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Intergroup Dialogues Return to Brookings

September 2, 2023

Many people feel that genuine connection, conversation, and civility over differences in opinion and beliefs are lost in our current society. Brookings Public Library wants to change that.

With support from an SDHC grant, the Brookings Public Library and Brookings Inclusive Collaborative are hosting an Intergroup Dialogues program throughout the months of September and October.

The kickoff will take place Tuesday, September 12, at 6 p.m. at the Brookings Public Library. Attendees will hear from keynote speaker Taneeza Islam, Executive Director at South Dakota Voices for Peace and South Dakota Voices for Justice. They will also learn what to expect from the program and register to participate in a dialogue group. Light refreshments will be served.

Intergroup Dialogues are small group discussions over challenging topics. These discussions enable participants to better understand each other and difficult issues through civil discourse.

The goals for this year’s Intergroup Dialogues, according to Brookings Public Library Community Services Coordinator Mikaela Neubauer, are “to promote an unrestricted flow of ideas through discussion and serve as a resource to build cross-community and cross-cultural awareness and understanding.”  

Facilitators have been provided with training to lead the discussions. Lawrence Diggs was the keynote speaker at the facilitator training August 26, presenting “Enhancing Interpersonal Relationships.” His talk covered practical ways to engage in difficult conversations with people who may hold different views.

The intended audience for the Intergroup Dialogues includes community members, from Brookings and surrounding areas, with differing backgrounds and opinions who are interested in broadening their worldview through productive and respectful conversation.

This program was launched in 2022, and Neubauer viewed it as a great success. “We trained 20 facilitators, had 66 attendees at our kick-off, and hosted seven groups with two facilitators each,” she said. She hopes for continued enthusiasm for the events this fall.

Learn more about humanities programming in South Dakota by signing up for SDHC e-Updates!