Meta-Dialogues Workshop

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August 27-29 (9am – 4:45pm)
West Denver Marriott
1717 Denver West Boulevard
Golden Colorado 80401

CLE Credits available (21 general, 2.4 ethics)


Over 25 years of experience in conflict resolution and facilitating dialogue on a range of topics, across the world, has led to the development of a radical approach to conducting Dialogue between polarized groups. Most attempts at dialogue tend to fall into one of four categories:

1. Cacophony of Conclusions: The dialogue focuses on bringing diverse groups together but is neither structured nor facilitated. Participants get carried away with their own passions and the lack of listening quickly degenerates into yelling or at best shutting down of the conversation.
2. Killing Me Politely: Different people come with the expressed intention of “getting along”. Everybody is at their best behaviors and hence the stilted conversations end up being exercises in polite meaninglessness.
3. Consensus by Correctness: Like-minded people come to talk about issues that bother them, but people who disagree with each other are either kept out or silenced by facilitators whose rules and norms sterilize all intensity, passion and honesty out of the conversation.
4. Re-framing Sterility: One of the most powerful tools that Facilitators and Mediators have is the ability to re-frame a statement that is not just emotional and ‘colorful’ but even potentially ‘toxic’. Useful as this is, it often takes out all the life, meaning and passion from the statement and expression.

Ashok 2Meta-Dialogue
The traditional practice of Dialogue is used as a structured methodology to help people with differing views, interests and beliefs to have focused, honest and productive conversation to deepen their understanding of each other. Meta-Dialogue goes beyond conventional Dialogue; the approach is radically honest, frank and devoid of any attempt at ‘correct’ posturing that makes most exercises such as these innocuous and hence irrelevant.

In addition to our rich experiences of over 20 years of dialogue across the world, we include the past three years of Meta-Dialogue between Hindus, Muslims and Christians in India as case study to describe the uniqueness of this process. The following six key elements are combined to help create an environment of openness, honesty and irreverence in order to facilitate a deep and robust conversation:

COMMUNICATION: To establish communication between the parties where hitherto none existed
COMFORT: To create an emotionally comfortable environment by bringing humor and a sense of camaraderie into the room
STORY TELLING: To develop greater appreciation and empathy through listening to and acknowledging each-others’ stories
CRITICAL THINKING: To help participants develop the discipline and skills necessary achieve rigor in their own thinking and engage in clear and constructive conversations
CREATIVE THINKING: To open up participants to the imaginative possibilities inherent in conflict and to move away from traditional ways of thinking about outcomes
HUMOR &(affectionate) IRREVERENCE: To use humor and irreverence in order to help people in a conflict experience ‘lightness’ and ‘laughter’ where only tension and animosity exist

Ashok uses case studies from his own work along with models that he has developed over two decades of working on race, ethnicity, sexuality, religious, community and organizational disputes in the US, parts of Asia and Europe and the Middle-East. Meta-Dialogue is unique in that, beyond creating conditions for empathy and inclusiveness it seeks to build clarity and deep understanding through Critical Thinking; liberate the imagination through Creativity and help parties locked in conflict transcend their ‘stuckness’ through Humor and affectionate Irreverence.
Course Structure:
1. What is the traditional Dialogue process?
2. The limitations of traditional Dialogue
3. Meta-Dialogue and what it can look like
4. The six elements of Meta-Dialogue
(Communication, Comfort, Storytelling, Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Humour and Irreverence)
5. The challenges and risks in engaging in Meta-Dialogue
6. How to mitigate and even transcend these challenges

If you are coming in from out of town, feel free to contact us and we can help find appropriate lodging and transportation.


Cancellation Policy:

Full refunds will be given until August 1st.

We will refund 50% if cancellation occurs between August 1 and August 14th.

No refunds after August 14th.

You may send another participant in your place.

We reserve the right to cancel this session due to circumstances beyond our control. Full refunds would be given.


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