Dialogue in a Deeply Fractured World

Joseph A. Camilleri, 'Dialogue in a Deeply Fractured World', Australian Outlook, Australian Institute of International Affairs. 02 SEP 2018

Dialogue is needed in international affairs to engage with the other in a common search for truth. Commonality makes dialogue possible while difference makes it essential.

Dialogue is no easy undertaking, and nowhere is it more demanding than in situations of conflict or tension. Whether it be the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Christian-Muslim divide, Sino-Australian relations or the gap separating Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, dialogue calls for empathy. Long-held fears and suspicions are revisited both by those who have unleashed and those who have suffered from past violence or continue to do so today. Dialogue fosters reconciliation when participants share their stories, listen to one another’s pain, acknowledge past wrongs and accept collective responsibility for righting the wrongs of the past.

If dialogue is to make headway then governments at all levels have to play their part. They need to equip themselves for the task – emotionally, intellectually and organisationally – and make full use of the talents and energies of the business and community sectors.