Our main program is titled Working Together Towards Harmony: Using Our Shared Humanity to Bridge Theological and Ideological Divides. The program brings together ideas from interfaith activists, Nobel peace prize laureates, modern psychologists, and ancient wisdom to create a unique recipe that is ideal for all those who are interested in working towards a more harmonious society. It consists of five elements that can improve communications and reduce tensions. Read more about the program and invite us to speak to your group or organization.
NEW! We have made this program available as a 4-week online course in cooperation with Charter Education Institute for $15. All proceeds go to fund The Charter for Compassion. Registration is open. Course begins on May 21, 2018.
1. Harmony Exists on a Wide Spectrum
As humans move from acrimony to harmony, they move through a wide spectrum, anything from ceasing hostilities to increased tolerance and understanding, finally moving into cooperation and culminating in fellowship. The goal is to work towards harmony, not achieve it from the first moment.
2. The Human and Ideological Personas
According to Padraig O’Malley, who was instrumental during the Northern Ireland peace process, each human being is a mix of two personas. One persona is human and shares a number of elements with other human beings. The other persona is ideological and often quite divisive. When people clearly understand the difference between the two personas, they can better communicate with each other, reduce the likelihood of dehumanization, and increase their ability so see similarities.
3. Using Human Experiences to Build Bridges
From breaking bread with strangers to working together for the good of the less fortunate, face-to-face human experiences have historically been essential to the bridge building process. By exploring a variety of experiences that people can create to connect with each other, our aim is to expand horizons and open up new possibilities when bridge building efforts are needed in the community.
4. Dialogue Principles for Respectful and Effective Communications
The ten interreligious dialogue principles created by Dr. Leonard Swidler provide a template for all types of difficult discussions where divisions exist. The principles focus on respect, effectiveness, and humility, and can be applied much more widely than in interfaith settings. The dialogue guidelines set parameters and reduce the likelihood of tempers flaring during discussions.
5. The Attraction–Repulsion Axiom
The attraction–repulsion axiom states that as an attraction to one thing grows, repulsion to its opposite is automatically triggered. Knowing about this inborn tendency, and having plans for what to do when it surfaces, will reduce the likelihood that love for one thing will turn into hate for another.
THE IDEAL OUTCOME
Equipped with these ideas, people will see how they can take little steps towards a more harmonious society, become more effective communicators, be better able to distinguish between the human and ideological personas, and are less likely to fall prey to prejudices and bigotry.
WHO IS THE PROGRAM FOR?
The program is ideal for churches, colleges, high schools, temples, community organizations, synagogues, spiritual groups, workplaces, diversity programs, universities, prisons, nonprofit organizations and other places where people have ideological differences and/or want to increase their capacity for harmonious interactions.
HOW LONG IS THE PROGRAM?
We can adjust the presentation based on the age and interest of the audience. The ideal timeframe for the presentation is 60-90 minutes but we also offer a 20-40 minute guest speaker version for shorter meetings.
We don't want money to be an issue in our commitment to spread the message of harmony. We tailor the price of the longer version to fit those we are serving and don't charge anything for the shorter version. Only a few standards have to be met in regards to attendance and promotion. Our goal is to make the program available to as many people as humanly possible.
EXTEND AN INVITATION
If you are interested in offering the program to your group, please invite us to speak.
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"It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business." - Gandhi