Nonprofits Advancing Public Dialogue about a “Culture of Peace”



This chapter frames peace education within the disciplines of communication, adult education, and the broader discipline of political science. It addresses how adult peace education occurs informally in the context of nongovernmental institutions, and specifically the role of nonprofit organizations that comprise civil society and the third sector of the economy.


Social Capital Civil Society Transformational Leadership Civic Engagement Adult Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



  1. The mission of this organization is to reinvigorate American democracy by engaging citizens in the public decision-making that most impacts their lives. Among its noteworthy projects are Twenty-First-Century Town Meetings, a unique, large-scale dialogue process that strives to maintain the values of the traditional New England town meeting while addressing the needs of today’s citizens and decision makers.Google Scholar
  2. Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation (C2D2):
  3. C2D2’s vision is a democratic society in which institutions, practices, and culture foster constructive dialogue and deliberation in which all people, regardless of income, position, background, or education, are able to engage regularly in thoughtful and challenging conversations about what really matters in ways that have positive impact.Google Scholar
  4. Fielding University (Santa Barbara, CA.)-Graduate Certificate in Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Engagement:
  5. This is a cutting-edge certificate in DDPE that introduces graduate students to a variety of approaches to dialogue and public engagement that enable collaboration and promote participation in civil society.Google Scholar
  6. Generative Change (GC) Community:
  7. Launched in 2005, this is a global community of practice focused on strengthening the world’s capacity to address complex challenges collectively through dialogic processes. Participants in such processes experience fundamental shifts toward greater self, group, and system awareness, and these shifts create collective capacity to achieve greater coordination of action as well as understanding.Google Scholar
  8. Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue:
  9. This is an institute for peace, learning, and dialogue. The center bases its work on the Buddhist concept of soka (value creation) and engaging diverse scholars, activists, and social innovators in the search for the ideas and solutions that will assist in the peaceful evolution of humanity during the twenty-first century.Google Scholar
  10. International Association of Public Participation (IAP2):
  11. ĪAP2 was founded to respond to the rising global interest in public participation. It seeks to promote and improve the practice of public participation in relation to individuals, governments, institutions, and other entities that affect the public interest in nations throughout the world.Google Scholar
  12. International Institute for Sustained Dialogue:
  13. This research and educational organization based in Washington, DC, promotes Sustained Dialogue as a vehicle to transform relationships that undergird entrenched patterns of social conflict.Google Scholar
  14. National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD):
  15. NCCD is a U.S.-based community of practitioners, researchers, activists, artists, students, and others who are committed to giving people a voice. Its mission is to bring together and support people, organizations, and resources in ways that expand the power of dialogue to benefit society through challenging conversations that have a positive impact in the world.Google Scholar
  16. Network for Peace through Dialogue:
  17. This is a nonprofit organization that uses dialogue to connect grassroots communities and help them identify and research common issues and solutions in areas of peacemaking and peacebuilding.Google Scholar
  18. OrangeBand Initiative:
  19. Launched by students of James Madison University (VA) to promote student conversation about things that matter on campuses across the United States of America, it has evolved into a grassroots project promoting civic dialogue through the practice of intentional listening to what is important to others at work and in daily life.Google Scholar
  20. Public Conversations Project:
  21. Though it is issue-focused with an overt aim to resolve conflict around controversial topics, this is an organization with a very respectable track record that places dialogue at the center of its efforts to resolve conflict. A central aim is to facilitate the emergence of shared goals and meaning without compromising deeply held values, beliefs, or positions.Google Scholar
  22. Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, BC), Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue:
  23. This is an innovative program that strives to inspire students with a sense of civic responsibility, and encourages their passion to improve society while developing innovative intellectual tools for problem solving. Each semester develops an original and intensive learning experience using dialogue to focus student education on public issues.Google Scholar

