Six Years of Sustained Dialogue at Ethiopian Universities
Feb 26 2014
Life & Peace Institute, together with its partner Peace and Development Center (PDC) initiated an SD process in Addis Ababa University in 2008 where 150 University students participated in the process. In practical terms, students were divided into groups of 10 and each group had two moderators that will facilitate the dialogue. The groups discussed one issue that they feel is the most divisive on campus, on a bi-weekly basis during the whole academic year.
SD was carried out with LPI’s support for three years with positive results and evaluations from the participants. Considering the evident positive changes the process brought about in promoting tolerance and mutual respect among students in the University, the SD process at AAU was then adopted, fully owned and is currently run by the University itself.
The first ever randomised field trial of a dialogue programme was supported by LPI in 2009-10 716 university students, from Addis Ababa University (AAU) participated in the study. The study found that Sustained Dialogue (SD) can decrease mistrust and increase the level of trust between people of different ethnic backgrounds. The findings of the research were published in the Journal of Peace Research and can be accessed here.
Currently, LPI and PDC have introduced SD in Haramaya University in eastern Ethiopia, and Jimma University in South Western Ethiopia. LPI and PDC have been implementing SD in Haramaya University since April 2013 and 300 students were involved in the project. Since March 2014, implementation of SD in Jimma University has begun. Like in Haramaya University 300 students will be involved and at the request of the University, LPI and its partner PDC are setting the ground for adding a new dimension to SD in JU where faculty and administrative staff will be part of the SD. (From http://life-peace.org/programmes/ethiopia/)