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Leadership Dialogues

Step into another person’s shoes. Own their stories. Listen deeply. Reciprocate with honest discourse.

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I was one of 10 Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Fellows

during the 2016 presidential election. I founded a program called Leadership Dialogues convening diverse voices in facilitated dialogue to reduce polarization. With each major national event that followed – from MeToo to George Floyd to the COVID-19 pandemic – community requests for facilitated dialogues increased. The program has grown to serve communities in diverse ways, at first focused on conflict transformation, now also fostering community engagement and accountability. More than 2,000 people have participated; 90% of those surveyed say the experience has changed how they will approach future dialogue.

What is a Leadership Dialogue?

Leadership Dialogues invite community members into meaningful conversations about topics that matter to them most. Facilitated by former Peace Fellows, Leadership Dialogues are hosted by non-profit groups, schools and colleges, government agencies and professional associations. The dialogues enable productive discussion and shared insights – and a common foundation for potential action.

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How does a Leadership Dialogue work?

How

Leadership Dialogues convene diverse voices on local issues and foster thoughtful dialogue with facilitation techniques such as Third-to-First Person and Talking Circle. The dialogue experience invites participants to step into another person’s shoes, to own their stories, listen deeply, and reciprocate with honest discourse.

Where

Dialogues can be virtual or in-person. Depending on your organization’s goals, they can range from a 2-hour session to a 2-day workshop. We dedicate one facilitator for every 10 to 12 participants to ensure meaningful conversation and time for every voice to be heard.

Who

We facilitate small and large groups, from 10 to 100 participants at a time. Community groups that have hosted Leadership Dialogues include non-profit organizations, schools and colleges, professional associations, and local government agencies.

Who hosts a Leadership Dialogue?

Leadership Dialogues have been embraced by diverse communities across the U.S. from Washington to California to North Carolina to Louisiana and points in between. Listed below are some of the organizations that have hosted dialogues on issues that mattered most to their communities.

City of Durham 150th Anniversary

Democracy and equity

Dispute Settlement Center
Race, racism, and safety

Duke Center for International Development Economic development and democracy

Duke University, UNC, NC State and NCCU HBU Political depolarization

International House
Access to health, reducing conflict

Onslow County Partnership for Children Community service and safety

Orange County Water Authority

Forest and water stewardship

Rotary Fayetteville

Intergenerational dialogue ages 14 to 70
Rotary District 7730 North Carolina

Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Rotary Global Partners in Peace

Global health decolonization

Leadership Dialogue Facilitators

Leadership Dialogue facilitators are local community leaders, former Rotary Peace Fellows, and global development practitioners that I have trained. Together, we facilitate dialogues that are inclusive and accessible in more communities across the U.S. and globally.

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Case Studies

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Reducing Polarization
 

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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 Democracy Fellows

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Land Ownership and Sustainability

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Resiliency in the Social Service Sector

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Civil Discourse

What Participants Have Said

“I didn’t expect to learn so much from other people. I didn’t expect to learn so much about myself.”
“I heard a different perspective I never would have considered before.”
“I will change the way I listen. I will change how I approach dialogue with others.”
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