Suggested Reading

  1. Asen, R. (2004). A discourse theory of citizenship. The Quarterly Journal of Speech, 90(2), 189(23).Google Scholar
  2. This essay calls for a reorientation in scholarly approaches to civic engagement from asking questions of’’what” to asking questions of “how.” Assessments of discourse too often regard it as prefatory to genuine action, and suggest that talk is cheap. A discourse theory broadens conceptions of citizenship as a process, recognizing the fluid, multimodal, and ordinary enactments of citizenship in a complex public sphere. Realization of democracy through human interaction highlights the role of communication in this process.Google Scholar
  3. Bass, G., Arons, D., Guinane, K., & Carter, M. (2007). Seen but not heard: Strengthening nonprofit advocacy. Washington, DC: Aspen Institute.Google Scholar
  4. This book presents research about the scope of nonprofit advocacy while also detailing the barriers and incentives for nonprofits to engage in various types of policy activities, though the focus is lobbying. The findings are grounded in survey research, focus groups, and interviews with nonprofit executives and board members. Though there is limited reference to the role that nonprofits can play in advancing civic dialogue that informs public policy, the book nonetheless underscores a shift that gives increased legitimacy to nonprofits to engage in the policy-making process.Google Scholar
  5. Bohm, D. (1996). On dialogue. New York, NY: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. This is an important work that illustrates the creative potential for dialogue to facilitate new thinking that can contribute to peacebuilding. In facilitated dialogue, participants suspend their thoughts, motives, impulses, and judgments as they explore and attempt to “think together.” Through dialogue that is not constrained without an objective or agenda, the process creates free space for something new to happen.Google Scholar
  7. Boris, E., & Mosher-Williams, R. (1998). Nonprofit advocacy organizations: Assessing the definitions, classifications and data. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 27(Dec), 488–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. This article argues that research on nonprofit organizations has traditionally defined advocacy and its function in the public policy process as rights-based expression and association and suggests the usefulness of an expanded definition. Nonprofits participate in a variety of public decisions at different points in the policy cycle. The authors argue that building social capital, facilitating civic participation, and providing public voice are activities central to an analysis of the interaction of nonprofits and public policy in democratic civil society.Google Scholar
  9. Boulding, E. (2001). Building a culture of peace: Some priorities. NWSA Journal, 13(2), 55–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dialogue is the embodiment of a culture of peace, creating the space for listening, and that can lead to creative problem-solving. Boulding argues for mounting a nationwide peace-building dialogue-action process, built around meetings in every town, and posing a simple question: “Where does security come from?” She suggests that such dialogue will surface the hidden longing for peace shared by most people.Google Scholar
  11. Bryce, H. J. (2006). Nonprofits as social capital and agents in the public policy process: Toward a new paradigm. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 35(June), 311–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. This article postures a new approach to understanding the performance and purpose of nonprofits. The author envisions the nonprofit as a social capital asset in a specific relationship to the public. The public policy arena is the nonprofit’s analogy of the firm’s marketplace. Nonprofits do more than fill in for market or government failures. They regulate, facilitate, assist, and modify markets, playing a significant role in every aspect of the public policy process.Google Scholar
  13. Gastil, J., & Levine, P. (2005). The deliberative democracy handbook: Strategies for effective civic engagement in the twenty-first century. (1st Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  14. This is an excellent resource for democratic practitioners and theorists alike. The book combines case study material from many cities and types of institutional settings with careful reflection on core principles. Tempered with critical scholarship and political realism, the book gives focus to the innovations of citizens in the United States of America and around the world and shows how the varied practices of dialogue and deliberative democracy can be part of a larger renewal of civil society.Google Scholar
  15. Grayson, K. (2004). Dialogical competence as a pedagogy for peace. Transformations, XV(2), 51.Google Scholar
  16. Evoking themes from Freire’s critique of Western schooling, the author argues that traditional monological approaches to learning suppress dialogical thinking and bankrupt education. He speaks from his experience in college classrooms and models several approaches for facilitating dialogical learning in higher education.Google Scholar
  17. Gunnlaugson, O. (2006). Generative dialogue as a transformative learning practice in adult and higher education settings. Journal of Adult Continuing Education, 12(1), 2–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. This article explores Scharmer’s account of generative dialogue, which followed from Bohmian dialogue in the 1980s and Isaacs’ research with the MIT Dialogue Project in the early 1990s. It presents the author’s view that generative dialogue offers a useful theoretical framework and effective means for facilitating transformative learning processes within adult and higher education group settings.Google Scholar
  19. Pruitt, B., & Thomas, P. (2007). Democratic dialogue: A handbook for practitioners. Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Canadian International Development Agency, Organization of American States and United Nations Development Program.Google Scholar
  20. This Handbook reflects current practice in the field of dialogue and draws on concrete experiences of practitioners in various regions. It seeks to consolidate emerging learning, both in terms of the conceptual framework supporting dialogue, as well as practical experiences in the design, facilitation, and assessment of such processes.Google Scholar

