The dialogue program at each Strait Talk symposium utilizes the Interactive Conflict Resolution (ICR) method. Developed by scholar-practitioner John Burton in the 1960s, ICR is a method of facilitating dialogue between people engaged in apparently intractable conflicts by building personal trust between opposing parties and developing creative and workable ideas to help spur official discourse in the future. It is often utilized to bring together influential individuals, in situations where formal dialogue is deadlocked or non-existent. Unlike a negotiation or debate, ICR encourages mutual recognition and consensus building, helping all parties acknowledge each other’s identities, grievances, and aspirations. In the past, ICR has been applied successfully in major conflicts around the world, including Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, Indonesia, Cyprus, and the former Soviet states.

As implemented by Strait Talk, ICR has three core phases:

For the first part of the symposium, delegates go through training that is on par with a graduate level course of conflict resolution studies, learning the theory and practice of resolving conflicts.


Delegates dive into the heart of the conflict, sharing and questioning the aspects of identity, history, politics, and collective trauma that reside at the core of the dispute on all sides. Coming together as a group, delegates talk about issues and ideas that are bigger than any one individual, drawing deeply on their own knowledge and experiences.


In the last phase, delegates achieve consensus on a series of real-world policy proposals aimed at resolving the conflict. These proposals envision the seemingly impossible, grounded in a newfound appreciation of other delegates’ realities, perceptions, and dilemmas.