Please note that we are not accepting new enrollments at this time, seeing as the program is already underway.

Are you interested in bridge-building and developing key skills needed to support conversations about race, identity, and justice?

Art of Public Dialogue

Note: AoPD Part 2 will begin in the fall of 2020. AoPD is part of the PWI–Anima Conflict Facilitation Certificate.

North American and European societies are experiencing inter-group conflict and extremism on a scale not seen in decades. Xenophobia and nationalism have firmly entered mainstream politics.  The fire is fueled by a variety of sources, including lone wolf terrorists, the shooting of unarmed Black men by police, the rise of authoritarian leaders, and polarizing media pundits who stoke anti-immigrant, anti-Indigenous sentiments.

Feelings of Us vs. Them are only increasing, with race and ethnicity central to the conversation. We need to be able to talk through these issues, yet most people can’t—or don’t want to—because of fear, distrust, uncertainty, disappointment, or judgement.

Yet people have to talk about identity, otherwise pent-up feelings in highly polarized environments can lead to dangerous ruptures, leaving organizations dysfunctional and societies fractured.

Art of Public Dialogue

Now is the time for bridge-builders to step into the breach, to help nurture understanding and mend inter-group relationships. The Art of Public Dialogue (AoPD Part 1) is an incredible professional learning opportunity that utilizes a road-tested public conversation format called Open Forum, developed by psychologists and conflict transformation experts at the Process Work Institute (PWI). Open Forums have been utilized with success in global hot spots with very hopeful results that range from averting violence, to deepening community belonging, to changing legislation. This methodology will be integrated with the ground-breaking Deep Diversity® framework which tackles racial justice in a manner that is scientific, practical, and compassionate. Hosting practices from the Living Wholeness Institute will also be woven into this unique offering.

Over a 10-month period starting in September 2019, Modules 1-3 (x three days each) of the AoPD Part 1 will help you develop the basic knowledge and skills needed in hosting dialogues about race and identity, as well as the techniques and practices that can be used in organizations or community settings. These include developing awareness at multiple scales: working with yourself, with interpersonal relationships, and in larger groups. Part of this incredible professional development opportunity will include participants working together to design and host a live public dialogue in Toronto for the final module, with coaching and support in real-time.

For those interested, there are two additional ways of continuing the learning beyond AoPD Part 1:

Art of Public Dialogue

The AoPD Part 1 cohort program is ideal for:

  • Facilitators, educators, or mediators who work in organizational or community settings;
  • Organizational leaders, coaches, and human resource professionals who want to help their teams and organizations work more effectively and productively;
  • Social entrepreneurs and systems change leaders to deepen their ability to work in social justice and social innovation;
  • People working in political organizations, civil society, unions, grassroots campaigns, etc.;
  • Psychology-based professions, including therapists and social workers.
The Art of Public Dialogue gave me tools to help people talk more truthfully and stay open long enough to touch the substance of what was happening; it provided approaches to do my own inner work so that my own issues got in the way less. And it provided a community of people hungry for ways to have authentic conversations across differences of power, privilege, differing experiences and values. To address the increasing polarization in our workplaces and communities, we desperately need more skill, compassion and backbone. This program offers all of this while supporting ongoing learning with others. I would take this course again.
~Barb Thomas, Labour Educator, Author of Dancing on Live Embers: Challenging Racism in Organizations

Preparation and Prerequisites:

We recommend that you have basic experience/training in facilitating groups or teams.

Some background knowledge of race, ethnicity and identity issues will be important to have prior to participating. This includes topics related to racial justice; inclusion, diversity and equity issues; inter-group conflict or inter-cultural communications; social identity research; working with historically marginalized communities.

Contact us if you have any questions or want suggestions for prep training courses/resources before starting The Art of Public Dialogue.

Offered By: Senior faculty from both PWI and Anima Leadership:

Shakil Choudhury
Shakil Choudhury,
Anima Leadership
Vanessa Reid
Vanessa Reid,
Process Work Institute
and Living Wholeness Institute
Gary Reiss
Annahid Dashtgard

The Art of Public Dialogue: Hosting Conversations about Race and Identity, Part 1

Module 1: September 19th-21st, 2019.
Module 2: January 23rd-25th, 2020.
Module 3: April 15th-17th, 2020.

Location: Centre for Social Innovation, 720 Bathurst Street, Downtown Toronto, ON

Fee: $3500 plus HST including lunch, snacks, and materials. (20% of our slots are sliding scale. Please inquire).

*Please note that there are also invoice and payment by cheque options. 

Course Leader: See Faculty listed above.

Contact: or (416) 516-8728

Cancellation Policy

Given the exceptional circumstances of this particular training (external presenters, multiple modules, etc.) we’ve had to create a very specific policy that will allow this program to run.

In case of withdrawal prior to the program, fees will be refunded as follows:

  • 121 days plus notice: 100%
  • 91-121 days notice: 75% refund
  • 31-90 days + notice: 50% refund
  • Less than 30 days notice: no refund

In case of Anima Leadership canceling the course, all payments will be returned to participants.