The exercise and practice of dialogue can be traced back thousands of years, perhaps even to the beginning of civilization. In more recent times there has been a surge of interest in dialogue, with the use of the term and its application proliferating within the disciplines of peacebuilding and development, but also in other fields such as education and public policy.
This perhaps in part can be attributed to the growing and deepening polarization that exists in many communities across the globe and both manifests itself in and is further fueled by strong and adverse geopolitical interests. Many thus recognize the need for more space and means to engage in genuine dialogue, among and between communities, between political parties and within global multilateral bodies.
The initiative Development Dialogue by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation aims to deepen understanding and awareness of dialogue as a critical aspect of and tool for peacebuilding and for strengthening social cohesion. It features articles by practitioners and scholars, who share their experiences, including successes and challenges, in working to promote listening and greater understanding between groups. Michael Camilleri, the director of the Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program and Riva Kantowitz write the chapter “When ‘dialogue; becomes a dirty word. The case of Venezuela.“