At Dialogue Society, we seek to contribute to social cohesion at three different levels:
directly bringing different social groups together, empowering others to do the
same, and contributing to the development of thought on dialogue and community
building. In short, Dialogue Society projects all fall under one of the three areas of work in the table below.
With a view to bringing people together and achieving critical, open and meaningful dialogue, the Dialogue Society organises a range of discussion forums in different formats throughout the year at its headquarter offices in London and its branches across the UK. Discussions include a wide range of issues related to Dialogue Society areas of interest, encompassing topics, and speakers, beyond the usual remit of dialogue organisations. They attract diverse policy-makers, academics, researchers, journalists, professionals, students, community leaders and others. Through this engaging and expansive platform, speakers and members of the audience engage in constructive and critical dialogue on a miscellany of issues affecting their personal, professional and communal lives.
By introducing innovative discussion formats the Dialogue Society reaches out to a broader audience. Dialogue Society discussion forums also include more prolonged dialogues in an academic context: academic workshops and conferences. Such events provide a rigorous, methodical context for the scrutiny and evaluation both of dialogue practices and of social and political issues pertinent to these. They also encourage fruitful interaction between people engaged in academia, policy, and the community.
Types of Discussion Forums
- Seminars and Panel Discussions
- Roundtable Discussions
- Virtual Panels
Areas of interest covered
- Community cohesion and multiculturalism
- Identity, integration and citizenship
- Family, education and youth
- Media, culture and communication
- Human rights and civil liberties
- Theology and religious studies
- World cultures and societies
- Peace-building and conflict resolution
- International relations and diplomacy
The Dialogue Society offers three courses to enhance skills for dialogue and proactive citizenship: Life of a Chickpea, the Success School and Dialogue in Islam.
The Dialogue Society is particularly interested in making these programmes available to young people who lack access to such training and to small groups and charities which could particularly benefit from it. The aim of these projects is to increase the competence and confidence of young people and community groups in the UK, thereby helping them to bring their own communities together.
The Dialogue Society’s primary form of outreach is through a number of ‘community co-ordinators’ who focus on grass roots dialogue work in a particular area. At the regional branches, volunteers reach out to diverse groups by attending community events and organise a range of community activities, including community engagement dinners. Periodic community events such as distribution of traditional ‘Noah’s Pudding’, similarly facilitate community connections.
The Dialogue Society also reaches out to local young people and organisations in publicising its training courses, sometimes visiting community groups and schools and giving presentations at assemblies. The courses bring new visitors to the Dialogue Society to benefit from the projects provided and enter into dialogue. By opening its discussion forums to the general public, publicising these events through various means and keeping attendance free, the Dialogue Society also reaches out to the local community through these events.
Types of Outreach
- Community Connectors
- Community Outreach
- Stakeholders Outreach
Dialogue Society publications are both an outcome of and a contribution to dialogue at three different levels: community, academia and policy development.
Community publications comprise publications for the general public and manuals for community organisations empowering engagement in dialogue. In this second category, the Community Dialogue Manuals provide extensive advice and supporting documents to help organisations to run a range of local projects to enhance community cohesion.
Academic publications respond to the need for critical examination of the work of dialogue and offer contributions to the study of the social issues with which it is engaged.
Policy related papers are geared towards national and local government. Drawing on the Dialogue Society’s community-level experience, they suggest a new approach on a particular policy area, offering specific recommendations towards its implementation.