Democratic Dialogue -- A Handbook for Practitioners

This Handbook, sponsored jointly by International IDEA, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), offers a comprehen­sive overview of the use of dialogue processes to address societal challenges in an inclusive, democratic way that engages a broad range of actors in bringing about positive change. It is addressed to people actively or potentially engaged in doing dialogue work—organizing, sponsoring, promoting, or facilitating dialogue proc­esses within their institutions and societies. Most importantly, it is thoroughly grounded in the experience of dialogue practitioners from around the world.

The Handbook provides a conceptual framework that speaks to critical questions: Why dialogue?', 'What is dialogue?' and `How does dialogue contribute to positive change?'.  It offers a detailed guide to putting these concepts into practice, offering practical guidance and concrete examples from the field for each step: exploring whether a dialogue process is appropriate in the context; designing and then imple­menting a dialogue process; and conducting a meaningful process of monitoring and evaluation throughout.

 A third major part of the book anchors all of this infor­mation in the reality of three fully developed case studies showing different ap­proaches in different regions— Latin America, Africa and Asia. In two appendices, the Handbook also provides a comparative overview of more than 30 cases and a guide to the rich array of dialogue processes and process tools that practitioners can consider for use, or just for inspiration.


 What others have said: 


The authors of this Handbook on Democratic Dialogue have undertaken the difficult but neces­sary task of gathering the vast comparative knowledge accumulated in the field of dialogue and translating it into clear concepts and practical options for dialogue facilitators. Sponsored by and drawing on the experience of three international organizations (IDEA, UNDP and the OAS) and one development cooperation agency (the Canadian CIDA), the Handbook offers helpful insights into contemporary conceptual approaches to dialogue and provides practitioners with con­crete sets of options on how to design, start, convene, conduct, monitor and evaluate a dialogue process. The multiple options offered stem from practice, and the case studies presented . . . illus­trate how these options may be applied in real life.'
— from the Foreword by Lakhdar Brahimi, former Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General

Around the world we increasingly face complex challenges that we cannot address using conventional, authority- and expert-driven approaches--that require us to learn unconventional, participative ones. This invaluable handbook points the way with a clear conceptual framework, a wealth of practical guidance, and instructive as well as inspiring examples from the field.
— Adam Kahane, Reos Partners, author of "Solving Tough Problems" and "Power and Love"

This is a beautiful book for many reasons. I thought I knew a lot about the topic (democratic dialogue) but was surprised by how much is included here that I did not know. It is a wonderful ratio of things that are familiar to me and brand new information. In addition, it is not just a survey of what's been done. The authors have constructed a powerful and practical narrative of the state-of-the-art of dialogic practice. This book is a "must" for all of us who wear the hats of dialogic practitioners, people involved in civic engagement, scholars interested in the under-the-radar processes that are shaping the world, and all of us involved in one way or another in the communication with others who are not like us. And since we now live in a world in which what happens anywhere affects all of us everywhere, this book is for all of us.
 W. Barnett Pearce, Ph.D., author of "Making Social Worlds: A Communication Perspective," and co-Founder of Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Engagement Program, Fielding University, Santa Barbara, California