episode 5

“Building Resilience and Relationship through Dialogue” with Raye Rawls

Listen Now…

Watch the episode below:

“Can you imagine me asking a member of the Klan a question of genuine curiosity?”

Discover reflective structured dialogue, an extraordinary tool for deepening our understanding of other’s perspectives, rather than solving problems. Duncan and Raye Rawls talk about how this process, created by Essential Partners, can humanize our enemies and bring us together. In contrast, Raye raises concerns that our current tools for healing differences, are actually pushing us further apart. In particular, Raye discusses what we’re missing in the “privilege walk” and why how it’s unfortunate that the slogan, “defund the police” doesn’t represent what the concept actually means.

You’ll also hear a great story from Raye where she highlights how we can become blinded to consequences and reason when we let fear rule us.

Raye asks how we can create spaces to connect across our differences, deepen our mutual understanding, discover the deep meaning beneath our actions and strengthen our democracy. Let’s discover the answer.


  • Discover the power of reflective structured dialogue.

  • Duncan talks about how our political conversations are unnecessarily adversarial.

  • Raye explains why we’re at war with the people who are supposed to protect us. 

  • Raye’s shares her concerns about the ways that people are currently teaching about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

  • Raye talks about how we can work together despite our differences.

  • Discover how questions of genuine curiosity can enrich our lives and understanding. 

  • Raye recounts a powerful story about how getting caught up in our emotions and fears can stop us from thinking rationally. 

  • Understand the power of nuance in our conversations and opinions. 

  • Find out why people are so scared of understanding other perspectives.

Click here to download the transcript
Photo of Raye Rawls
Raye Rawls, JD

About this episode’s guest

Raye Rawls is an award-winning mediator, arbitrator, and dialogue facilitator with decades of experience. Rawls has worked on thousands of cases in government institutions, court systems, corporations, and with private parties.

Some examples of topics that she has covered in her dialogue work includes: confederate monuments on campus, guns on campus, gender issues (what bathroom should people use), defining freedom of speech on campus, evolving roles of organizations or institutions (e.g., chamber of commerce), climate change, human trafficking, intergovernmental cooperation, immigration and police community relationships.

Raye Rawls is a Senior Associate with Essential Partners. She is also a Senior Public Service Faculty at the University of Georgia’s Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, where her practice area is in conflict transformation and dialogue. Raye is also a member of Mediators Beyond Borders International and the Democracy, Politics and Conflict Engagement (DPACE) Initiative.

Guest Resources

Reflective Structured Dialogue
Learn more about Essential Partners and their methodology, Reflective Structured Dialogue.
The following materials are from Raye’s RSD training materials, regarding subjects that she discussed in the episode:


Communication Agreements

The SCARF Model

The Six P’s: Purpose, People, Promote, Prevent and Prepare

Essential Partners

Founded in 1989, Essential Partners helps people build relationships across differences to address their communities’ most pressing challenges.
A Brief History Of Essential Partners

Topics Discussed in Episode

Helping us figure out how we can move away from toxic polarization to by complexifying issues.

The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization Book Cover
An article about Complicating the Narrative from Omni-Win Project podcast guest, Ryan Nakade:
Impact of Social Media on Conflict

How Racism Affects Everyone

The Sum of Us Book cover

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee is an example of need to ask people what they really want regarding policy making.

Listen to Heather McGhee on The Ezra Klein Show: “What ‘Drained-Pool’ Politics Costs America”

Listen to Heather McGhee’s new podcast The Sum of Us where she embarks on a road trip across Covid-era America, unearthing stories of American solidarity and hope in a time of great division and peril for our democracy.

Accidental Courtesy – Daryl Davis documentary

Accidental Courtesy is a documentary about Daryl Davis, a black musician with an “unusual, controversial hobby: trying to befriend members of KKK, many of whom never met a black person.”
Watch on PBS

About The Omni-Win Project

The Omni-Win Project is a multimedia effort to raise awareness of the myriad existing and emergent opportunities to improve our democracy and heal our political culture.

Our mission: facilitating the healing and evolution of our democratic systems and political culture, so that we can co-create a future that works for everyone.

Meet The Host

I am omnipartial: I am biased in favor of the success of everyone and the whole. I believe it is possible to improve systems of communication and interaction in ways that will allow humanity to thrive and evolve through our complexity and diversity.

My purpose in life is to support an omnipartial revolution. How? By helping the world understand the fractal nature of conflict and how we can transform conflict into a positive and inspiring experience. We are all in this together. I firmly believe we can do this complex dance through life with much more grace and beauty.

I am specifically committed to transforming how we work together in teams and organizations and how we experience conflict and collaboration in our democracy.

Fractal Friends

Duncan is also the host of the Fractal Friends podcast. An exploration of our self-similary across our diversity.

Fans of the Omni-Win project podcast will enjoy this collection of episodes: https://www.fractalfriends.us/transforming-politics about Transforming Politics and Healing Democracy

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