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How Can Better Dialogue Change You?

On Friday November 18, 2022, Jeff Schoep spoke to around 150 students at the Kuben’s High School in Oslo Norway. Then on Saturday, November 19, 2022, the Nobel Peace Center filled the largest cinema in Oslo, Norway – Colluseum Cinema – with a screening of Deeyah Khan‘s Emmy Award winning film, White Right: Meeting the Enemy. After the film, Deeyah Khan, Arno Michaelis, and Jeff Schoep spoke about the power of dialogue. They were joined by one of Norway’s most distinguished psychiatrists, Finn Skarderud along with the Nobel Peace Center’s expert on dialogue, Chro Borhan. The panel discussions were moderated by Henrik Syse. The event was sold out with nearly 1,000 people filling the Colluseum! During this same trip, Deeyah, Jeff and Arno met with the Norwegian Government Commission on Countering Extremism.

 A personal message from Beyond Barriers’ founder Jeff Schoep:

This was an incredible event on the power of dialogue! Many in the audience were in tears, and compassion ruled the day. To speak at the Nobel Peace Center, a sacred place where humankind’s greatest peace building champions have been honored since its inception, is a feeling I cannot even put into words. In these polarized times we live in, the world needs more peace builders. The work and mission of The Nobel Peace Center and other peace building initiatives (and individuals) is needed now more than ever. The Nobel Peace Center’s team, lead by Director Kjersti Flogstad, along with Kim, Ingvill, and so many other amazing people, put together phenomenal events and work hard for humanity. It was incredible! 

I would like to thank Louise, the wonderful faculty, and amazing students at Kuben’s High School for welcoming me to speak. There were around 150 students in attendance. The students were engaged the entire time and had a lot of meaningful questions. Afterwards, several students approached me to explain that their class was not scheduled to attend, but they were so interested to hear the talk that they skipped scheduled classes to attend. Also, thank you to Arno Michaelis, as I was filling in for him.

Deeyah, Arno and I met with the Norwegian Government Commission on Countering Extremism. During this meeting we discussed how relational dialogue can help in deradicalization and disengagement from all forms of extremism.

I was honored to meet an incredible group that I had not heard of before who are doing critically important work: The Human Aspect. I filmed with them for over three hours and am now a huge fan of their work. Check out their site I bet you will find something that speaks to you there!

During this trip I also met with Tore Bjorgo, who was one of the first individuals to start and EXIT program for extremists, and recorded an episode for his podcast and research project.

Meeting so many amazing people doing great things for humanity was truly empowering. Deeyah and Arno are like family, and I especially enjoyed meeting Deeyahs’ brother for the first time! Much like his sister, he is a man with a mission doing amazing things in the world. Meeting him was like connecting with a long lost friend.

In summary, this was a highly productive trip with amazing people having a great time in the process, and made some new friends along the way.

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