1. What does your organisation stand for?
Specifically, we stand for promoting dialogue, firstly as a natural and basic expression of the human person and secondly for overcoming pressing social problems through open, honest, candid and critical engagement.
More generally we stand for democracy, human rights, the non-instrumentalisation of religion in politics, equality and freedom of speech. We oppose undermining democratic values and human right norms in the pursuit of any political or religious ideology and discriminating against others on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or age.
2. What do you mean by dialogue?
At IDI Ottawa, we understand dialogue to consist of meaningful interaction and exchange between people of different groups (social, cultural, political and religious) and individuals who come together through various kinds of conversations or activities with a view to increased understanding.
3. What is your target audience?
Overall, the IDI Ottawa’s target audience is a proportional cross-section of people from different backgrounds living and working within the regions in which we operate.
In addition to bringing people together across cultural and religious lines, we are concerned to bring together people from the following sectors: academia, the public sector, the community sector and the media. The work done by relevant professionals and volunteers within all these sectors can have a significant impact on the character of society. However, while each sector has a role to play in helping society to develop in a cohesive and empathic direction, channels of communication between them can be lacking and they can easily become insular. We aim to bring the different sectors into a creative, constructive dialogue that will inform and enhance the work of all.
4. How do you have an impact on wider society?
We try to ensure that we have an impact on wider society above and beyond those already interested in dialogue through the following means. First, we have an ongoing awareness of the need to reach wider and deeper into society which informs our ongoing evaluation and planning processes. Second, we ensure that our events are formulated in such a way as to ensure maximum attendance, be that through publicity, accessibility or topic selection. Third, we focus on systematic and continuous outreach through our community co-ordinators whose sole role it is to reach the grassroots by being out in the community. Fourth, we realise that one of our greatest means of having an impact on wider society is through empowering existing structures, organisations and mechanisms to be more dialogue oriented. We achieve this kind of empowerment through our community co-ordinators who support existing projects and organisations to be more dialogic and through our community publications which provide motivation, guidance and resources for groups and organisations to adopt a more dialogue oriented approach or to maximise the dialogue output of their existing activities.
5. What type of organisation are you?
IDI Ottawa combines the features of a number of types of organisations. Through its discussion forums, community co-ordinators and outreach it seeks to connect communities and people by targeting the grassroots of society. Through its courses and community publications it aims to build capacity for dialogue by empowering engagement. Through its research fellows, academic and community publications and workshops and conferences it develops and proposes new ideas for meaningful dialogue.