Johann Peiris

Inter-group Dialogue is an interactive and facilitated learning experience that brings together twelve to eighteen students from two or more social identity groups over a sustained period to explore commonalities and differences, examine the nature and consequences of systems of power and privilege, and find ways to work together to promote social justice (Zuniga et al. 2011). My interest as an advocate for Intergroup Dialogue grew specifically with experience as a facilitator for a dialogue on National Origin at an urban American University that is increasingly expanding its global presence. My curiosity about ethno/religious tensions that are perpetuated in ‘learning environments’ also made me look into educational methods that have a record of effectiveness. At first, one can be sceptical of the carefully planned structure and allocation of participants in groups, but it definitely made me a convert when I realized how liberating it was to talk about sensitive issues in a safe and open space.