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TitleSustained Dialogue in Conflicts: Transformation and Change
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Table of Contents
Acknowledgments and Contributors
Prologue: Why Sustained Dialogue?
Part I: Historical Setting and Conceptual Framework
	1 The First Half-Century: Setting and Timeline
	2 Peace Process: Pre-1982 Roots of Sustained Dialogue
	3 Framework for Analysis: Sustained Dialogue
Part II: The First Laboratory
	4 Beginning a Dialogue: Dialogue about Dialogue
	5 How to Talk about Problems and Relationships? The Struggle for Dialogue
	6 Talking, Listening, and Thinking Interactively: Dialogue Experienced
	7 Thinking Together about Acting Together: Sustained Dialogue Takes Shape
	8 Conceptualizing the Process
Part III: Testing the Five-Stage Process of Sustained Dialogue
	9 The First Test: Tajikistan
	10 Testing the Limits: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh
	11 The Arab-American-European Dialogue: Working Together toward a New Relationship between the West and the Arab Region (2001–2007)
Part IV: Sustained Dialogue in Peacebuilding
	12 Mini-Dialogues and Hybrids in Tajikist
	13 Place, Process, and People: The Three Ps of Developing a Practice of Sustained Dialogue in Southern Africa
	14 Sustained Dialogue Campus Network
Part V: Reflections
	15 Evaluation in an Open-Ended Political Process: Civic Learning and the Citizen Evaluator
	Epilogue: Transforming Relationships . . .Designing Change
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Sustained Dialogue in Conflicts

Page 149

142 ● Testing the Five-Stage Process of Sustained Dialogue

agree to was a simple list of three topics, the American cochairman began setting
the tone for a reality check: “You call this an agenda? I cannot imagine trying to
conduct a meeting around this after hearing this conversation. If the discussion
around this list is any example, what kind of a discussion will we have around
these issues?”

Experiment #2: Can the shock effect of threatening to end the dialogue create a greater
readiness to enter the dialogue space?

Sustained Dialogue had been attempted and seemed to be found wanting as
an effective approach to changing relationships among those in the dialogue
room, given the “white heat” of this conflict. Not only had dialogue not taken
place—even serious discussion seemed nearly impossible. These were the essential
conclusions presented by the American cochairman to the dialogue group as the
third round drew to a close. There appeared to be nothing left but to thank the
participants and adjourn indefinitely. However, always unwilling to abandon all
hope, the cochairmen suggested that were the participants themselves to begin to
take the process of dialogue seriously, as demonstrated perhaps by holding their
own interim meetings, or proposing new ideas or approaches, then one more
meeting might be attempted.

There was a strategy behind the decision for an indefinite suspension, but it
was also embedded in the honest belief that this conflict was not ripe for dialogue.
If nine days of talks over 12 months could not even lead to a common name for
the conflict, let alone an agreed list of issues to be addressed, then it really did
seem reasonable to conclude that here, indeed, was a conflict beyond the capacity
of Sustained Dialogue to “soften” interactions or to prepare for progress. The
latter was our primary motivation for the suspension.

However, in the back of our minds lay more strategic ideas based on the recog-
nition that the Sustained Dialogue process created the only space where serious
people from the sides of conflict have the opportunity to explore a possible way
forward. The Minsk talks had reached a stalemate long before, and aside from
occasional highly secret meetings between the Azeri and Armenian presidents,
there were no other talks, formal or informal. All of the participants were as aware
of this reality as were we. We also believed that at least a few participants from
each side had taken part not simply to engage in polemics, but rather because
they were motivated by earnest hopes for some kind of productive breakthrough.
If these were valid premises, then, as the shock of recognition that their own
failures to listen or to attempt to engage in dialogue were responsible for the
collapse of their last visible hope, perhaps some would be led to reengage—to
demonstrate a renewed readiness for dialogue and actively seek the resumption of
these talks.

While political realities made it understandably impossible for participants
from one region to be in contact with those from the other regions, individual
participants, and the entire group from one country, wrote letters to the co-
chairmen stressing the importance of continuing this work, emphasizing their

Page 150

Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Nagorno Karabakh ● 143

readiness for serious dialogue. However, for the cochairmen, this posed the
question of what would be different this time? Had we utilized all of the strengths
of Sustained Dialogue and found them wanting in this case? Or might analysis of
just what had happened during the first three sessions suggest errors or perhaps
new ways to increase the chances of movement to productive dialogue? To address
this question, we undertook another experiment, asking ourselves what progress
we had made toward changing relationships through dialogue and what analysis
might suggest about the way forward.

Experiment #3: Might analysis of the dialogue, using the five elements of relationship,
enable us to identify more clearly the reasons for the lack of dialogue and to find a way

Our analysis asked two basic questions: First, did we in the dialogue sessions do
everything possible to facilitate creation of the conditions for dialogue? If not,
we must also ask ourselves what more we, as moderators, might do to bring this

What quickly became clear was that while the cochairmen had described at
the first session what Sustained Dialogue was about, there had been no sustained
effort, actively directed by the cochairmen, to teach or to enforce a practice of the
rules of dialogue. So, right away it appeared that, at least in principle, there was
more to be attempted, should the participants be willing to undertake the hard
work this entailed.

But our own concepts suggest that even creating ideal conditions for dialogue
only opens the door to changing relationships. So, we had to ask ourselves a
second question: whether we had undertaken sufficient deliberate efforts at recon-
structing relationships. To address this question, we utilized our own concept of
relationship and asked ourselves, based on the dialogue records, what kind of
relationships existed among the participants after three rounds.

