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Generation of Peace Dialogues

Name of Project:
Generation of Peace Dialogues: How the World Café Approach to Community Understanding Led to Cultures of Peace

Submitted by:
Flavio Mesquita da Silva


Short Description of Project
This dissertation research is taking place in the Human and Organization Systems doctoral program of Fielding Graduate University, and aims at answering the following question: “What aspects of the WC contributed to the success of the Generation of Peace Project?” . The “Generation of Peace” is a statewide project that aims at building networks of a culture of peace between a few more than 700 high schools and their communities. The focus is on peace in a broad sense, promoting inclusion and respect for diversity by involving 500,000 youth and their parents, as well as 16,000 teachers and school administrators in creating and maintaining a culture of peace. It is an action research-oriented project, undertaken by the state school system of Ceara, Brazil, in cooperation with UNESCO. Flavio was  responsible for the overall design and technical coordination for almost 5 years until the beginning of the process of institutionalization of the project.

Paulo Freire´s concept of Conscientization is a core element of this design for it enables individual transformation and social change. As an approach to education, it must allow people to be aware of their incompleteness and strive to be more fully human. As an approach to large-scale social change, it considers Gandhi´s philosophy and principles of non-violence (Satyagraha). Both exemplars shall lead a process of understanding how a culture of dialogue can foster well-being, happiness, good conviviality, and ultimately, a culture of peace.

To this date, the World Café has served to sensitize and mobilize more than 10,000 leaders, and has fostered dialogue, statewide, involving directly and indirectly more than 300 thousand students in more than 500 high schools. Intended outcomes: These schools and their respective communities shall present permanent processes of social articulation. The schools’ yearly plans shall contain clear goals, strategies, and directives that consolidate and perpetuate a culture of peace within and beyond their boundaries. The emergence of this “new order” will rely on schools’ self-managing and self-organizing capacities. As schools specify principles and values across their yearly plans focused on the construction of a culture of peace, they will have new pathways to dialogue with the external actors, and signal the “what”, the “whos” and the “hows” that are aligned with these very fundamentals.

In March 2016, an assessment and planning World Café (Dialogues for a Generation of Sustainable Networks of Peace) with the State Department of Education of Ceará top leadership resulted in several directives for the project’s institutionalization within the entire state educational system.
Generation of Peace Dialogues: How the World Café Approach to Community Understanding Led to Cultures of Peace

Academic Home:
Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, USA.

Where is the Project Taking Place?
State of Ceará, Brazil

Your Role:
Researcher, former project designer consultant and general coordinator.

Who Else is Involved?
State Department of Education of Ceará and The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Category(s) of Research:
Research about World Café; Research that uses World Café in some way; Evaluation using World Café; &
Training and Planning.


Additional Information
I have achieved at Antioch University Seattle both my B.A. Liberal Arts, areas of concentration human and organizational development, and Education, and M.A. in Whole Systems Design, where I developed the degree project “Holistic systemic approach to peace: a case for design”. I have been moderating participatory processes, especially utilizing The World Café for small, medium and large groups, for more than 10 years.