Iraq Crisis Resources for D&D Leaders
Tips and Resources for Dialogue & Deliberation Facilitators
Study Circles Discussion Materials
The Study Circles Resource Center (www.studycircles.org) offers a high-quality discussion guide to help people sort through the various perspectives and facts surrounding U.S. policy toward Iraq. For a PDF copy of the guide U.S. Policy Toward Iraq: What Should We Do?, go to www.studycircles.org/pdf/iraqsinglesess.pdf.
The National Issues Forums developed an excellent discussion guide for the project By the People: America in the World, a new initiative of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions. The discussion guide, titled "Americans' Role in the World," presents four different perspectives as a way of framing public discussion. Each approach shows a distinctive perspective on what our global priorities should be and what costs and tradeoffs we should be prepared to accept if we move in that direction. Go to www.nifi.org/orders_bypeople.html to download the issue book in its entirety, or to download the moderator guide. You may also call 1-800-228-0810 and order hard copies of the issue book for $3.90 each.
The National Issues Forums (NIF) is a network of organizations joined together by a common desire to discuss critical issues. Organizations who participate in NIF include educational institutions, leadership groups, civic groups, churches, libraries, senior centers, community groups, and youth groups. Some are independent, local forums sponsored by energetic citizens. Others are part of educational programs at colleges, schools, and extension services. Local Issue Forums offer the space to deliberate about public issues.
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)?
On March 1st, while world leaders met behind closed doors, 6 young Americans and 7 young Iraqis took part in a historic dialogue. At Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV), a loft in lower Manhattan, and at the Orfali Art Gallery in Baghdad, these youths were able to meet face-to-face. Transcending time zones and national borders they spoke freely as war approached. For more info, or to purchase the program ($30), called "Bridge To Baghdad," go to www.dctvny.org/b2b/index.html. A 10-minute video clip is viewable online. For program information contact Tish Bravo at .
If you'd like help organizing a dialogue on the Iraq Crisis, we encourage you to go to www.thataway.org/ncdd/resources/programs.htm for a list (with descriptions & links) of some of the most popular and promising D&D organizations and programs in existence today.
Last Updated:? September 27, 2003.