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EXPLORATIONS - Sustained Dialogue: Solving Conflicts Among People in Africa, and at American Colleges

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VOICE ONE:

I'm Steve Ember.

VOICE TWO:

And I'm Faith Lapidus with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. Today we tell about the process of Sustained Dialogue that is being used in Africa and at American colleges.

Ted Nemeroff speaks to students at the University of Virginia. He has been involved in a sustained dialogue program in South Africa
Ted Nemeroff speaks to students at the University of Virginia. He has been involved in a sustained dialogue program in South Africa

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VOICE ONE:

Last week, we told about the work of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue. It is helping people involved in long term conflicts begin new relationships so they can deal with issues that affect them all. Harold Saunders is president of the organization.

Sustained dialogue is a continuing series of meetings among citizens outside government. It involves the same people meeting again and again. Mister Saunders says that when the same people meet many times they develop a trust in each other and learn to cooperate to solve their own problems.

VOICE TWO:

The Sustained Dialogue process is being used for an Arab-American-European dialogue. Individuals from some Arab countries, from the United States and from Europe are beginning their third year of meetings. The aim of this dialogue is to work together to find ways to end conflicts and move toward better relationships.

The International Institute for Sustained Dialogue is also helping citizen groups in Tajikistan, Russia and Puerto Rico. It often works with other organizations that want to learn to use and teach Sustained Dialogue. The IISD is also helping develop dialogues in South Africa and at American colleges.

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VOICE ONE:

Teddy Nemeroff has been working for two and one-half years at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, known as Idasa. His job is Sustained Dialogue Coordinator. He is organizing the dialogue program at Idasa to be used as a tool for building democracy and peace throughout the southern African area.

Mister Nemeroff explains he was attending Princeton University in New Jersey when he first became involved with Sustained Dialogue. He met Harold Saunders at that time. After he finished at the university, Mister Nemeroff continued work with Sustained Dialogue programs. In two thousand three, the Institute for Democracy in South Africa decided it wanted to start a Sustained Dialogue program for southern Africa. Mister Saunders suggested Mister Nemeroff could help.

VOICE TWO:

Mister Nemeroff has designed and helped organize a number of different projects since he arrived in South Africa. He says the ideas came from either local organizations or individuals who recognized the need for dialogue and requested help in organizing them.

One Sustained Dialogue project involves young people in Harare, Zimbabwe. It helped these young people who are in opposing political parties begin to talk to each other. The aim was to reduce youth involvement in political violence. Fourteen Zimbabwean non-government organizations and an Italian organization are in charge of the project. Mister Nemeroff helped design the project and provided training in the Sustained Dialogue process.

Mister Nemeroff says young people who took part in the Sustained Dialogue now are helping mediate conflicts in their communities. He says people who took part in the organized dialogue groups are developing plans for more Sustained Dialogues in their own communities.

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VOICE ONE:

The Institute for Democracy in South Africa began another Sustained Dialogue project in January, two thousand four to help farming communitie