Multicultural Resource Commons

Intergroup Dialogue

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

~ Audre Lorde

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Apply here for our 1 credit Dialogue Weekend! 

Apply here for our 2-credit half-semester Facilitation Training Course!

Contact and with questions.

This page is dedicated to the MRC's Intergroup Dialogue Program, led by Scott Hwang and AJ Johnson. The program will offer a Certificate of Completion in Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation, and currently sponsors ongoing education in dialogue skills both for trained facilitators and for the broader campus. Additionally, the program supports a cohort of TOADs (Trained Oberlin Ambassadors for Dialogue) - paid student workers who facilitate dialogues for their peers. Read on to find out how you can get involved in Intergroup Dialogue!

Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) is a framework in which two trained dialogue facilitators guide participants of two or more social identity groups (race, class, gender, etc.) through a conversation about understanding their positionalities within society, recognizing and celebrating both similarities and differences, and creating mutual empathy.  IGD is often facilitated by peers and works best when the group of participants contains around 6-15 people. Traditionally, IGD is often offered as a sustained dialogue that meets once per week for an entire semester.

IGD facilitators follow a predetermined model that includes four stages: 1) group formation, 2) exploration of commonalities and differences, 3) discussion of controversial topics, and 4) action planning. During group formation, we spend time getting to know each other as individuals and forming the trust that will be necessary to engage in the deeper conversations of Stage 2. This second stage allows us to begin recognizing our similarities and differences and our identities of privilege and oppression, and to share our formative experiences of identity development with each other. In Stage 3, participants may bring personal topics of interest to the group - especially topics that are controversial - so that we may learn about perspectives different than our own. Finally, in Stage 4, we work with each other to develop strategies for building allyship towards the identity/ies that we have been dialoguing about.

This 4-stage model, as well as other IGD traditions and methodologies, has been developed and honed over time by many individuals, leading to the growth of IGD programs across the country. Here at Oberlin, we look to implement this tried and tested IGD framework while adding our own twists to our IGD program so that it is accessible, stimulating, and rewarding for all Obies.


We hope to offer a program in Intergroup Dialogue that has two distinct levels of participation. This flexibility allows students to engage with dialogue to the amount that their own schedule permits. 

Certificate of Completion in Intergroup Dialogue

The MRC’s Weekend of Intergroup Dialogue (1 Credit)

In this LEAD course, taught by Scott and AJ, we spend a full weekend learning the basics of Intergroup Dialogue facilitation and beginning some preliminary dialogues about our own social identities. This course include prereading as well as a reflection assignment. 

Facilitating Dialogic Social Justice Conversations (2 Credits)

This half-semester LEAD course taught by Scott and AJ meets once a week for 2.5 hrs and provides a deep-dive into Intergroup dialogue facilitation skills. The course includes regular readings and reflection assignments. At the end of the course, students pair up to facilitate their own miniature dialogue for their peers.


Advanced Certificate of Completion in Intergroup Dialogue

Practicum in Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation (3 credits)

After completing the first 2 courses, students may elect to teach an ExCo in which they facilitate a semester-long dialogue for students about a particular social identity or identities. Students will check in with Scott and AJ on a regular basis and complete a reflection assignment at the end of the class. This practicum may be completed at any point between finishing facilitator training and graduating.

As part of the certificate of completion program, students will also be required to attend occasional education trainings led by Scott and AJ. We may also provide opportunities to shadow other facilitators.

If you don't have time to take a whole year's worth of Intergroup Dialogue training just yet, don't fret! We are able to offer ongoing education, personalized mini-dialogues for student organizations, and other training opporutnities as requested. Throughout the year, we will provide these dialogic trainings and opportunities (to be determined) for students, staff, and faculty.

Mini-dialogues will allow Intergroup Dialogue to be brought to the campus community in a more accessible format that still encompasses the broad range of topics of traditional Intergroup Dialogue. Mini-dialogues will be facilitated by our TOADs (see below) and can be personalized to the needs of the requesting group. 

Please reach out to and if you are interested in receiving dialogue training for your student, staff, or faculty group.

Note: We will be hiring in the fall for Spring 2025!

The TOADs are the MRC's Trained Oberlin Ambassadors for Dialogue. They serve as a resource to the rest of the campus and are available for consultation and facilitation to any students or on-campus groups who request a miniature dialogue (usually about 2 hours long) or an extended dialogue series.

Although our IGD Certification will initially serve only students, we ultimately hope to offer the certification to staff, faculty, and Oberlin community members. In the meantime, we are able to offer smaller dialogue trainings and workshops for staff and faculty. Please reach out to and if you are interested.

For faculty and staff, we will also offer another exciting way to get involved with Intergroup Dialogue!  We are seeking faculty and staff of all identities and backgrounds to serve as Intergroup Dialogue mentors for the students in our program. Mentors will go through basic Intergroup Dialogue training so that they can serve as on-call support for students (especially students with whom they share at least one identity) who are facilitating a dialogue of their own and need emotional assistance, someone to share ideas with, or even just a friendly conversation. Serving as a mentor is a great way to practice your own dialogue skills as well as to connect deeply with students! If you are interested in mentoring, please contact and