Making Dialogue Effective 1: Effectiveness in Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue: Can it be Defined? How do we Measure it?

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend

Canon Dr Andrew Smith

University of Birmingham; Coventry University

Dr Ute Kelly

Dr Ute Kelly

Lecturer in Peace Studies, University of Bradford

Ute Kelly (formerly B'hler) is interested in the theory and practice of participation, deliberation and dialogue. Within this broad field, she has a particular interest in the potential of participatory/deliberative approaches in situations of conflict, diversity and inequality, and in the roles of both reason and emotion in shaping people's engagement with each other.

Mehri Niknam

MA, MBE, Executive Director, the Joseph Interfaith Foundation.

Prof Simon Keyes

Director of St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.

Part of a series of six discussions exploring how to make intercultural dialogue (a term which is intended to imply all shades of dialogue, including interfaith dialogue) more effective, this panel discussion will draw on the experience of a selection of people working in the areas of dialogue and social cohesion.

It will consider: what aims agencies and groups concerned with dialogue have; what “effectiveness” means in view of these aims and whether, and how, the effectiveness of dialogue can be measured or monitored.

Questions to be considered

  • What is the point of intercultural/ interfaith dialogue?
  • Does it work?
  • What exactly are people involved in dialogue trying to achieve?
  • Given their/our aims, what does it mean for dialogue to be “effective”?
  • Can we, and should we, measure or monitor the effectiveness of dialogue?
  • If so, how?

About the Panel Discussion Series

A series of panel discussions examining the question of how to make intercultural dialogue work. Those working with intercultural and interreligious dialogue at the community or professional level face a range of challenges regarding its effectiveness. We are asked, or ask ourselves, such questions as:

  • Does what we do make or contribute to a tangible difference to society in any way?
  • Does our work, whether directly or otherwise, reach beyond the sympathetic to those whose attitudes and behaviour are an actual threat to peace and social cohesion?
  • Are the relationships that our work initiates across cultural or religious boundaries of a meaningful and lasting kind?
  • Is our work part of something broader that is capable of effecting change on a grand scale?

This series is intended to occasion focused and constructive discussion of such questions among a range of people concerned with relationships between different cultural, religious or social groups, in their professional lives or at the community level.

Findings and conclusions will be published. It is hoped that the series will be replicated at three independent UK branches of the Dialogue Society, allowing us to draw on a wider range of perspectives in collating findings.

Aims and Objectives

  • To encourage interprofessional dialogue, interaction and cooperation between people working on intercultural/ interreligious dialogue, peace and social cohesion.
  • To foster dialogue between people engaged with dialogue at the personal or community level, and those concerned with the same questions in a professional capacity.
  • To explore and clarify the questions of what effectiveness in dialogue is, and whether and how it can be measured.
  • To find a range of creative and practical answers to the question of how dialogue can be made effective by
    • identifying and promoting current best practice and
    • identifying and promoting promising future possibilities.
    • To share these answers among all participants of the series and more widely.

The Topics

  1. “Effectiveness” in Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue: Can it be defined? How do we measure it?
  2. Effectiveness at the grassroots: seeking the personal and the genuine
  3. Effectiveness in dialogue for conflict transformation
  4. Skills in dialogue: cultivating effective listening and empathy
  5. Becoming a dialogue movement: what can dialogue learn from other movements?
  6. Preaching to the unconverted: how can dialogue reach the disengaged, the prejudiced and the hostile?

Guests are warmly invited to attend as many of the sessions as possible to contribute to an ongoing process of focused reflection over the course of the series.