Dialogue as a method for sustainable change
CASE Danish Youth Council
Fostering dialogue and rebuilding relations between Denmark and the Middle East and North Africa region following the Mohammed cartoons controversy.
Training and educating youth leaders as Ambassadors for Dialogue to facilitate dialogue on controversial topics, such as politics, sex and religion.
Denmark’s reputation was damaged in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region following the publication of the Mohammed cartoons in 2005. In order rebuild Denmark’s relationship with the region, the Danish Foreign Ministry decided to reach out to leaders in Jordan and Egypt through the Danish Youth Council (DUF) – an umbrella organisation with more than 70 children and youth organizations.
In 2009, DUF brought Gry Guldberg from Emerging onboard to develop the programme. Gry recognised that in order to defuse the tense and potentially explosive relationship, Denmark’s communication with the MENA region needed to move from debate to dialogue. Developing a method to realise this vision, however, was an enormous challenge.
Through pretotyping, action learning and gathered experiences, Gry and DUF co-created the Dialog Ambassadørene (Ambassadors for Dialogue).
The goal is to enhance mutual understanding between youth across national, cultural, religious, ideological and other divides by means of dialogue.
The programme is under constant development in order to ensure that its methodology, tools and approach can be applied worldwide.
Over the past ten years, Gry has educated 300 Ambassadors for Dialogue together with her Danish, Jordanian and Egyptian partners and trainers. These Ambassadors for Dialogue have designed and facilitated workshops and reached 40,000 young people in Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt and Denmark. She was also professional consultant for DUF’s Dialogue Handbook, which has been translated into into Danish, English and Arabic.
Gry Guldberg is a highly experienced, dynamic and courageous facilitator with the capacity to manage challenging and charged situations with due care and attention.
She maintains the respect and integrity of the participants even when the issues are sensitive and delicate. She has the ability to hold and transform spaces to become settings for wisdom and insight for the participants. In so doing, she acts as a role model for effective leadership.