The Women & Gender Collaborative: Unlocking the Power of Genuine Dialogue

Finding opportunities to connect with and better understand others, especially among those with different social identities or world views, can sometimes feel like an exercise in futility. When we attempt to have meaningful conversations across differences and get nowhere, we often lose the incentive to try again.

The Women and Gender Collaborative wants to help change that. The Collaborative is hosting a pilot event, “Collaborative Conversations: Unlocking the Power of Genuine Dialogue,” on Friday, April 28, 10-11 a.m., in the Lory Student Center Grey Rock Room. Cori Wong, director of the Collaborative, and three other presenters will model the process of genuine dialogue and demonstrate techniques for engaging in open-ended, honest exchanges around issues involving gender, privilege, diversity, equity and bias.

More at Play than Words

Wong says the goal of Collaborative Conversations isn’t solely about getting people to talk more respectfully about opposing views. It’s about the value of continuing one’s own learning through dialogue, which requires navigating challenging moments when dialogue often gets shut down due to lack of agreement, knowledge or insight.

“There’s more at play than just the words we speak,” said Wong. “Many people fail to appreciate that dialogues rarely start with everyone on equal footing. Also, depending on how it goes, there can be an imbalance in terms of who benefits or is harmed by participating in it. We have to know what’s at stake for others when we exchange in conversation with them in order to really be able to hear each other out.”

Wong says Collaborative Conversations is for anyone seeking to push the edge of their own self-reflection and understanding of how they and others view and experience the world around them.

“If you want to learn with others through dialogue, you have to start by working on yourself,” said Wong. “Ignorance comes in part from not understanding others, but one of the most detrimental forms of ignorance is what we don’t know about ourselves and the harm we cause when we want to just speak our minds and move on.”

About the Presenters

In addition to Wong, the presenters are:

  • Jaelyn Coates, first-year graduate student in the CSU Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE) program and one of the featured TEDxCSU 2017 speakers
  • Christopher Leck, CSU Health Network Counselor and Instructor in the School of Social Work
  • Emily Ambrose, Assistant Director of the PRIDE Resource Center

Seating for the event is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. The program will be video recorded and available as a resource in the near future. For more information, email or call 491-3331.