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Community Norms

Programs in the Dialogue Zone are arranged with the expectation that participants will interact with each other in a way that builds mutual understanding. Understanding and agreement are not the same. No one wins a dialogue. Some ways of interacting with others that promote mutual understanding include:

Successful dialogue requires honest and open sharing of views. It requires the courage to question existing assumptions and to say with integrity what others might not initially understand or find comfortable.


Courtesy means exercising consideration for others. Moderation means communicating with self-restraint and avoiding language and behaviors that would alienate, disempower, or hurt others.


Striving to comprehend fully and accurately what others have said before they draw conclusions helps mutual understanding to develop. Participants in dialogue avoid rushing to judgment. They ask questions that promote understanding. They guard themselves against assumptions, stereotypes, and biases that might keep them from understanding others.


Dialogue requires an environment that builds trust and empathy. People must trust that others will not attack, belittle, or judge them. Civility means that people see each other as equals worthy of respect and goodwill.


Successful dialogue involves thoughtful consideration of what all participants have offered and questioning the assumptions underlying people's views. It means that participants listen to each other deeply enough to be changed by what they learn (Harold Saunders, A Public Peace Process: Sustained Dialogue to Transform Racial and Ethnic Conflicts, 1999).

The purpose of dialogue is to create understanding, not to make a decision. Once mutual understanding develops, it can serve as a foundation for effective decision making, but only if participants are ready to explore common action steps or commitments.


Often dialogues focus on sensitive or personal topics, or participants will trust others enough to share information about themselves that they otherwise might not share. We expect participants not to disclose the names of other participants or what they have shared during a dialogue without their explicit permission to do so.


CONTACT

Dialogue Zone

Roesch Library
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1360
Email