An update from Sheffy Kaur Minnick, Global Programs Manager
I’ve heard that Cross-Cultural Dialogues can be really hard to facilitate in person, and WinC has been doing this for over a decade now. I’ve heard that training students to facilitate these radical dialogues that examine race, culture, gender, religion, and other themes that are important in the sociological perimeter is even more difficult. And WinC has been doing this for over a decade as well. I’m often hearing that it seems that this type of work is NOT possible to do online. And it may seem impossible, but we are doing it. For the last three years now, we have been facilitating global and virtual dialogues, and after three years we can say that we are doing this, too. And, we are doing this successfully!
Today, I am excited to lead a presentation in Norfolk, Virginia at Old Dominion University. Along with Carly Cubit, (Facilitator Trainer), Josh Godbolt (Advanced Facilitator), and Eric Spielvogel (Multimedia Specialist), I am talking about how we make our facilitation work successfully in the virtual world and on a global platform. Right now, we are in year two of our NATO grant, which supports our research for using facilitated dialogues as a means for cross-cultural training for NATO cadets. We are currently working with nine NATO nations and Academies and are looking to expand our work in more Academies. This is going to be a vital presentation as we are presenting in front of potential partners, members of The Pentagon, and other military personnel. We are here to talk about how cross-cultural training can be more than a video shown to cadets and can evolve beyond a text-book level understanding of humans in conflict regions. Cross-cultural training can be an organic, divergent, and dynamic process that involves people in real-time talking to each other and exploring ideas and beliefs in an effort to see each other’s’ world.
And right now, WinC is doing this! I am privileged to be training and working with The Global Dialogue Facilitation (GDF) Team that is comprised of six student facilitators. This team is facilitating dialogues every day starting at 7 AM. We all work with the time differences in our world because 7 AM is 5:30 PM in Afghanistan, and we cannot have dialogues that start later than that for the safety of Afghan participants. The GDF team right now is facilitating dialogues between civilians in a conflict region (Afghanistan) and military personnel from NATO nations (PSU, ODU, Belgium cadets, and soon cadets from the Netherlands and Poland). This is happening right now. So what we get to talk about in Norfolk today is how Winc is capable of being the tool that NATO can work with to take cross-cultural training to the next level. Carly and I are talking about what makes WinC different and how our methodology is suited to work face-to-face and virtually. Josh is sharing about what it is to be a facilitator and what makes his role profound to the dialogue process. Eric is speaking about his knowledge and creative visions which we continue to utilize as we further explore the virtual realm. As each of us share, we hope our audience gains a deeper understanding of what our methodology is and how we train students to work with dialogues in this way.
We hope that we share will inspire more partners to join us in the movement of facilitated dialogues. And, we hope to share with you on how everything goes!