On the weekend of January 31 and February 1, 2009, DDG was proud to hold AU’s first home-grown dialogue facilitators training. Sixteen people, from experienced facilitators to those newer to dialogue, participated in the 2-day training. The DDG training combined components gleaned from previous trainings conducted by the University of Maryland, Public Conversations Project and Hope in the Cities. The goal for this first training was to combine the best of the above trainings and to add components directly related to DDG and the dialogue experience at AU. Specifically,
training coordinator Rebecca Davis hoped to look at the dialogue challenges that occur in a university setting. Some of these challenges include the tendency to intellectualize due to the academic setting, the development of themes that appeal to a wide variety of people, the culture of political correctness, and the dynamics of co-facilitation as used in DDG’s dialogue groups.
Unique to the DDG training was the incorporation of a variety of trainers: previous DDG facilitators: Emily Siegel, Irene Nasser, Robbie Wellington, Elli Nagai-Rothe, Kelsey Visser, and Sarah Beller, as well as IPCR faculty members: Professors Mohamed Abu-Nimer, Ron Fisher, and Christos Kyrou, and the training coordinators: IPCR Alumus Gururaj Kumar of the University of Maryland and IPCR Coordinator Rebecca Davis.
Overall, DDG’s first training was an overwhelming success with positive feedback on all accounts from participants and trainers alike. The group hopes to continue the in-house trainings in the future so as to bring the skills of dialogue facilitator to a wider spectrum within AU.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2009 Dialogue Development Group Newsletter.