A systematic review of each of the five elements—identity, interests, power,
perceptions and misperceptions, and patterns of interaction—made it clear that,
in fact, we had not yet begun to use the potential of Sustained Dialogue. This
finding was a profound revelation to each of the moderators. We seemed to
have assumed that dialogue in which the issues formed the outward vocabulary
of discourse could lead to a subtle, largely unarticulated but nevertheless gen-
uine dialogue on relationships. On reflection, we realized what should have been
obvious—that in embedded ethnic conflict, this process may not take place. The
attempt to create a dialogue and to change relationships using the vocabulary
of the issues seemed, in this case, only to reinforce the idea among partici-
pants that a “solution” may be found through a search for the right formula.
In fact, at this early stage, the sharp confrontations evoked by this search actu-
ally prevented either the conditions of dialogue or changed relationships from

A brief excerpt from our analysis of the “identity” aspect of relationship
illustrates the learning from this analysis:

Page 297

296 ● Index

Sustained Dialogue—continued
in Southern Africa, see Southern Africa

and Sustained Dialogue
stages of, see stages of Sustained

struggle for, see “the struggle for

in Tajikistan, see Tajikistan and

Sustained Dialogue
uses of, 29–30
and violence, see violence
see also Regional Conflicts Task Force

(RCTF) (Dartmouth College)
Sustained Dialogue in Southern Africa, see

Southern Africa and Sustained

Sustained Dialogue in Tajikistan, see
Tajikistan and Sustained Dialogue

Suzdal meetings, 41–2, 46–7, 53
Switzer, Jacqueline (Jackie), 229
Syracuse University, 64, 90, 269–70
Syria, 48, 51, 68, 167, 177–8, 283n4

Tajikistan and Sustained Dialogue, xi, 4,
14, 84, 103–33, 191–205

in 2000, 192–3
acting together, 115–16
beginnings of, 105–14
and the “civil society phase,” 131–2
Conflict Resolution University

Curriculum, 199
and Daster (Help), 205
and deciding to engage, 105–10
and Dushanbe dialogue, 113, 124–7,

130, 132–3, 193–4, 197–8, 203
and economic development

committees, 196–8
establishing the Public Committee,

and evolving approach, 204–5
insider-outsider partnership, 200
and interactive steps toward peace,

and the larger body politic, 118–21
and materials development, 202
national issue forums, 198–9
and national reconciliation, 117–18
and nourishing, 128–30
and ongoing communication, 202
and PCDP-IISD Partnership, 199–201
power transfer, 200–2

and reconciliation, 121–7
and regional dialogues, 193–6
and responsibility for, 199–204
and a second objective, 116–17
and training seminars, 201–2
and transferring experience, 201–2
and transition, 127–8
and a unified country, 130–1
see also Inter-Tajik Dialogue (ITD);

Public Committee for Democratic
Processes (PCDP)

terrorism, 74, 167, 174, 178–9, 181,

“thinking in stages,” 84, 89, 99
“Thinking in Stages” (conference) (1991),

84, 99
Third World, 47, 53, 62, 64, 79–80
“three Ps,” 207–8
Tilghman, Shirley, 228
Tocqueville, Alexis de, 79, 252
totalitarianism, 50–2, 107
Track II diplomacy, 97, 164–5, 170, 185
trust, 29, 44–6, 50, 61, 94, 105–6, 118,

138, 140, 144, 165–6, 170–1, 192,
196, 204, 225, 239, 253

Tukey, David, 228, 230
Turkey, 84, 137, 171–2

U-2 intelligence plane (U.S.), 11, 34
U.N. General Assembly, 73, 271
United Nations, 40, 73–6, 271
University College London, 12
University of Georgia, 244–5
University of Virginia (UVA), 13, 98,

228–32, 236, 238–42, 244–5
U.N. Resolutions

181, 76
242, 75–6
338, 75–6

Ury, William, 13, 21, 87–8
U.S. Congress, 40
U.S. Institute of Peace, 92, 116–17, 119,

122, 136n14
U.S. invasion of Iraq (2003), 210
U.S.-Russian relationship, x–xi, 2, 4–5,

13–14, 83–4, 100, 125, 132, 191,
203, 255, 272

U.S. Senate, 46

Page 298

Index ● 297

U.S.-Soviet relationship, x–xi, 14–23,
34–7, 40–51, 53–4, 57, 60, 67–8,
78, 81, 83, 85, 95, 105

basic principles of, 47
bedrock of, 45–6
low point of, 22, 35
and speaking analytically, 34, 36–7
see also Dartmouth conference

(1960–1982); Regional Conflicts
Task Force (RCTF) (Dartmouth

Vance, Cyrus, 20
Vietnam War, 2, 12, 34, 93
violence, ix, 15, 29–30, 93, 110, 113, 121,

126, 172–6, 178–9, 182–4, 192,
196, 207, 212, 215–16, 266, 268

Volkan, Vamik, 13, 98
Voorhees, James, 37, 65, 80, 83–4

Wagner, Christopher, 243–5
Wake Forest University (North

Carolina), 68

Walker, LaTia, 245
The Washington Quarterly, 84–5
“We Need a Larger Theory of

Negotiation,” 92
West Bank, 174
Westfields Conference Center, 80, 82
“we” use of, 27, 92, 139, 265–6
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,

13, 15, 103
Working Together, see Stage Five:

Working/Acting Together
“world society perspective,” 12
World War I, 137
World War II, 174
Wright, Bruce, 227–8

Yale University, 19
Yankolovich, Daniel, 54

Zartman, William, 13, 90
Zimbabwe, 211, 215–21, 266
Zviagelskaya, Irina, 105, 124, 267n4

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