The Public Conversations Project (www.publicconversations.org) 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
FIRST QUESTION OPTIONS
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?
SECOND QUESTION OPTIONS
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)?