The Sustained Dialogue (SD) program works to create community change by building powerful relationships across differences. It directs participants to focus on the “Big Eight” social identifiers: socioeconomic status, gender and sex, age, race and color, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, and ability. The program was created by American diplomat Harold “Hal” Saunders, who contributed to peace processes in the Middle East.
Now its fourth year at St. Olaf, Sustained Dialogue is a student-run program that has provided training to nearly 300 campus community members.
This Spring, the training session was led by Rhonda Fitzgerald, the managing director of the national Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, a non-profit organization based in Washington DC. Following the daylong event, participants gathered with a small group each week for four weeks to continue their work through active dialogue sessions.