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The Center for Dialogue, Ethics and Spirituality serves the educational mission of Lehigh University by providing space and resources designed to enhance the “ethical and spiritual development” of those who live and work at Lehigh—students, faculty and staff. Recognizing that people of good will disagree with one another on topics involving ethical analysis, spirituality and religious interpretation, the Center seeks to promote the values of open and free inquiry, engaged dialogue, and respect for persons regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. In support of Lehigh University’s stated commitment to “harmonious cultural diversity” and the expressed hope that “all members of the Lehigh community might develop as effective and enlightened citizens,” the Center is open to the entire campus to serve both academic and co-curricular needs. The Center is directed by the Office of the University Chaplain.
THE DIALOGUE CENTER: GROUND RULES OF DIALOGUE
1. The purpose of dialogue is to understand and learn from one another. (You cannot "win" a dialogue.)
2. All dialogue participants speak for themselves even when they are members of groups, special interests and even institutions with well-defined viewpoints.
3. Treat everyone in a dialogue with respect and as an equal. Viewpoints that focus on role and status or appeal to stereotypes should be challenged.
4. Because disagreements often rest in value differences based on issues of identity, it is important for dialogue participants to be open and listen to others even when disagreements arise.
5. Search for assumptions (especially your own).
6. Listen with empathy to the views of others: acknowledge you have heard the other especially when you disagree.
7. Look for common ground.
8. Express disagreement in terms of ideas, not personality or motives.
9. Keep dialogue and decision-making as separate activities. (Dialogue should always come before decision-making, and the dialogue itself may not be the occasion for decisionmaking since the dialogue itself emphasizes encounter and learning.)
10. Points of view in a dialogue may be wildly divergent and even cause offense, but viewpoints expressed at the Dialogue Center will be offered with a commitment to peacefulness and respect for persons.
The Center for Dialogue, Ethics and Spirituality (The Dialogue Center) honors the commitment
the University has made to the “Lehigh for Everyone” initiative. (https://strategicplan.lehigh.edu/)
Some of the “ground rules” above may be found at: http://www.viewpointlearning.com/about/rules.shtml