Intergroup Dialogue is a face-to-face, curriculum-based, and facilitated conversation between members of different social identity groups, to encourage student participants to explore singular and intersecting aspects of their identities while critically examining dynamics of power, privilege, diversity and inequity in society, as well as building skills for commitment to social responsibility and action. The methodology, which blends theory and experiential learning and includes personal story-sharing, reflection activities, and dialogue across difference, was first developed at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and has been widely researched and adopted by many college campuses in the US and across the globe.
Many US liberal arts colleges, having a multicultural student body, are committed to exploring various aspects of diversity and identity. However, in Facilitating Intergroup Dialogue: Bridging Difference, Catalyzing Change, Biren A. Nagda et al. note that this focus on diversity often tends to be limited to the classroom: “the structural and curricular diversity simultaneously supports and challenges intergroup relations on campus…[there is an] intellectual interest in diversity that might be theoretically or passively consumed rather than authentically practiced as part of the educational process.” Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) aims to bridge this gap by bringing together students who are willing to engage in interpersonal risk to transform intergroup relationships on campus.
IGD is structured as an intensive 7 week course for up to 16 participants and consists of: small group and large group facilitated discussions on one identity; personal sharing; readings; journaling; and one on one sessions with facilitators. That said, learning in inter-group dialogue mainly happens through personal sharing, and growth in self-awareness.
The dialogue topic for Semester II, AY 2017-2018 will be chosen from the following options:
(i) Socioeconomic Status
(ii) Gender Identity
(iii) Ethnicity & Nationality
The 7-week program aims to create a safe space for students to engage in open and honest conversations about identity, diversity, and power and privilege in relation to their own lives and in their interactions with other people on or off campus. IGD will prepare students to live and work in a diverse world, and make educated choices that advance equity, social justice, and conflict resolution.
Here are some concrete ways in which IGD can benefit Yale-NUS students: