Peace in the Middle East hosts The Dialogue Project
Published: Monday, December 5, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 13:12
The Dialogue Project is a conflict transformation organization. Their mission is to develop relationships, partnerships and trust amongst themselves – long time citizens, new immigrants, Palestinians, Israelis a multitude of people with varying cultures and faiths.
Marcia Kannry, the founder and director of The Dialogue Project, spoke at an event that took place at Baruch on Oct. 29 about the importance of the different steps of communication.
The Dialogue Project examines differences and common values; the interchange of newly established immigrant traditions with western cultures, and move from personal empowerment to powerful communities.
The identified issues and action projects are specific to the dilemmas that affect individual lives in New York and families in the Middle East.
The Dialogue Project encourages the use of these steps when dealing with conflicts, such as, active and generous listening, reflection, Speaking from the "I" without attack, and acknowledgement.
Active and generous listening is crucial in processing new and substantial information. By absorbing this information, the listener is intently focusing on what the other person is saying and stores it in memory before he or she reflects on what was just heard.
Kannry admits to the importance of reflecting as the second step of communication.
"It is important to hear what the person is talking about. The great thing about reflecting is that it gives the person a moment to settle. It helps you step back and listen deeply," said Kannry.
The last and final step, speaking from the "I" perspective gives the initial listener a chance to speak without attacking or addressing individuals as part of a whole.
Haifa Bint Kadi, a speaker of the Dialogue Project is very keen on making sure that the individual doesn't express these generalities.
"We often like to represent all of our people but we should learn to speak just about ourselves. If we continue to allow people to generalize others, we dehumanize ourselves," said Bint Kadi.
Kanry expressed that "Dialogue is a place to put aside time to value things that generally wouldn't be valued."
The Dialogue Project's crewmembers meet regularly and with commitment. Bint Kadi admits that Israelis and Palestinians have evident hostility towards one another.
"We find we have differences and we also learn how to make spaces for each other, as the unique humans we are. Each of us inheriting a world view and narrative so different than the other."
Laura Stamm, an International business major and a freshman at Baruch really appreciated The Dialogue Project's appearance at school.
"I found this event very insightful. It helped me learn how to deal with delicate conversations appropriately. For example, I would not have known how to properly address the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a suitable manner," said Stamm.
Matt D'Angelo, a freshman and Finance major at Baruch College taking a freshman seminar course subsequently responded to Stamm's comment, "Learning how to converse properly with others regarding delicate subjects makes these things easier to talk about."
Stephanie Bekkerman, another freshman attending a freshman seminar course and an accounting major had a personal connection to the event because this conflict truly impacts her and her family.
"I don't like to hear about the conflict, I try to stay mutual and stay out of it but it's impacting me negatively. I didn't go to Israel this year because I was worried about my safety. Now that I know how to speak to others, I feel more comfortable talking to other about the situation," she said.
Kannry ended the group discussion by expressing that "Our ultimate goal is to move from personal empowerment to community empowerment, by enabling people to use dialogue skills to address areas of intergroup conflict."