The Sustained Dialogue Institue (SDI), was created in 2002 by the president of the Kettering Foundation. The Institute works to improve community capacity to engage differences as strengths while helping people move from dialogue to action.
Mission and Purpose
“The Sustained Dialogue Institute helps people to transform conflictual relationships and design change processes around the world. We define dialogue as “listening deeply enough to be changed by what you learn.” 
Origins and Development
Founded in 2002 by American diplomat Dr. Hal Saunders, The Sustained Dialogue Institute (SDI) began as a collaboration with Princeton University for students to dispute heavy topics.
Dr. Saunders arose as a member of a small mediation group for Arab-Israeli agreements “including the Kissinger shuttle agreements, the Camp David accords and the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty.”
In his observations during these meditations, Dr. Saunders learned that participants’ relationships developed over time with distinct patterns. Considering his observations, the Institute established two foundations for the process of sustained dialogue: “(1) focuses on transforming relationships that cause problems, create conflict, and block change; and (2) emphasizes the importance of effective change over time” 
The process of Sustained Dialogue began developing with the collaboration with students in 2002, but the Institute was first developed as a project in 2003, founded by the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network made up of Dr. Saunders graduate students.
Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding
The Sustained Dialogue Institute receives funding through donations from individuals and institutions that act as sponsors, such as: The Kettering Foundation, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Foundation for Global Community, The Fetzer Institute. Princeton Class of 1952, MRM Worldwide, USA Network, Comcast Xfinity, The Boeing Corporation, The Whitman Institute, The Hershey Company, Bloomberg, The Lisle Foundation, The McFarlane Family Foundation, and the American Eagle Outfitters Foundation.
The SDI acts as a public charity and nonprofit organization 
Through a subscription service, SDI provides quarterly newsletters that provide updates on workshops and summits as well as access to archives.
The Sustained Dialogue Institute also offers volunteer and career opportunities as well as encourages students to start a campus chapter in which they can establish a partnership with the Institute workshops or membership engagements.
Specializations, Methods and Tools
Sustained Dialogue is identified as finding causal relationships that hinder the process of deliberation to occur and to provide a space to produce the capacities necessary, to practice these capacities, and to create the relationships vital to political and economic democracy.
The SDI also coordinates the use of Sustained Dialogue through the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (SDCN), an organizational/networking tool developed to assist colleges with the implementation and support of SD Groups.
Sustained Dialogue focuses and analyzes the nature of individual and community relationships. This is understood through a 5 stage process: “The “Who”: Deciding to Engage, The “What”: Mapping and Naming, The “Why”: Probing Problems and Relationships, The “How”: Scenario building, and The “Now”: Individual and Collective Action” 
How to Initiate Training on Campus
Partnerships with the Institute can be done through holding a worship or membership engagement
The Sustained Dialogue Institute website provides a contact button to schedule a call and determine an offer amongst long time partnerships, workshops, virtual enrollment as well as pricing
The Sustained Dialogue Campus Network has 64 campus connections internationally and provides case studies of how programs have been institutes through program campus integrations.
University of Tampa: https://sustaineddialogue.org/studies/case-study-1/
Northwestern University: https://sustaineddialogue.org/studies/case-study-2/
Case Western Reserve University: https://sustaineddialogue.org/studies/case-study-3/
Major Projects and Events
As The Sustained Dialogue Institute began as a collaboration between professors and university students, it continues its efforts through Sustained Dialogue programs on University campuses as well as reaching out to smaller communities, workplaces, as well as internationally.
University campuses and SD academy
“Sustained Dialogue Academy teaches leadership skills to bridge divides.” 
The Sustained Dialogue Academy provides full access to its resources and training across college campuses. It does not limit student access to just university grounds but allows students in cohorts who do not have access to a college's campus. The curriculum is based in Capitol Hill but expands its services nationally and internationally offering in-person and online training.
The SD academy is actively providing spaces for individuals searching to improve their workplace and personal skills so that enrollment in academic institutions will no longer be a requirement.
