Many people always feel comfortable when they seat to talk or discuss with those that share the same vision or ideology with them.This position is also applicable with persons that have Ethics tribal,religious,Racial ,political and Gender biased. Such persons can freely say their views and make positive contributions but only where he or she feels safe.Though there are many more places where people can also meet with others such as the stadium ,movie theater ,shopping malls ,other recreational centers etc but such places of meetings sometimes do not give enough room for details discussion, and may not be appropriate for resolving contentious matters ,therefore the need to have other avenues where people can meet and interact on issues that affects their community or on how to build a better understanding for a peaceful community is important.This is why I feel the Living Room Conversation is a good idea.
Our discussion this afternoon on Citizens Working Together to Build Peace by Joan Blades using the Living Room conversations make me appreciate that people do need a forum where they will hear others opinion and they be listen to. People want to have a place where they can express their views without been judgmental even when they hold different opinion from others and may be in the minority.Everybody in this Conversation Room will will learn from others and be made to feel respected and appreciated.The Conversation will be towards looking for a common ground from an authentic ,considerate and personal heartfelt experience.
when the facilitator asked participants to go into groups so that they can experiment this concept , I was privileged to join a fantastic group where we did the the excercise by been opened and frank when answering all the questions .Though some of us have not had any close contact with each other since the beginning of this Summer Peace Building program and today’s exercise was our first time of talking with some at that close proximity,everyone willingly gave honest answer to all the questions with wrap attention listening to each other .It was clear that we all have similar experiences and challenges though we are not from the same country or the same continent.The one hour we stayed together listening to each other’s increase our bond of friendship and make us appreciate one another more despite’s some of our differences.
The exercise make me appreciate the concept and I am convinced that it will be useful and applicable in Southern Kaduna community of kaduna State Nigeria where I and my colleague are presently working with stakeholders on the need to sustain the dialogue.
I therefore intend to go home and experiment the Living Room Conversation concept by bringing all the different key stakeholders from the community to meet either monthly or fortnightly to have conversations that can help break barriers and also find ways that they can collectively resolve any existing conflict or addressed earlier warnings signals.