Community Reconciliation is our flexible way of working with divided groups. At its heart is a transparent process of mutual listening to increase understanding, reduce prejudice, and make connections across differences. It is different to mediation or conflict resolution in that it aims to enable participants to live with difference, disagreement and division, rather than "solve"or eliminate them.
In practice it involves:
- bringing together in safety a group of people divided by conflict, culture or religion
- supporting them in exploring together the meaning of this division
- identifying and actualising possibilities for working together either with, or despite, the issues that cause the division.
A community reconciliation process involves a series of facilitated conversations and groupwork exercises, supported by participants’ individual reflection and possibly leadership coaching. Each process is unique to the particular group and circumstances, drawing flexibly on some the following elements:
- Consultation and conflict mapping
- Careful preparation for meeting together
- Dialogue and listening exercises (in five possible stages: listening to each others stories, exploring values and perspectives, addressing differences, reflection, and negotiation)
- Building coalitions and embedding change
- Capacity building, mentoring and sustained support of leaders and groups
Our approach uses a range of dialogue techniques that reinforce mutual listening, and have the flexibility to hold and contain very different perspectives. Or it can focus on ‘disagreement success’ which allows for conflicting perspectives to coexist alongside the possibility of cooperative action. We can also use these methods within organisations where there is conflict or difficulty.