Making Dialogue Effective, Panel Discussion 6- Preaching to the Unconverted: How Can Dialogue Reach the Disengaged, the Prejudiced and the Hostile?

Open to Everyone
Free to Attend

Dialogue Society 402 Holloway Road, LONDON, N7 6PZ

Alison Seabrooke

Community Development Foundation

Canon David W Porter BA MA

Canon Director for Reconciliation Ministry at Coventry Cathedral

Prof Ian Linden

Visiting Professor at St. Mary's University, London

Stephen Shashoua

Director, Three Faiths Forum

Mother Theresa of Calcutta: “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.”

In this discussion panellists will bring their own experience to bear on the important question of how dialogue can reach beyond the (semi-)sympathetic to those suspicious of or even hostile to the idea.

Questions to be considered

  • How broad an audience do dialogue initiatives reach?
  • How can we publicise dialogue events in order to reach beyond those already sympathetic to intercultural dialogue?
  • What kinds of project are most effective in reaching beyond a typical audience?
  • What role can dialogue play in engaging with those who have become actively hostile towards other cultural, religious or ethnic groups?

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.