The Imagine Center’s dialogue methodology was born out of the analysis of the collaboration between Turkish and Armenian students and young professionals studying together in Boston who came together on a weekly basis in 2005 and 2006 to discuss sensitive issues concerning Turkish-Armenian relationships in the past, present, and future.
The Imagine Center’s methodology combines analytic problem-solving with narrative mediation and reflective practice. In our workshops, we rely on direct dialogue confronting the past, the present, and the future of the conflict in a belief that the solution to the present and future problems can be found in critically approaching the past.
In practice, four intervention strategies can be distinguished: conflict prevention, conflict management, conflict resolution, and conflict transformation. Conflict prevention is focused on addressing the problems before the conflict escalates and turns violent. Conflict management refers to crisis intervention and mitigating an already violent conflict, without resolving it. Conflict resolution addresses the deep-rooted causes of the conflict and hostility. Conflict transformation is a long-term measure and implies a deep transformation in the societies of their relationship to one another and to the conflict. It lays a foundation for a lasting peace and co-existence. The Imagine programs are an integral part of a long-term conflict transformation effort.
During our programs, participants learn how to manage difficult conversations, how to articulate emotions and vulnerability without confrontation, learn to recognize and address their own triggers and stereotypes, avoid constructing a negative conflict narrative, while building a vision of a peaceful future and strategy to advance this vision.
Different from many conflict resolution projects that deliberately put aside the differences and focus on commonalities, the Imagine Center’s methodology allows the participants to express their differences, understand each other and analyze the root causes of the conflict. Only after working out their differences and developing strong relationships, the participants move on to discussing the areas where they can cooperate.