Wildacres Leadership Initiative (WLI) recently responded to the request of a North Carolina community seeking ways to engage a truly diverse cross-section of community members in creating substantive, real discussions across difference centered around the theme of health.
Local Friday Fellowship graduates also joined the group. Friday Fellows brought their perspectives and deliberative dialogue practices assisting this effort to address a community matter.
Each month the group comes together for a quick dinner. Then in a circle, the group revisits brief individual introductions and group agreements for discourse. These group agreements came about as consensus items from the group’s first gathering. Still meeting in a circle, the group is given the opportunity to respond to an interim assignment or reflection provided by a facilitation team.
While each dialogue officially lasts only two hours, group members generally stay later for more discussion. Additionally, an extensive bibliography with contextual articles and links is available for more reading and reflection around each dialogue.
Repeated respectful interaction is a useful way to engage across difference and steadily build trust and relationship. WLI is deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with and support North Carolinians who saw this possibility to partner and positively engage each other in dialogue.