As campus life evolves with the academy, the Institute provides a full outline of the who, what and where of the program. Organization, audience, credit, initiatives, and intensives are broken down by their structures, benefits and challenges on different campuses including Beloit College, Case Western Reserve University, Auburn University, University of Alabama etc.,
Organization: Student and/or faculty organized/moderated, strong student leadership/ownership/paid employees/spread out tasks, requisitions for commitment/ownership/paid positions
Audience: Faculty/Staff/Students dialogues and departments, Increased engagements/inclusivity/community, hierarchy conflicts requisitions of investments and connections
Credit: SD as a course or infused with graduate requirements, improvements in participation/distribution/retention, requirements for faculty members to oversee SD courses or establish moderation
Initiatives: Presidential/residential initiatives, insurance of management skills/training/support, ownership/scheduling conflicts
Intensives: 4 day retreats/semester kick-offs, building strong relations/increasing participation/retention of SD stages, requires commitment/logistic/funding
“What SD Can Look Like on Campus” - https://secureservercdn.net/126.96.36.199/a00.d45.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/What-SD-Can-Look-Like-on-Campus_PDF.pdf
The Institute has developed communal support initiatives to establish foundations in building relationships with diverse families and different socio-economic circumstances. The SDI provides examples from its bases in Washington, DC, Columbus, Indiana, and Puerto Rico.
Washington DC: Kindred was founded in 2016 assisting families and POC’s with obtaining equity in education, environment, and resources for children. Their partnership with the Sustained Dialogue began in 2017 encouraging parents to learn the 5 stages of SD, “culminating in an action plan to improve their school. Kindred’s dialogue groups are forming a network of diverse parents fighting for equity.” 
Columbus, Indiana: “The Columbus Indiana Community Area Sustained Dialogue, now completing two full years of monthly sessions, focuses its work on identifying and addressing obstacles to and creating opportunities for economically challenged citizens to achieve self-sufficiency – economically, socially and emotionally.” 
Puerto Rico: “For almost a year in 2014 a diverse group of stakeholders in the controversial education reform movement in Puerto Rico requested SDI Associate Ramon Daubon’s help in organizing and moderating a slowly broadening dialogue separate from the contentious official policy process.” 
As Dr. Saunder’s work originated in international mediation efforts, a global resolution has remained a priority for SD groups to organize meetings and active programs for conversations between countries. “SDI oversees the longest-running citizen’s dialogue between the United States and Russia, and has administered dialogue programs in the Middle East, countries in the former Soviet Union, and Africa. We also have campus programs in Africa and Mexico.” 
Case studies between Sustained Dialogue and international conferences can be examined from 1960 to 2015 including:
The Dartmouth Conference (1960 - 2015): a bilateral sustained dialogue between present Russia and the United states discussing preemptive and preventive measures for resolutions of nuclear war and strengthening relationships between the two great powers
Tajikistan (1993 - 2005): a conference made up of Russian and Americans to resolve the civil war and negotiate peace to establish democratic strategies resolved from the Dartmouth Conference.
Armenia and Azerbaijan (1993 - 2007): sustained dialogue resolved over 6 years of conflict and peace negotiations to determine a ceasefire, resulting in developments in participatory peace processes to implement dialogue amongst meeting participants.
Southern Africa (2003 - 2005): a relationship developed with the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network and the Institute for Democracy in Africa, to address socio-economic inequalities and the elimination of violence. Sustained Dialogue established the relationship between marketplace citizens and local governments to create accessible communication to address those conflicts.
Arab-American European Dialogue (2004 - 2007): meetings made up of citizens globally addressed the armed conflict in the Arab world in response to the events of September 11, 2001. Topics addressed focus on the awareness of post-conflict realities in middle eastern countries and Muslims in Western countries.
Iraq (2007-2009): Sustained Dialogue developed legislation and implementation to support reconciliation in Iraq to counteract political movements in which they succeeded in “1) recognition by nearly all parties of the urgency of ending the conflict, 2) recognition of this dialogue as providing such a possibility, and 3) participant readiness to work through their deeply-rooted ethnic, religious, and political differences. This dialogue continues today under Italian leadership.” 
External form campus events coordinated by faculty and students partnered with the Institute, Sustained Dialogue programs have events and workshops available to the public surrounding involvement activities and education summits to learn more about the Institutes in-person and virtual programs.
