Gutlove, Paula (December 1999). The Dialogue-Action Process: An Analysis of the Dialogue Process IRSS Has Used in Its Work with Groups in Former Yugoslavia and the Caucasus. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Institute for Resource and Security Studies. (32 pages).

This paper begins with a description of the dialogue-action process as defined and used by IRSS. Examples from IRSS field experience in the former Yugoslavia and in the Caucasus are sprinkled liberally throughout the text in an effort to bring to life the situations in which the dialogue-action process has been used and the results it has wrought. In particular, we explore what dialogue experience of this type can teach us about how human beings heal, individually and as a social unit, from traumatic events, and how the human need for relationship is manifest in the dialogue process. Furthermore, the paper provides an opportunity to discuss the social utility of dialogue-action and how it can be sustained through the deliberate integration of facilitated dialogue with essential social functions.

This paper was written at the request of Harold Saunders, director of International Affairs at the Kettering Foundation and author of A Public Peace Process: Sustained Dialogue to Transform Racial and Ethical Conflicts. This seminal book analyzes and describes the use of sustained dialogue to transform conflictual relationships. In response to Saunder’s request that we respond to his book, this paper explores the field experience of IRSS with dialogue processes.

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