Method to transform conflicts through dialogue

November 12, 2019
Communications Colunga Foundation

"Peace is not only the absence of conflict, but it is human collaboration," says international conflict resolution expert Alfredo Zamudio, Director of the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue in Norway, who has disseminated some keys to guide the dialogue in these difficult days that our country lives.

13 steps to good dialogue 

  1. It includes the participants in the planning: Dialogue is a common project and does not tolerate hidden agendas. Attempts to manipulate destroy the dialogue. Everyone who is going to participate must be included and decide on the objectives, topics, forms of work and deadlines. This creates trust and sense of ownership in the project. 
  2. The dialogue to get to know each other: It is not necessary to begin the dialogue with the differences and the arguments, but with companionship, with the stories of life, because we are much more than our opinions and differences.
  3. Seek equity: Respect must be the same for everyone. You have to put aside the titles and spend the same amount of time to speak all.
  4. Start with the easiest topics: Climb the pirca through the lowest place, because in this way we learn that it is possible to cross, even when obstacles are more difficult. 
  5. Listen actively: Each dialogue requires willingness and ability to listen. Being ignored always feels humiliating and painful. The dialogue needs active listening to understand the other.
  6. Ask good questions: He who thinks he knows everything, has nothing to ask. Someone who actively listens asks open-ended questions and they have a what, how, when, why. The answers they give us should be interpreted in the best possible way.
  7. Don't force anyone to think like you: The intention of the dialogue is not to force or persuade the other to change his mind; That is the function of propaganda. The values that are pressed from external groups usually have the opposite effect. 
  8. Do not accuse the other of views that you do not have: No one should speak but for oneself and everyone should have time and access to explain and argue their own views. 
  9. Compare ideals and practices: We usually compare the brightness of our ideals with the failures of others. To have a more real picture of our actions and values, we must sincerely compare our own ideals with theirs, as well as our own practices.
  10. Do not accept without criticism the arguments of the other: Tolerance means that we must endure, but not necessarily accept what others say. I strive to understand other people's thinking and have a broader concept of reality, but it is necessary to openly challenge what we do not understand or accept. 
  11. Be honest and open, but set your limits: Sincerity is not the same as being talkative. We don't talk about all things with anyone. Some things in life we keep private. You have to have respect for the untouchable in the lives of others.
  12. Accept and give space to express feelings: We reach dialogue as beings with ideas and feelings. Although the dialogue space is not a therapy room, it should give space to express joy, frustration, laughter, anger and crying.
  13. The dialogue can always continue: When the dialogue stops, we can talk about other topics, include other people, and maybe the parameters change. Dialogue is about mutual understanding and it is not easy to say that we have understood everything. There will always be things that are outside our understanding, and then we have to tell ourselves: let's follow the dialogue.

(Adapted from original text by Inge Eidsvåg, Nansen Academy, Lillehammer).


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