Exploring Facilitated Dialogue as a Civic Engagement Tool in Natural Resource Planning


During this class, participants will learn facilitated dialogue as a technique to conduct civic engagement activities.

Facilitated dialogue is an intentional, structured process that invites people with varied experiences and often differing perspectives to engage in an open-ended conversation. It requires participants to move beyond surface assumptions that inform their beliefs. The set of questions creates an environment where participants can freely exchange perspectives in a respectful manner and lets participants draw their own conclusions. Facilitated dialogue has potential for enhancing public involvement in planning and the decision-making processes. It also has potential as a technique to provide insight during a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process when a project’s purpose, scope, and need are still being determined.

This two part course will begin with an introduction to facilitated dialogue led by instructors from the International Sites of Conscience. The second part will explore the how and when this civic engagement tool could be used most effectively in planning.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, you should be able to:

  • Understand the role and value of facilitated dialogue as a civic engagement tool
  • Explore the role of facilitated dialogue in natural resource planning
  • Explore the role of interpreters in using facilitated dialogue to engage with the public on planning topics
  • Clarify assumptions and characteristics of effective dialogue
  • Explore and practice specific techniques to engage people in dialogue
  • Leave the class with new confidence in your facilitation skills, a new community of learning and access to new resources and avenues of support


Target Audience

Environmental compliance coordinators, planners, interpreters and educators, and resource management staff addressing critical or controversial issues

Course Format

Instructor led; 20 hours

Course Dates

There are no upcoming sessions of this course scheduled at this time.



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