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Workshop: The Power of Dialogue with Essential Partners (EP), formerly known as The Public Conversations Project

  • University Presbyterian Church 300 Bushnell Avenue San Antonio, TX, 78212 United States (map)

Time: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tuition: $575 early bird, $625 regular
Enrollment: 20 min./22 max.
Register  here.

The Power of Dialogue is the “flagship workshop” of Essential Partners (EP), formerly known as The Public Conversations Project. As EP describes it, “This is a comprehensive ‘deep dive’ into our time-tested method for transforming conflicted conversations about divisive issues.” Highly experiential, the first day and a half combines a series of exercises and accompanying lectures that lay out the foundations of a dialogue practice. Relying heavily on reflective practices to glean learnings from group activities, this intimate training of up to 20 participants meets people at all levels of practice. The second day and a half is an extended role play based on an actual case from our own practice. Participants will act as a facilitation team invited to intervene in a community conflict and certain participants will enroll as community members. The workshop concludes on the third day with a simulated 2.5-hour dialogue that will give participants an experience and sense of the heart of this important work. Co-sponsored with UTSA College of Public Policy and the Nehemiah Community Reentry Project. Participants will also work on a plan to apply their learning to situations in their own communities.

Bob Stains is Senior Vice President for Training at Essential Partners. For the past 20 years Bob has created constructive conversations on sexual orientation, religion, race, abortion, social class, gender, firearms and other divisive issues within and between local, national and international organizations. Bob is a Cofounder of The Family Dinner Project, consults to the Interpersonal Skills Component of the Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard Law School, serves on the Executive Board of The Democracy Imperative and as a Guest Scholar Practitioner for Kansas State University’s Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Engagement program. In addition to his work with Essential Partners, Bob maintains a private mediation, training, and consulting practice in Danvers, MA.

Vicki Totten’s background touches several different fields, but at the core of her work is a passion for helping people become more effective problem solvers. Following her work as an educational administrator at Austin Community College, she worked for 10 years as a marriage and family therapist. She returned to higher education at St. Edward’s University where, as an Associate Professor of Counseling, she helped initiate a new interdisciplinary program in Human Services. Prior to her retirement from teaching, she introduced the university to dialogue and deliberation through a research exchange with the Kettering Foundation designed to help create centers for public life on college campuses. More recently she moderated a National Issues Forum dialogue at the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas which focused on the high cost of health care.