Works Cited

  1. Asen, R. (2004). A discourse theory of citizenship. The Quarterly Journal of Speech, 90(2), 189(23).Google Scholar
  2. Barber, B. (1984). Strong democracy: Participatory politics for a new age. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  3. Barush, A. S. (2006). Foundations of social policy: Social justice in a human perspective (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  4. Bass, G., Arons, D., Guinane, K., & Carter, M. (2007). Seen but not heard: Strengthening nonprofit advocacy. Washington, DC: Aspen Institute.Google Scholar
  5. Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W. M., Swidler, S., & Tipton, S. M. (1991). The good society. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.Google Scholar
  6. Bennett, S. E., Flickinger, R. S., & Rhine, S. L. (2000). Political talk over here, over there, over time. British Journal of Political Science, 30(1), 99–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berry, J., & Arons, D. (2003). A voice for nonprofits. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bird, F. (1996). The muted conscience: Moral silence and the practice of ethics in business. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.Google Scholar
  9. Boggs, D. (1991). Adult civic education. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  10. Bohm, D. (1996). On dialogue. New York, NY: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Boris, E., & Mosher-Williams, R. (1998). Nonprofit advocacy organizations: Assessing the definitions, classifications, and data. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 27(December), 488–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Boulding, E. (2000). Cultures of peace; The hidden side of history. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Bryce, H. J. (2006). Nonprofits as social capital and agents in the public policy process: Toward a new paradigm. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 35(June), 311–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Colby, A., Beaumont, E., Ehrlich, T., & Corngold, J. (2007). Educating for democracy: Preparing undergraduates for responsible political engagement. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  15. Conover, P.J., Searing, D. D., & Crewe, I. M. (2002). The deliberative potential of political discussion. British Journal of Political Science, 32(1), 21–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dessel, A., Rogge, M. E., & Garlington, S. B. (2006). Using intergroup dialogue to promote social justice and change. Social Work, 51(4), 303–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education (First Press Paperback, 1960 ed.). Toronto: MacMillan.Google Scholar
  18. —. (1984). In Boydston J. A. (Ed.). Thepublic and its problems. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Etzioni, A. (1996). The new golden rule: Community and morality in a democratic society. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  20. Frank, J. W. (2002). Transformational leadership and moral discourse in the workplace and civil society. Doctoral Dissertation, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL.Google Scholar
  21. Frank, J. W. (2005). Talking the walk: Community dialogues on a culture of peace. DiacomVentures Consulting, Jacksonville, FL. Retrieved June 7, 2009, at Scholar
  22. Freire, P. (1973). Education for critical consciousness. New York: Seabury Press.Google Scholar
  23. Galtung, J. (1985). Twenty-five years of peace research: Ten challenges and some responses. Journal of Peace Research, 22(2), 141–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Garrison, W. (1992). Talking politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Glendon, M. A. (1991). Rights talk: The impoverishment of political discourse. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  26. Grayson, K. (2004). Dialogical competence as a pedagogy for peace. Transformations, 15(2), 51.Google Scholar
  27. Gunnlaugson, O. (2006). Generative dialogue as a transformative learning practice in adult and higher education settings. Journal of Adult Continuing Education, 12(1), 2–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Habermas, J. (1984). The theory of communicative action: Reason and the rationalization of society. Cambridge: Oxford, Polity, Blackwell.Google Scholar
