PDC, in collaboration with Life and Peace Institute (LPI), initiated the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network Project in Addis Ababa University in 2009. The SDEC project has now been expanded to five public universities in Ethiopia namely Haramaya, Jimma, Ambo, Bahir Dar & Gonder.
The overall objective of the project is to create conducive environment for teaching-learning process among students of diverse backgrounds through engaging them in constructive dialogue. PDC has engaged to build the capacity of Sustained Dialogue (SD) member students in the universities aimed at creating a cohesive, engaged and diverse student community through dialogue. An interviewee from Haramaya University stated the following how SD training has impacted his life.
After I engaged in the SD process, I learned a lot about other groups’ values, claims, cultures, and norms. I learned that others also have similar values with that of my identity groups. Deep listening and genuine understanding about others’ story developed my level of tolerance for diversity and respect others valid claim. I started respecting others’ values the way I want mine to be respected. In the dialogue process, I learned that any problem can be solved through dialogue and positive interaction. SD changed my thinking framework and understanding for others. I learned about the cultural values of Oromo, Tigre, Afar, and Amhara. Now, I can freely sit with other identity groups which I feared before, share my ideas freely, comfortably, and with full confidence, and take others views positively. I started to respect others views about..? and perspectives for their own identity because I learned that everybody is right from his/her perspective. The freedom to speak and deep listening in the dialogue process impacted me a lot.
Outside the campuses, the students are also expected to share their knowledge and experiences to their respective communities.