We know the potential that exists in following conflict to its roots. This is why we turn toward controversial topics in our dialogues. We are not interested in dialogues meant to help us “get along,” nor are we interested in simply rehashing arguments we’ve all heard. Instead, we seek fresh examination from every side of an issue. In this type of collaborative critical thinking, perspectives are meant to constructively collide. In this way, a dialogue becomes a catalyst to more precise thinking and broader awareness. Dialogues don’t provide simple answers. But in the thousands of conversations we host each year, we see it expanding the questions.
We need diverse perspectives in our dialogues. The more variation in perspectives and positions, the more potential for new understandings exists. Our local dialogues currently invite thousands of Penn State undergraduate students into conversation. Sometimes we have a random selection of students in our dialogues. Sometimes we pair international students with domestic students to examine Western culture next to Eastern culture or Middle Eastern culture. And now as we head into our 15th year, we are inviting Penn State faculty and staff into our local dialogues. We aim to give all of our participants the opportunity to listen differently, re-think, and cross borders together.
In addition to our 90-minute dialogue programs, we collaborate with other Penn State (student driven) organizations to craft facilitated dialogue programs for their specific needs. If you are interested in this opportunity, please get in touch below! Some past collaborations include: