Increasing Support for “Sustained Dialogue” as a Peacebuilding Tool

The Life & Peace Institute has supported the first ever randomized field trial of a “sustained dialogue” programme. The research, published in the Journal of Peace Research, found that Sustained Dialogue (SD) can decrease mistrust and increase the level of trust between people of different ethnic backgrounds. Seven hundred and sixteen university students, from LPI’s partner, Addis Ababa University (AAU), participated in the study of which 77 had been randomly selected to participate in the SD programme for nearly one year. The remaining 639 were part of a control group of students who had not been enrolled in the programme, but had expressed interest in the process. The effects of the SD programme were studied by conducting an attitudinal survey and a behavioral trust game with both the experimental and control groups. The research was a collaborative effort between researchers from Uppsala University, Addis Ababa University and LPI.

In Sustained Dialogue, participants meet on a bi-weekly basis to dialogue on issues that are most divisive on campus. SD has been the main methodology used by LPI and Addis Ababa Peace Club. LPI’s partner on Sidist Kilo campus at Addis Ababa University. The AAU SD is in its 4th year and is now running without LPI support. LPI’s support for Sustained Dialogue has now extended to Haramaya University in eastern Ethiopia and there are plans to expand to one other Ethiopian university within one year.

For more information see: Svensson, Isak and Brounéus, Karen. “Dialogue and inter-faith trust: A randomized field trial of “sustained dialogue” in Ethiopia”. Journal of Peace Research. Published online 20 August 2013.

The article is available here: http://jpr.sagepub.com/content/50/5/563.abstract