In thinking about what to say in this brief reflection, I looked up “dialogue” on the internet. There were over 80 references to the term and, in particular, to dialogue in Fiji during the past ten years. In a sense this surprised me, but really, it is understandable.
Dialogue may be a foreign word for most Pacific islanders but in essence it is the same process as “talanoa” – a concept well know to all of us who live in this part of the world.
Both dialogue and talanoa seek to achieve better understanding and co-operation across relationships. They attempt to advance knowledge and viewpoints about issues. They strive to reduce ill feeling and foster goodwill and respect. They envisage discussion in a controlled and safe arena.
Both dialogue and talanoa are positive concepts and the outcomes are usually productive. No one owns the process. But groups of people, like Dialogue Fiji, facilitate procedures so that individuals can exercise their basic human right to express themselves freely on matters that impact on their lives.
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