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Deep Dialogues for Collective Healing | Civic Europe
Social inclusion, Community Development

Deep Dialogues for Collective Healing


Who is behind this?

Magdalena Smieszek

One Humanity Institute


Who is joining forces?

Co-Creating Europe

Caravan of Unity



One Humanity Institute and Co-Creating Europe are partners in the Caravan of Unity project, with numerous partners around Europe, focused here on Poland, Slovenia, Greece, Hungary and Romania.


Idea pitch

At the core of polarized divisions among communities are deep pains, traumas, fears and identity-driven conflicts. Disruptive meta-crises have contributed to more anxiety. Tapping into the psychological roots of divisions and finding our shared humanity, through compassionate conversations and creative activities, opens the space for understanding and finding common ground. The dialogues will seek to find what unites - citizens, migrants, all humans - in our journey for collective healing.

Where will your project idea take place?

Oświęcim - Poland; Celje -Slovenia; Lesbos - Greece; Mizil, Spantov - Romania; Hungary.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Although there are particulars unique to each location, every region shares a history of conflict between in-groups and out-groups in its recent memory or experience. Whether it be opposition to migration or a general dislike of the “Other”, social exclusion is a painful wound and it repeats itself like a cycle if it is not healed. In all locations within this project, there are personal stories of pain, of conflict and struggle, of longstanding rifts both locally and regionally about who belongs and who doesn’t, about what it means to be European and about our humanity, with deeply held views about group membership embedded in the psyches. This is a continuing European problem, in spite of inroads concerning equality, European citizenship, and human dignity extended to all.

Who are you doing it for?

The project will involve civil society actors in dialogue and group healing activities among local citizens, members of various communities, among migrant and refugee groups, with different marginalized groups, and between citizens and migrant groups.

How do you plan to get there?

One Humanity Institute will develop an innovation hub and invite practitioners that are active in local communities, first in Poland, but also from around Europe, initially from Greece, Romania, Slovenia, and Hungary. We will organize a launch event in Oświęcim, and in this forum, we will develop the deep dialogues toolbox that will be taken into our activities with local communities. The tools will be strengthened for applicability in other places, the knowledge and practices carried through locally embedded NGOs. As noted, initial activities will be held with local communities, among them migrant, refugee and excluded groups that will address the histories of divisions and deep wounds, followed by healing activities, and the proactive social projects featured in the Caravan of Unity.

What are the expected results?

One year from now, we will have:
- Expanded the work of One Humanity Institute, established closer connections with the local community around Oświęcim and Poland.
- Created a toolbox for ensuring the success of the deep dialogue activities.
Implemented some of these initial activities in 5 locations outside central urban areas around Central / Eastern/ Southern Europe.
- Supported community workers in Oświęcim and other parts of Europe in their respective project.
- Conducted several deep dialogue activities with local residents, among them migrant, refugee and excluded groups.
- Followed up with the participants and their progress through the deep dialogue activities that will culminate in their co-designing a project.
- Developed a network in different parts of Europe.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

Active citizenship and effective democracy require a deep understanding of the hard issues that have divided groups in order to be effective in the actions we take. The goal is to transition from painful rifts to collective healing, with deepened perspectives and common action. The project has a three-prong approach. Firstly, we provide space for safe circles to share their fears and wounds, unpack the belief systems, and build the fabrics of trust. Secondly, we provide specific tools for effective dialogue and healing – these may involve storytelling, theatre, artistic expression, music and meditation. Thirdly, we foster co-creation in communities by facilitating pro-active activities among participants and providing a platform for their collaborative projects in the Caravan of Unity.

Why is this idea important to you?

Europe has unity and social inclusion among its highest ideals, but falls short due to historical rifts and unhealed wounds. The values of inclusion, active citizenship, democracy, whether locally or globally, require thorough understanding of what has divided groups and individuals. One Humanity Institute, reminded by the darkest hours of European and human history, aims to establish community programs, networks, and knowledge for this dialogue and healing process. We’re guided by a vision of a world that is inclusive, a place where people listen, share, and co-create. We aim to unpack the layers in order to attain peaceful and inclusive societies. At this transitional time, in a world facing many challenges and crises, we need to dig deep. Our collective futures depend on it.

€ 50000,-

Total budget

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

14500 € Personnel costs, project management, coordination for 10 Months
5000€ Transportation/accommodation
2000€ PR
5000€ Workshops, informational material, and facilitation for min 5 meetings with the local community in Oświęcim
20 000 € for local project partners for the implementation in Poland, Greece, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary
1500 € Material, set up of a co-creative project between local communities
2000€ Equipment, documentation

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We're glad to be connected to the Civic Europe network and welcome all contributions to building this project.




Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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