Engaging Constructively in Challenging Conversations

Conversation discussion


Engaging Constructively in Challenging Conversations (ECCC)



We live in a world of polarized views, biased or fake news, racism, fear, hatred and disconnection. Our positions on critical issues such as climate change, refugees and vaccinations divide us. Too often we see aggression, passivity, judgement, criticism, avoidance and blame. We see people looking to sources that confirm their own views and negate opposing ones.

To develop solutions to the big challenges facing humanity in this time of division and disconnection, we all need to develop new skills: peacemakers, politicians, activists, CEOs, colleagues, friends and families alike.

Can we hear each other and come together when there is difference? Or will we continue to allow these societal challenges to disconnect us?  


About the course

The online course Engaging Constructively in Challenging Conversations (ECCC) is designed to give you the skills and confidence to have constructive conversations in the midst of differences and conflicts – honest conversations that build understanding and create connection rather than separation.

When we are in conflict with someone, our quick judgements and opinions can cause separation. In these moments when we feel attacked, hurt, challenged, in disbelief, it is difficult to stay open and be curious. What we do can change the direction of these conversations. These same conflicts can bring us closer and help us develop understanding of each other.  

ECCC is an experiential and practical skills course. It combines looking inward to develop self-awareness and practical skills for building trust across divides.

The course invites participants to be self-reflective and curious about their own reactions, stories, values, judgements and experiences and to practise skills for effectively navigating difference and challenging conversations.

It explores question such as:

  • How do we hear each other and be together when there is difference?
  • How do we find a way to be with difference and work with it?
  • What might be preventing us from being curious about the other?
  • What are we attached to or afraid of?
  • How do we effectively share what’s important for us?


workshop group interaction


Target Audience

  • Anyone who is part of at team or workplace where important conversations need to happen well or where it's important to constructively raise and address conflicts 
  • Workplaces and teams where diversity and inclusion is valued 
  • Leaders and managers who 
    • want to prevent the high costs of unaddressed/unresolved conflicts
    • want to create workplaces where people have the attitudes and skills that enable them to engage constructively in conversations where there are conflicting views, values and approaches    


Course Goals

For participants to:

  • better understand their habitual reactive responses
  • be better equipped to sit with difference and the experience of being challenged by others’ opinions and values or behaviours
  • know how to engage with others and explore their perspectives
  • know how to listen deeply for what is important both for themselves and for others
  • to have the confidence and the skills to speak up in ways that they feel good about.



The course is of 5 sessions of 2.5 hours each. We can offer customised, longer versions, with more in-depth practice opportunities.


Interaction group connection young people



This is an online course, hosted on Zoom. (*NB: on-site version will be possible starting 2023)



The course is offered in English.


Number of Participants

Groups of 6-16 participants. For the onsite version we can consider larger groups.



Shoshana Faire

Shoshana Fair (Australia) is passionate about peace and what it takes to create peace. She began her journey on this path as one of the Co-founders of the Conflict Resolution Network, which was established in Australia in 1986 to develop and spread skills for handling conflict. She is co-author of the best-selling book Everyone Can Win – Resolving Conflict Constructively, published in six languages. Shoshana has delivered over 1,250 workshops in corporate, government and community contexts on a range of skills that contribute to better relationships, teams and meetings. She is a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney’s Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, where she runs workshops on practical skills for conflict conversations and collaborative approaches to advocacy. Shoshana has been actively involved in Initiatives of Change (IofC) since 2010 and is currently an International Coordinator for Creators of Peace. She develops and mentors women internationally in becoming peace creators and Creators of Peace Circle facilitators.


Diana Damsa WIC 2015

Diana Damsa (Romania) is in charge of the Foundation's training programmes. She holds degrees in Law and Music and has pursued postgraduate studies in Healing of Memories and Intercultural and Interfaith Communication. In 2004 she was inspired by Initiatives of Change (IofC)’s message that change in the world starts with change in oneself; she has been active in several IofC programmes since then. In particular, she has been involved with Foundations for Freedom in various capacities both as a member of the management and coordination team, as a designer and facilitator of youth and leadership programmes and of interethnic dialogues in Ukraine and Romania. She was vice-president of Creators of Peace and Managing Director of IofC Switzerland's Tools for Changemakers programme. She is also a founding member and the President of the Centre for Social Transformation in Romania, which works to promote peace, build trust and empower women and Roma youth.


Prerequisites to attend

No prior knowledge is assumed or necessary.


Cost of Training

Interested in this course? Please get in touch with us for further details: CONTACT


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