campus Network Seeks Executive Director    

The Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (SDCN) trains, mentors, and connects students on 15 campuses across the country seeking to build more cohesive, diverse, engaged communities through dialogue. An initiative of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue, SDCN seeks an Executive Director to lead its expansion nationally and to deepen its work in leveraging the efforts of student leaders to improve campus climates and build social capital nationwide.

The Executive Director will exercise leadership in defining SDCN strategic directions, broaden SDCN’s funding base, and build and strengthen relationships with partner organizations. The ED will support a 4-person staff and work to build SDCN’s recently formed Advisory Board. At this time of remarkable national energy around civic engagement and citizen-led community building work, we are incredibly excited about our potential to recruit a fantastic leader, to help take SDCN to the next level.

For full job description, visit

“Free Minds, Free People” Coming up in Houston    

We got a message today from Tara Mack at the Education for Liberation Network. She reminded us that there are only two weeks to go before Free Minds, Free People, the national conference on social justice education.

Free Minds, Free People is a national conference that brings together teachers, high school and college students, researchers, parents and community-based activists/educators from across the country to build a movement to develop and promote Education for Liberation. The goal of the conference is to provide a forum for sharing knowledge, experiences and strategies to help students understand and challenge the injustices their communities face.

The conference will take place June 25-28 in Houston, Texas. Visit for more info or to register.

Pope Questions Interfaith Dialogue    

NCDD member Martin Rutte just sent me a copy of this fascinating New York Times article, which reports that the Pope has written that “an inter-religious dialogue in the strict sense of the word is not possible…without putting one’s faith in parentheses.”  I’m honestly not clear on what the Pope means by “putting one’s faith in parentheses,” but it reminds me of several conversations we had during the conference planning process for NCDD Austin.  When we talked about organizing an interfaith dialogue among local religious leaders, some of the concerns expressed by representatives of different faiths who had experienced interfaith dialogue were that (1) we don’t want yet another Hummus Dialogue (“gee – we all like hummus!”) and (2) we don’t want a safe, contrived, self-congratulatory conversation that doesn’t get into any depth about the issues.  These two statements seemed to typify what they had experienced in interfaith dialogues before.

And while planning our panel of conservatives (which ended up being the best-reviewed and most appreciated session at NCDD Austin), one of our conservative friends expressed how for a long time he had felt like dialogue demanded that he “check his convictions at the door” in order to have an open mind and let go of assumptions. He explained that people who believe in absolute truths — including people with strong religious faith — can feel very threatened by the idea of open dialogue. Perhaps this is what the Pope was referring to.

Check out the article below, and please leave a comment to let us know what you think. What do YOU think the Pope meant by “putting one’s faith in parentheses”? And if you disagree with his statements about interfaith dialogue, how would you respond to someone who makes these statements?

Pope Questions Interfaith Dialogue

Published: November 23, 2008 New York Times

ROME — In comments that could have broad implications in a period of intense inter-religious conflict, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday cast doubt on the possibility of interfaith dialogue but called for more discussion of the practical consequences of religious differences.

The pope’s comments were from a letter he wrote to Marcello Pera, an Italian center-right politician and scholar whose forthcoming book, “Why We Must Call Ourselves Christian,” argues that Europe should stay true to its liberal, Christian roots. A central theme of Benedict’s papacy has been to focus attention on the Christian roots of an increasingly secular Europe.

In comments from the letter that appeared on Sunday in Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading daily, the pope said the book “explained with great clarity” that “an inter-religious dialogue in the strict sense of the word is not possible.” In theological terms, he added, “a true dialogue is not possible without putting one’s faith in parentheses.”

But Benedict added that “intercultural dialogue which deepens the cultural consequences of basic religious ideas” was important. He called for confronting “in a public forum the cultural consequences of basic religious decisions.”

The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the pope’s comments seemed intended to draw interest for Mr. Pera’s book, not to cast doubt on the Vatican’s many continuing inter-religious dialogues. (more…)

“Engaging the Other” Conference Coming up in San Mateo, CA    

Engaging the Other bannerThe 3rd Annual International Conference on “ENGAGING THE OTHER:” The Power of Compassion will take place September 4-7, 2008 in San Francisco (San Mateo), California, USA. This international, multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary conference examines concepts of “The OTHER” from a universal, cross-cultural perspective to promote wider public dialogue about concepts of “Us and Them.”

NCDD is an official endorsing organization of this important conference.

This extraordinary conference will address the roots of fear-based belief systems and stereotypes, prejudice, polarization, enemy images, and artificial barriers of misunderstanding and distrust that divide us. Join an international list of over 60 presenters and visionaries, and hundreds of concerned individuals, to engage in 3 1/2 days of workshops, roundtables, and focused, facilitated dialogue bridging the divide and cultivating our capacity for reconciliation, appreciation of diversity, and peace.

Registration is open to professionals as well as the general public, and continuing educational credits are available. The conference is sponsored by the Common Bond Institute and is Co-Sponsored by the International Humanistic Psychology Association, Institute of Imaginal Studies and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. It is also supported by a growing international list of over 90 organizations and universities. (more…)

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