Strengthening connections to co-create impact

Launching our 2021/2022 impact report

August 03, 2022

Last year, SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue co-created impact in several areas of practice through strengthening connections with students, community and each other. As we launch our 2021/2022 impact report, we reflect how we have collaborated and learned from these connections. 

Bridging connections for students and youth to drive impact

Youth are driving change in our communities. At the Centre, we see firsthand the work and passion youth bring to pursue a more just and equitable future. We strive to learn from and listen to young people. Where we can, we bridge connections and reduce barriers to help them drive impact. Last year, the Fall 2021 Semester by the Salish Sea students successfully launched Year of the Salish Sea in communities throughout British Columbia. At CAMP, students built connections among themselves as they embarked on their first years at SFU. And, at CityHive, an initiative led by Dialogue Associate, Veronika Bylicki, youth came together to tackle complex urban sustainability challenges. We are proud to see that the impact the Centre and our Semester in Dialogue program has on the community reaches beyond the classroom.

Building capacity for organizations to strengthen connections to their communities

Increasingly, organizations and institutions are recognizing the importance of holding difficult conversations. The Centre’s social enterprise team has two decades of experience holding space for dialogue and, last year, in collaboration with Dialogue Fellows, we supported several organizations to build their capacities in this area. We also held space for transformative conversations about the National Diabetes Framework, military sexual violence, self-injurious behaviour due to neurodevelopmental disorders and more.   

Strengthening connection to democracy

Democracy is becoming increasingly volatile within our global village. At the Centre, we are working to increase the resiliency of our democratic system. Last year, we held over 44 dialogues and convened more than 3,800 participants from five continents. Through the work with our International Climate Engagement and our Cities + Climate teams, we are bringing together leaders from around the globe to advance climate engagement and multilevel climate action. Our Strengthening Canadian Democracy team is exploring potential improvements to the British Columbia land-use public hearing requirements to enhance social justice, build community and strengthen democratic culture. And, the Moving in a Livable Region team is leading dialogues and public engagement around mobility pricing. Together, we are co-creating change and building a stronger democracy. 

Fellows leading connections in their areas of practice

At the Centre, we are lucky to be partnering with Dialogue Fellows who are leading initiatives that address issues of fundamental significance to our communities. Last year, several Dialogue Fellows at the Centre led initiatives to build stronger communities in their areas of practice. The Indigenous House of Dialogue—co-created by Dialogue Fellows Ginger Gosnell-Myers, Dr. Karine Duhamel, Lindsay Heller and Kris Archie—will be a space for Indigenous peoples to engage in dialogue with other Indigenous peoples on issues that matter to Indigenous peoples. Djaka Blais Amare is beginning consultations on developing a community for racialized individuals working in philanthropy. And, Dr. Diane Finegood has co-created a dialogue community of practice with a group of 23 teachers and practitioners who come together regularly. The collaborative nature of dialogue breeds innovation. When we bridge connection and dismantle hierarchy, we have space for dreaming new ideas and access to the tools to act on them. 

Embracing connections to community 

Lastly, but certainly not least, we embraced connections to community with intention. This showed up through our Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue programming, where we recognized adrienne maree brown as a leader who is championing anti-racism and advancing new and more equitable practices for facilitation. Through her guided dialogues we deepened our connections to each other, to community and to our practice in dialogue. And, finally, the appointment of eight new Dialogue Fellows and 21 Dialogue Associates has seen our network reach new areas of practice and wider-reaching engagement. 

As 2023 approaches, we look forward to co-creating further impact and deepening connections. Visit our 2021/2022 impact report to see the full range of what our teams and community accomplished last year.