Dialogue For Diversity

Dialogue For Diversity

Peace Making in Northern Ireland

Violence has been reduced in Northern Ireland but our communities remain deeply divided. To address this challenge Dialogue for Diversity has developed two processes:-

1. Dialogue for Diversity

This brings together Republicans, Unionists, Loyalists and others to explore issues that matter to them. The process starts with people deeply suspicious because they have suffered from each other. It moves from a focus on what really matters to them as individuals, to asking what can they live with, given that others disagree with them.

During the process, participants realise that:

  • The gap between their opponents and themselves is less than they thought,
  • Their opponents are not as clever as they had thought,
  • Their opponents are not as united as they thought.

In Phase Two participants are asked questions about partnership, such as: `Of the aims that you want to achieve, which can you achieve only with the help of your opponents?’

During the process participants gradually move to a less emotional state in which the conflict becomes one of interests instead of identity.

These dialogues can take place in a residential setting with as many as 25 taking part, or they may involve a small number of people who have never met meeting for a few sessions.

The dialogues are important because they lead to deeper understanding.