Sustained Dialogue at Duke
Duke Service-Learning invited Rhonda Fitzgerald from the Sustained Dialogue Institute (SDI) to campus in April to lead two workshops, with more than 90 faculty, staff, and students in attendance. The Institute defines dialogue as “a process of genuine interaction through which human beings listen to each other deeply enough to be changed by what they learn." She further explained that dialogue is collaborative, towards a sense of community understanding, as opposed to discussion, which is more conversational, or debate, which tends to be competitive.
She asked the attendees to consider how we can engage in meaningful and productive dialogue around topics such as race, sexual orientation, mental health, political beliefs, ability and disability, etc. at a time when our common spaces and classrooms have become increasingly polemic and politicized.
Through Rhonda’s work, participants worked to fulfill the mission of Sustained Dialogue “listening deeply enough in order to be changed” as a way of working to bridge the divisions in our classrooms, communities, and country.