  29. Hiemstra, R., & Sisco, B. (1990). Individualizing instruction. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  30. Isaacs, w. (1999). Dialogue and the art of thinking together. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  31. Jaworski, J. (1996). Synchronicity: The inner path of leadership (1st ed.). B.S. Flowers, ed. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.Google Scholar
  32. Kettering Foundation. (1998). Governing America: Our choices, our challenge— how people are thinking about democratic government in the U.S. Dayton, OH\par: National Issues Forums Research.Google Scholar
  33. Knowles, M. (1984). The adult learner: A neglected species. Houston: Gulf Publishing.Google Scholar
  34. Kohlberg, L. (1981). The philosophy of moral development: Moral stages and the idea of justice. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  35. Korten, D. (2006). The great turning: From empire to earth community. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.Google Scholar
  36. Kwak, N., Williams, A. E., Wang, X., & Lee, H. (2005). Talking politics and engaging politics: An examination of the interactive relationships between structural features of political talk and discussion engagement. Communication Research, 32(1), 87–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lakoff, G. (2004). Don’t think of an elephant. Berkeley, CA: Rockledge Institute.Google Scholar
  38. Lederach, J. P. (2003). The little book of conflict transformation. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.Google Scholar
  39. Lerner, M. (1996). Thepolitics of meaning: Restoring hope and possibility in an age of cynicism. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  40. Lindeman, E. C. (1926). The meaning of adult education. New York: New Republic. Matchett, N. (2008). Ethics across the curriculum. New Directions in Higher Education, Summer (142), 25.Google Scholar
  41. McGregor, C. (2004). Care(full) deliberation: A pedagogy for citizenship. Journal of Transformative Education, 2(2), 90–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  43. —. (2003). Transformative learning as discourse. Journal of Transformative Education, 1, 58–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Moore, J., & Elverum, D. (February 20, 2009). New approach needed for 21st century issues: University students see a gap between what they are learning and what they need to foster change. Vancouver Sun, A13.Google Scholar
  45. Ndura, E. (2007). Calling institutions of higher education to join the quest for social justice and peace. Harvard Educational Review, 77(3), 345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Oser, F. (1986). Moral education and values education: The discourse perspective. In M. C Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (pp. 917–941). New York: MacMillan.Google Scholar
  47. Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Roche, D. (2007). Global conscience. Ottawa: Novalis.Google Scholar
  49. Rosenberg, M. (2003). Nonviolent communication: A language of compassion (2nd ed.). Del Mar, CA: PuddleDancer Press.Google Scholar
  50. Scharnier, C. O. (2001). Self-transcending knowledge: Sensing and organizing around emerging opportunities. Journal of Knowledge Management, 5(2), 137–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. UN Resolution 53/243. (1999). Declaration and program of action on a culture of peace. United Nations 53rd General Assembly.Google Scholar
  52. Walsh, M. C. (2004). Talking about politics: Informal groups and social identity in American life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  53. Wilhelmson, L. (2006). Dialogue meetings as nonformal adult education in a municipal context. Journal of Transformative Education, 4(3), 243–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Whitney, D. K., & Trosten-Bloom, A. (2003). The power of appreciative inquiry: A practical guide to positive change (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.Google Scholar
  55. Yankelovich, D. (1999). The magic of dialogue: Why dialogue is necessary. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Candice C. Carter 2010

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations