This course introduces participants to dialogue as a practical and effective process for advancing conflict transformation and peacebuilding at the community level. The focus of the course is on designing and implementing a relevant, sustainable, and meaningful dialogue process.

Participants in a dialogue.
Dialogue participants. Photo by USIP.

Course Overview

Key Objectives

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Distinguish dialogue from other conflict resolution processes;
  • Determine when community-based dialogue is an appropriate process to manage a conflict; and
  • Design a community-based dialogue process in their own geographical and social context.

Overview Video

Click on the video below for an overview of the course.

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Section 1 - Defining Dialogue

This section defines dialogue and distinguishes it from a discussion and debate.

Section 2 - Models and Principles of Dialogue

This section identifies governing principles and models of dialogue.

Section 3 - Designing a Dialogue Process

This section identifies how a dialogue process is designed and objectives are determined.

Section 4 - Key Stakeholders in Dialogue

This section emphasizes those who participate in dialogue and the motivations for joining a dialogue.

Section 5 - Monitoring and Evaluation for Dialogue

This section explains how learning happens in dialogue and ethical considerations.

Section 6 - Insights Into Dialogue

This section provides examples of real-world dialogue processes.

Section 7 - Quiz

This section assesses your understanding and retention of key terms, concepts, and ideas presented in this course.

Instructors and Guest Experts


  • Alison Milofsky, Director, United States Institute of Peace
  • Ariana Barth, Former Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace Guest Experts

Guest Experts

  • Mark Brimhall-Vargas, Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Brandeis University
  • Rhonda Fitzgerald, Managing Director, Sustained Dialogue Campus Network
  • Cate Broussard, Program Advisor, Life & Peace Institute
  • Tricia Homer, Executive Communications Coach & Dialogue Facilitator
  • Tonis Montes, Senior Program Specialist, United States Institute of Peace
  • Beatriz Montoya, Founder & Director, Asociación de Mujeres del Oriente Antioqueño
  • Katherine Torres Sánchez, National Coordinator, Puentes Para La Paz
  • Michael Zanchelli, Former Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace
  • Sireen Abu Asbeh, Project Officer, Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development
  • Daryn Cambridge, Professional Development Portfolio Manager (EPIC), Training Resources Group, Inc

Related Publications

Four Ideas for a More Practical Approach to North Korea

Four Ideas for a More Practical Approach to North Korea

Thursday, October 1, 2020

By: Ambassador Joseph Yun; Frank Aum

A significant impediment for the United States is that it continues to narrowly limit its policy options while North Korean capabilities expand unabated. Washington’s window of discourse on North Korea policy largely consists of: Pressure the Kim regime through sanctions; don’t legitimize or reward it until preconditions are met; and don’t make any concessions until the North takes significant denuclearization measures first. To achieve any sustained results, these policy boundaries must be substantially widened to include more realistic and practical measures. We, along with our colleagues at USIP, explored many of these issues in a recent report, “A Peace Regime for the Korean Peninsula.”

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Four Lessons for Cease-fires in the Age of COVID

Four Lessons for Cease-fires in the Age of COVID

Thursday, October 1, 2020

By: Amanda Long; Tyler Beckelman

During his opening remarks at the 75th U.N. General Assembly, Secretary-General António Guterres renewed his appeal for a global humanitarian cease-fire, urging the international community to achieve one in the next 100 days. But in the roughly 180 days since his initial appeal, most conflict parties have not heeded the secretary-general’s plea. What can peacebuilders do to advance the secretary-general’s call? Four key lessons have emerged over the last six months on how cease-fires can be achieved—or stalled—by COVID-19.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Peace Processes; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Digital Inclusion in Mediated Peace Processes: How Technology Can Enhance Participation

Digital Inclusion in Mediated Peace Processes: How Technology Can Enhance Participation

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

By: Andreas T. Hirblinger

Inclusion in peace processes is conventionally understood in “offline” terms, such as being physically present at the negotiation table. However, digital technology can support a mediator’s efforts to integrate a broad variety of perspectives, interests, and needs into a peace process. This report explores the current and future practice of digital inclusion, giving a framework for understanding the possibilities and risks, and providing examples of practical ways digital technologies can contribute to mediated peace processes.

Type: Peaceworks

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

It’s Time for the U.S. To Rethink North Korea Policy

It’s Time for the U.S. To Rethink North Korea Policy

Thursday, September 10, 2020

By: Ashish Kumar Sen

A little over a year ago, U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s third meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was making headlines as much for its historic nature—it was the first time that a sitting U.S. president had set foot in North Korea—as for what it represented about the lack of progress in U.S.-North Korea relations. The next U.S. administration, whether it is led by Trump or former Vice President Joseph Biden, will face a more emboldened regime in Pyongyang and, according to experts, must rethink past failed strategies for dealing with this challenge.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

View All Publications