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2020 den Haan Family Semester in Dialogue Award Recipient

Meet Jocelle Refol

February 10, 2020

Jocelle Refol is a graduate of the Spring 2019 Semester in Dialogue: Complexity in Health and Wellness, where she demonstrated exceptional leadership and engagement. Jocelle is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Population and Quantitative Health and while she did not intend to pursue a Health Science degree, she says “it turned out to be the right fit”.

Jocelle is creative and has a passion for dancing. She is a member of the SFU hip-hop club and uses it as an outlet when school becomes overwhelming. Jocelle is also invested in her community. She says her curiosity has brought her into new learning experiences, which in turn, has fueled her commitment to community. Jocelle has volunteered with the YWCA, UNICEF and other youth-focused programs.

In Jocelle’s words why dialogue matters:

The term ‘dialogue’ tends to come off as intimidating given its formal nature and the context is may be used in. In reality, ‘dialogue’ is really just another word for what a ‘conversation’ should be. A conversation should focus on reciprocity, active listening and respect. A conversation is reciprocal as ideas and statements are built on each other, rather than in opposition. A conversation involves active listening with the intention to learn rather than to respond. A conversation is respectful, as one holds another’s different lived experience, values, and historical roots closely. Unfortunately, what we know as conversation today seems to have strayed away from ‘dialogue’, creating the intensely polarize world we live in. Within the complex systems of society and popular media, dialogue is embedded into the crevices of our everyday lives. It surfaces in moments of tension, of celebration and of hope.

Yes, dialogue can appear in professional spaces but it is prominent within our personal lives. How do we connect and reconnect with our loved ones who may feel differently than we do? As a second-generation immigrant, that is a recurring challenge I face within my family. How do I share my opinions and values in a way that does not bring harm to what my parents hold true to themselves? Most importantly, how do I approach these conversations not necessarily with the intention to change minds, but rather to understand?

In holding space for dialogue in its pillars of reciprocity, active listening and respect, a true conversation can resurface in places where we may least expect it. As a tool for connection, dialogue matters because, without it, meaningful conversation cannot exist.

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Semester in Dialogue 2016 brochure