Photo: Map of EP projects


Photo: EP in Liberia

Together we will sow a seed that will germinate and become a source of the antidote to terrorism, fanaticism, bigotry and extremism.

Imam Sani Isah


From Indonesia to Spain, Northern Ireland to Burundi, Venezuela to Australia, Essential Partners has helped leaders, communities, and institutions across the globe foster trust, understanding, and connection across differences of values, views, and identities.

EP’s trademark approach has been refined over thirty years. Collaborations with EP produce measurable outcomes, including:

  • Improved social cohesion
  • Repaired trust across differences
  • Mutual understanding of opposing views
  • More effective, lasting collective actions

In some cases, one or more local leaders trained with Essential Partners in the United States and then brought their skills home. Our partner in Venezuela, for example, attended a training in the U.S. Upon his return, he has led dialogues on controversial social topics in the unstable nation with EP’s ongoing support.

In other cases, our partner downloaded EP’s essential guide to dialogue across divides and then reached out for design consultation and coaching. That happened in Northern Ireland, where EP provided design and coaching for a rural community engagement initiative focused on conflicts over renewable energy developments.

And in still other cases, an experienced EP practitioner travels to lead in-person trainings, help co-design processes, and provide coaching. Our practitioners have traveled to communities in places like Turkey, Jordan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, Liberia, Finland, and Australia.

Wherever you are, we can help. Contact us for a free consultation.

  • Photo: Louise O’Kane, Community Places, Northern Ireland

    [Essential Partners’] technique is used to explore contentious or divisive issues. So looking at renewable energy we thought this was an ideal opportunity to explore all the complexities of that issue. I found it a really useful method, and although this is the first time we’ve used it I am sure we’ll be using it again.

    Louise O’Kane, Community Places
    Northern Ireland, UK
  • I realized that by using the “dialogue” approach, people could talk of what is deep in their heart, especially things that have harmed them.

    Etionette Nshirmirimana, Burundian Master Trainer
  • This is the best adult learning experience I have had in the past five years. I wanted to learn new skills—I did!

    Program Participant
  • Through this training, we will have more people in the stream of work that we do and become better equipped with the know-how, skills and techniques. But most important, together we will sow a seed that will germinate and become a source of the antidote to terrorism, fanaticism, bigotry and extremism.

    Imam Sani Isah
  • I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment when the Essential Partners training ended; that I'd done something important for my community and something important for me.

    Program Participant
  • This is a new idea, so many people speaking from their hearts. People can come together...if people can understand, they can change their hearts; then this can bring about more change.

    Program Participant
    Interfaith Mediation Centre, Nigeria
  • As a former rebel, I really believe that if we had known about dialogue, perhaps we would not have had a civil war.

    Windor Dorko
  • I notice that my classmates take much more care when speaking about people who practice other religions. They make fewer assumptions, and they’re more careful with their words to make sure to avoid unintentional connotations.

    Undergraduate Student
    Bridgewater College, Virginia
  • I did not anticipate having as many concrete takeaways as I do. I feel there is an immense practical application.

    Program Participant
  • We owe a debt of gratitude to Laura Chasin and her collaborators at Essential Partners… From them, we have learned about the transformative power of telling one’s story and speaking to the heart of the matter.

    Douglas Stone, Sheila Heen, and Bruce Patton
    Difficult Conversations
  • Together, we married our ideas to create a dialogue model that took into consideration our young people’s particular needs, and our culture.

    Belle Abaya
    The Conflict Resolution Group Foundation, Philippines
  • The thing that always feels like magic to me—and I’ve used it in several meetings that I’ve had since—is how the practitioners start by setting out pacts or agreements.

    Kate Cell
    Union of Concerned Scientists, Massachusetts
  • This has been quite different from other discussions in Liberia about peace. While many processes have been about how to reform ex-combatants, this was about how we may hold our own views but live together peacefully.

    Matthew Sandikie, Project Partner
  • What is special about Essential Partners' approach is that it promotes authenticity, reduces defensiveness, increases curiosity, and boosts connectedness.

    Belle Abaya
    The Conflict Resolution Group Foundation, Philippines
  • I am amazed at what came out—the way people shared their stories. This is not like a role-play; it really touched me.

    Seth Karamage, Mediator
    Interfaith Mediation Centre, Nigeria
  • This is a different tool for engagement. It’s not about you, it’s about others. It involves the art of listening and sincerely talking from the heart

    Program Participant
    Interfaith Mediation Centre, Nigeria
  • Before, I thought all dialogue that does not culminate in solution was considered equivalent to failure. Now I see that dialogue is a stage complete in itself.

    Program Participant
  • Essential Partners is a world treasure, especially for having conversations on oppositional topics, which is very challenging.

    Dr. Shi-Jiuan Wu
  • I’ve gained not only confidence but tools. The Essential Partners training was worth every penny.

    Kim Davidson, Ombuds
    Oberlin College, Ohio
  • Authentic conversations will lead people to reflect on their own thinking and transform their perspectives to include that of others.

    Belle Abaya
    The Conflict Resolution Group Foundation, Philippines
  • What surprised me was how much you could transform a relationship during a three-hour conversation.

    Nicki Glasser, Policy Coordinator
    Transformation Center, Massachusetts
  • I learned that I can build relationships, that I can be connected to anybody who I want to be connected to, no matter how difficult it is

    Romeo McCauley, Project Partner
  • Essential Partners does the best work in the field of dialogue and communication.

    Bob Bordone, Expert and Author
    Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program, Co-Founder

Recent Partners

Logo: Interfaith Mediation Centre Nigeria
Logo: Mediators Beyond Borders International
Logo: Community Places Northern Ireland
Logo: Rural Community Network Northern Ireland