National Dialogue Awards: a recognition ceremony to “honor the awardees and celebrate the role of dialogue in transforming national and global conflicts” 
SD Academy Workshop: Bridging Divides Through SD: a workshop for managers and staff members to “learn about how Sustained Dialogue, a proven conflict management strategy, can be used in your workplace and community. Leave with skills to help you address challenges more effectively.” 
SDCN Summer Leaders’ Summit: a gathering to implement SD programs across college campuses and facilitate “organizers from across the country to learn from one another” 
Open Enrollment Summer Virtual Skillbuilding Workshops: virtual workshops for tips on facilitating Sustained Dialogue
Analysis and Lessons Learned
SD has sustained its democratic practice from “former Soviet Union, Tajikistan, in the longest continuous meetings between Russian and U.S. citizens, and in other communities around the world.” SD is also a cooperative member of the Bridge Alliance, an American civic engagement organization made up of organizations working together to educate and progress social and political governance.
Sustained Dialogue focusing on relationships is understood as the culture between individuals and institutions that define behaviour contributing to transformations in society. Along with the five stages of Sustained Dialogue, relationships, in this case, are analyzed through five elements:
Identity: An individual’s self-identification of their own experiences
Interests: An individuals core values for want and need considering all things tangible and non-tangible
Power: the capability to have control and effect in your own life as well as others
Perceptions: assumptions developed by society that manipulate our thinking whether right or wrong contributing to the stereotypical analysis
Patterns of Interaction: the interactivity between individuals and groups developed by asserted projections resulting in positive, negative, or neutral responses
Books by Harold H. Saunders
- Politics Is About Relationship: an assessment piece on the realism of civic engagement beyond governmental agents.
- Sustained Dialogue in Conflicts: Transformation and Change: an analysis of the relationships that produced and resulted in peace and human conflict
- A Public Peace Process: an organizational construct of sustained dialogue in the Arab-Israeli conflict
- “Building Student Civic Leadership Through Sustained Dialogue” by Michaela Grenier: a journal describing the application of sustained dialogue led by students across campuses partnered with SDNC
- “Sustained Dialogue Campus Network in Creating Space for Democracy” by Elizabeth Wuerz Rhonda Fitzgerald Michaela Grenier and Ottavia Lezzi: a resource for chapter members to apply SD methods in their workplace or educational campuses
- “Healing a Divided Nation: Transforming Spaces Through Sustained Dialogue” by Maureen Flint: a paper deconstructing the use of space and the global context of the SDNC
- “Changing the Conversation: Emerging Better Dialogue Practices Seen Through Four Lenses” by Mark J. Farr: a collection of essays recounting sustained dialogue in the context of international diplomacy and political resolution in Capitol Hill.
- “Transformative Experience, Conflict Resolution and Sustained Dialogue” by Philip D. Stewart and Nissa Shamsi: an analysis of societal anger and the roots of conflict
- “Sustained Dialogue: How Students Are Changing Their Own Racial Climate” by Priya Nayaran Parker: an article on effective campus programs surrounding student leadership and dialogue
- “Six Years of Sustained Dialogue at Ethiopian Universities” by Life and Peace Institute: a study on the relationship and implementation of sustained dialogue in the Haramaya University in eastern Ethiopia, and Jimma University in South-Western Ethiopia.
- “Dialogue and interethnic trust: A randomized field trial of ‘Sustained Dialogue’ in Ethiopia” by Isak Svensson, Karen Brouneus: a study on a randomized behavioural test game directed in Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
- “Sustained Dialogue and Civic Life: Post-College Impacts” by Ande Diaz, Rachael Perrault: a study on the Sustained Dialogue model through qualitative interviews
- “Constructing Ourselves, Constructing the Other: The Challenge of Reconciliation in South Africa” by Anastasia White and Teddy Nemeroff: an article on the partnership between the Reconciliation Initiative, the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, and the Gauteng Council of Churches, exploring theoretical and methodological approaches in self-remembrance through sustained dialogue.
Sustained Dialogue as a method can be found here: https://participedia.net/method/5237