SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

"Created to facilitate dialogue and enhance interaction, the Centre for Dialogue is downtown Vancouver’s premier meeting space."

Mission and Purpose

The Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue’s stated mission is “[t]o foster shared understanding and positive action through dialogue and engagement.” It’s guiding values are:

  • Working in service of the public to generate solutions for society’s most pressing challenges.
  • Bringing together and honour diverse voices and actively remove barriers to participation to reflect the full range of community interests and create conditions for innovation.
  • Maintaining transparency in their methods and motives, and in how they share what they learn with the wider world.[1]

The primary purposes of the Centre are to: 

  • Create space for respectful conversations, where mutual curiosity and collaborative inquiry act as alternatives to adversarial approaches.
  • Support student success through experiential learning and participation in their research and programming.
  • Connect the university and community partners to work towards shared objectives in ways that value each party’s unique knowledge and contributions.
  • Serve as a trusted convenor, grounding their work in research and evidence-based information.
  • Act as a hub for dialogue and engagement initiatives, fostering a culture of shared learning and support that enables ongoing improvement and innovation.
  • Work across sectors and across borders to support communities locally, nationally and internationally.[2]

Origins and Development 

The Wosk Centre was founded by Simon Fraser University in 2000 in an effort to grow and develop the field of dialogue and transformative conversations.[3] 

Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding

The Vice-President Academic and the Vice-President External Relations serve as the steering committee to the Centre for Dialogue providing strategic, financial and programmatic oversight.[4] The Centre’s core educational and public programming is managed and delivered by a core group of staff and faculty members who also provide support for affiliated initiatives.[5] Dialogue Fellows are appointed from leaders in diverse fields including dance, law, diplomacy, public policy, and science, among many others. Fellows partner with the Centre for Dialogue to lead initiatives that address issues of fundamental significance to our communities.[6] 

Specializations, Methods and Tools

The Centre is dedicated to the use, development, and innovation of dialogue, defined as the act of convening many and diverse voices, stories, perspectives, and experiences, with a goal to increase understanding about others and ourselves. The Centre understands dialogue to be a conversational process that usually occurs in small groups on a specific topic, and is intended to facilitate the development of insight into complex problems to which no one person holds the answer.[7] In order to foster and grow the field of dialogue, the Centre has: 

  • Created a purpose-built facility for convening dialogues
  • Engaged over 600 undergraduate students in the SFU Semester in Dialogue;
  • Designed and convened thousands of community dialogues;
  • Helped to launch SFU Public Square, the signature initiative of our university’s commitment to community engagement;
  • Provided support to academics wanting to incorporate dialogue and deliberation into their teaching;
  • Launched a social enterprise to support governments in their public decision-making processes
  • Built a strong Fellowship program in five thematic areas.[8] 

Major Projects and Events

Semester in Dialogue

The Wosk Centre delivers SFU's Semester in Dialogue educational program. The full-time, one-semester program of study offers students an original, interdisciplinary experience that bridges the classroom with the community and creates space for students to reflect on what they are doing and why it matters. The program’s goal is to develop students’ sense of civic responsibility and encourage their passion for improving society.[9]

Analysis and Lessons Learned

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The Centre offers a wide variety of media on its website including original research, videos of and recordings, interviews, and resources relating to dialogue.[10] 

See Also

Simon Fraser University Faculty of Environment


[1] “About Us,”

[2] “About Us,”

[3] “SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue: creating space for transformative conversations,”

[4] “Steering Committee,”

[5] “Staff,”

[6] “Fellows,”

[7] “About Us,”

[8] “SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue: creating space for transformative conversations,”

[9] “Semester in Dialogue,”

[10] “Watch. Read. Discover.,”

External Links

Official website: 


Lead image: DemocracyXChange,