MOntana State UNiversity Sustained Dialogue
"By participating in engaged dialogue, our aim is to promote holistic understanding by bridging gaps between traditionally opposing groups. Sustained conversations will encourage and embrace diversity, resulting in actions that are deliberate, thoughtful, and enduring."
What is Sustained Dialogue?
Sustained Dialogue (SD) is a dialogue to action process that transforms relationships and creates informed community change. SD is rooted in the conflict resolution methodology of senior Middle East diplomat Hal Saunders, a key drafter of the Camp David Peace Accords. During Hal's international negotiations, he observed patterns in the ways that participants' relationships evolved which inform the foundations of SD.
Sustained Dialogue programs exist on campuses across the country to gather student participants from diverse backgrounds to build relationships and develop informed strategies to improve their communities around the following dimensions of identity: race, ethnicity, sex/gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, socioeconomic status, and ability status.
In the spring of 2011, SDCN Program Director Rhonda Fitzgerald helped usher in a new era of on-campus communication and action at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Participants eagerly tackled large on campus concerns, including the divide between agriculture and environmentalist professionals, the need for integration of international students, student perceptions of the military, concern for student aid, and the general feeling of student apathy with their student government. From the training, students came out armed with the dialogue tools to address these pressing issues and the motivation and energy to take action.