Dialogue project

A central tenet of Oxford Research Group’s approach to achieving change is the belief that informed dialogue is a better way to influence government policy than confrontation and oppositional grandstanding. It is also a more effective means of achieving the fullest sense of democratic citizen participation.


Participants at an off-the-record ORG
consultation discuss human security
issues during a walk

ORG has placed dialogue and the building of relationships of trust at the centre of our approach to achieving change since our inception in 1982. We now have over 20 years experience of facilitating constructive dialogue in ‘Track II diplomacy’ consultations and workshops for policy-makers and their critics, including academics, military and non-government specialists from a broad range of expertise and opinion. We foster deep listening and understanding between those who disagree, and encourage participants in the dialogue to move beyond familiar ways of thinking. Our approach requires participants and facilitators to possess not only a high level of practical experience and expertise in political and technical issues, but a degree of empathic intelligence (an understanding of human needs and motivations), and creative imagination, which can find solutions to apparent deadlocks between conflicting parties.

ORG’s methods, applied and adapted over 25 years, have been distilled into a handbook, Everyone's Guide to Achieving Change: A Step-by-Step Approach to Dialogue with Decision-Makers, now in its 6th edition.

We have communicated our dialogue method to groups across the UK, as well as in the USA and Denmark, by means of Dialogue Workshops for groups who wish to use the dialogue approach to address their specific concerns. These concerns range from government policies on the 'war on terror', nuclear weapons, Iraq, or the NPT, to conflict resolution in their local communities. As a result of these training sessions, participants have reported that they felt better equipped, by using tools recommended in the handbook, to communicate their concerns to the relevant local government officials, religious leaders, diplomats, parliamentarians or business leaders.

We have received a grant to produce an updated edition of our dialogue booklet, to be published in Autumn 2007.


Further information

Dialogue vs. Debate

Developing Dialogue: A Brief History


Publications

Secure Energy? Are the risks of new nuclear power too great?
James Kemp and Charlotte Smith (Eds), August 2007

Everyone's Guide to Achieving Change: A Step-by-Step Approach to Dialogue with Decision-Makers
Oxford Research Group, May 2007 (6th reprint)