Changemakers' Dialogue


About

What is Changemakers' Dialogue (CD)?
Changemakers' Dialogue is a program for students to engage in conversations centered on storytelling, reflection, and making positive change. Whether you join for a single chat or a series of talks spanning several weeks, you will uncover shared experiences and connect across differences. Our events enable a space and foster a community where people can openly exchange their stories, listen to contrasting beliefs, expand their perspective, and apply this experience to the real world.

Mission
Our mission is to empower a community of leaders to cultivate communication and interpersonal skills, while fostering a mindset of acceptance. By creating authentic, transformative spaces for intergroup dialogue, we aim to inspire individuals to take action, promote change, and help create a more open-minded, people-oriented community both at UF and beyond. We envision a movement where the need for intergroup dialogue is embraced as the first step for addressing critical issues and the foundation for change.

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Curious about our programs?

Learn More

Manda Wittebort: A.wittebort@ufl.edu

“During a dialogue, I facilitated on imposter syndrome amongst student participants, students from disciplines ranging from physics to public health spoke about the isolation they experienced moving to the university from their communities. International students shared how intimidating it was to take classes in a second language with native speakers. Domestic students shared how they felt equally intimidated by their international peers, who they felt often had to be overqualified to get into their program and were equipped with more knowledge in their field. This open discussion challenged us to identify our assumptions of each other, ask reflective questions, and listen more deeply when others expressed experiences different from our own.
Using dialogue circles like these, I envision myself improving care for patients who have been historically disadvantaged and becoming an advocate for their communities.”

Preya Patel,
Changemakers’ Co-Student Founder, Medical School Applicant

Why you should become a changemaker


Refine Effective Communication Skills: Refine Effective Communication Skills: By participating in our program, individuals will hone the communication skills necessary for their personal and professional lives. Changemakers engage in conversations that encourage active listening, thoughtful expression, attention to verbal and nonverbal cues, and effective engagement with various viewpoints.

Develop Conflict Management Skills: Becoming immersed in dialogue that encourages participants to share different viewpoints requires the ability to foster an environment where conflict can be navigated constructively. Facilitators are trained to help make group disagreements an opportunity for shared learning and growth, whereas participants learn to navigate those same disagreements through respectful communication with the group by following pre-established community agreements.

Cultivate Interpersonal Skills: Participants and facilitators alike learn to connect across differences and engage in empathetic exchanges. Through training and practice, facilitators develop the skills to manage and lead dialogues that ensure all participants’ viewpoints are respectfully shared and acknowledged. Participants are challenged to share a space with individuals who have varying perspectives, values, and life experiences, improving their ability to practice compassion, apply emotional intelligence, and work in teams.

Foster Leadership Development: By training facilitators in our program and offering regular opportunities for skill practice, we seek to provide leaders with the tools and mindset necessary to lead challenging conversations and co-facilitate spaces for intergroup dialogue.

Inspire Confidence: By engaging in constructive conversations with others, Changemakers’ Dialogue encourages participants and facilitators to go beyond their comfort zones and gain confidence in sharing their stories, even those that are outside of the ‘norm’ or standard.

Build Community: Community is at the core of Changemakers’ Dialogue. Since our inception, we have fostered a community of changemakers by creating a dialogue space where people get to know each other beyond the surface and address nuanced topics honestly, transparently, and authentically. This emphasis on building an accepting, people-oriented community results in lasting, meaningful connections that extend beyond the university sphere.

Citations:

NCDD Glossary. NCDD Resource Center. (2014, September 6). https://ncdd.org/rc/glossary/