Opportunities to Engage
Challenging conversations require a ‘container’ to be constructive. CERI aims to provide a space for community members to engage with each other on difficult conversation topics. The goal of this “space” allows those with differing views to learn about the other side, without a commitment to adopt or share a common view. We offer three primary forms – and forums – for engaging in contexts of conflict and difference: Deliberation, Dialogue, and Restorative Practices. All focus on mutual learning and effective communication, but they have also have different goals and emphases.
Focuses on a specific issue like homelessness, free speech/speech regulation, grazing rights, or gun control; conveners do preparatory research and provide participants with background information on various issue options, and participants engage on that information and the relative merits and tradeoffs of these choices. Participants learn that all well-reasoned perspectives have merit, and all have tradeoffs.
A process where participants main focus is intergroup learning, focused on differing experiences and privileges, such as racial or gender disparities, religious differences, or transgender rights. Many issues may be part of the discussion, with participants sharing experiences and perspectives and respectfully asking questions. Dialogue is not about winning an argument or coming to an agreement, but about understanding and learning.
Sometimes called restorative justice, are processes used to repair harm to individuals and communities after an acknowledged harm has been committed. An RP process focuses on accountability and repair, rather than sanctions or punishment. It aims to reintegrate a community through mutual learning about experiences, intentions, impacts, and unintended consequences.
For a deliberate, constructive conversation where the focus is a specific issue or policy question.
If at the heart of what is needed is better ways of being in relationship with those of different perspectives and experiences.
If what is needed is improved understanding, accountability, and repair for a specific harm.