Understanding The Other Through Psychologically-Informed Dialogue

The International Dialogue Initiative (IDI) aims to facilitate dialogue between representatives from various large groups, states and cultures for the purpose of learning about differences in perspective and finding peaceful solutions to intergroup relationship problems.

Who We Are

The International Dialogue Initiative is a private, international, multidisciplinary group comprised of psychoanalysts, academics, diplomats, and other professionals who meet at least annually to explore the dynamics of societal conflict.

Our Vision

We believe that solutions to entrenched large group conflict come about through sustained personal engagement of the people from those cultures.  The IDI’s dialogue efforts therefore include all perspectives in an effort to grasp the psychological, historical and psycho-political dynamics that underlay misperception, overreaction and polarization.  A forum for discussion, reflection and insight, the IDI tries to identify “entry points” for intervention toward the goal of taming enemy images, clarifying irrational thinking, initiating empathy between opposing groups, and bridging severe splits.

Read More

Our Mission

IDI’s mission is to understand the contribution of past trauma and current large group identity anxieties to disturbed relationships between communities and nations.  The IDI also develops interventions aimed toward facilitating deeper discussion between representatives from various cultures, toward the goal of learning about, and peaceful resolution of, emotionally-charged group differences.

Read More

What We Do

In the 21st Century, understanding the “other” presents itself as perhaps the major difficulty in the field of diplomacy and international relations. Misunderstanding, polarizing language and reflexive, historically-based antagonisms contribute to conflict between communities and nations. Despite the real differences that exist between such large groups, psychologically informed dialogue can open the possibility for understanding and overcoming potential distortions and stereotyped reactions.

The International Dialogue Initiative examines large group differences in an attempt to understand the psychological perspectives, obstacles and dynamics — for example, the effects of past trauma on present international relations — that make realistic peacemaking discussions difficult.  It aims to facilitate dialogue between representatives from various large groups, states and cultures for the purpose of learning about differences in perspective and finding peaceful solutions to intergroup relationship problems.

Our Most Recent Meeting

Berlin, Germany - December 02 2016 - December 04 2016


The Fourteenth Meeting of the International Dialogue Initiative (IDI) was held in Berlin from December 2 to December 4, 2016.  The IDI was hosted in the Kreuzberg neighbourhood by BAU International Berlin, a campus of the Bahçeşehir University Global Network.  The IDI has previously been hosted at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul.  This was the IDI’s … Read More

Leadership

Vamık D. Volkan

Vamık D. Volkan, M. D., DLFAPA, FACPsa, is the founder and President Emeritus of the International Dialogue Initiative.  He was born to Turkish parents in Cyprus. Before coming to the United States in 1957 he received his medical education at the School of Medicine, University of Ankara, Turkey. He is an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry … Read More

Gerard Fromm

Gerard Fromm, Ph.D., President of the IDI, is a Senior Consultant to the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center.  Formerly he was the Institute’s first Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director as well as the Director of the Center’s therapeutic community program.  He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center. Dr. … Read More

Robi Friedman

Robi Friedman, PhD. Clinical Psychologist and Group Analyst, President of the Group Analytic Society (International), is Vice President of the IDI (with Lord John Alderdice).  He is a co–founder of the Israeli Institute of Group Analysis and its current President; Past-President of the Israeli Association for Group Psychotherapy. He writes on dreamtelling and relational disorders, works … Read More

Lord John Alderdice

John Alderdice, Vice-President of IDI (with Robi Friedman), played a significant role in the negotiation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. At that time he had been Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland for some 11 years and after the elections to the new Northern Ireland Assembly he stepped down … Read More

IDI Works Globally

IDI members typically carry out projects independently, sometimes in consultation with other members or organizations.

Tbilisi

In October 2014, IDI Members Dr. Frank Ochberg and Dr. Coline Covington presented at the Global Initiative on Psychiatry in Tbilisi, Georgia. Read more in our blog.

View Project

Oxford

IDI Vice President Lord John Alderdice establishes the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Harris Manchester College. Read more in the 11th Meeting Report.

View Project

Sarajevo

In May 2014, IDI Member Dr. Regine Sholz presented at the Trauma and Group Identity Conference in Sarajevo. Read more in our blog.

View Project

Corrymeela

In June 2013 a subgroup of IDI members consulted with representatives of Northern Ireland society, including politicians, clergy, police and civic leaders in an effort to discover and frame the emotional obstacles in the way of better cooperation toward the overall good of the people of Northern Ireland. Read more in the 10th Meeting Report.

View Project

Georgetown

IDI members Vamik Volkan and Gerard Fromm authored an article on dialogue in conflict resolution for the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. Read more in our blog.

View Project

Boston

IDI members presented at the International Psychoanalytic Association Annual Meeting in Boston, MA in 2015. Read more in our blog.

View Project

Sofia

IDI President Emeritus Vamik Volkan presented on psychopolitical issues in Sofia, Bulgaria in November 2014. Read more in our blog.

View Project

Los Angeles

IDI Fellow Senem Cevik became the UCLA campus representative of the Olive Tree Initiative, a university-based organization that promotes conflict analysis and resolution through rigorous academic preparation, experiential education and leadership development.

View Project

Israel

Robi Friedman and others participated in a series of interventions in Israel in Summer 2016, including at a school and a kibbutz, and before applying the intervention model to an emerging political movement comprised of both Israeli Arabs and Jews.

View Project

Washington, D.C.

IDI President Gerard Fromm will present at the Listening to Trauma Conference in Washington D.C. in October 2016.  Please see our blog for more details.

View Project

Athens

IDI Fellow Regine Scholz organized the Third Annual International Summer School in Group Analysis, held in Athens, Greece in July 2016.  Please see the attached flyer for more information.

View Project

Tbilisi

In October 2014, IDI Members Dr. Frank Ochberg and Dr. Coline Covington presented at the Global Initiative on Psychiatry in Tbilisi, Georgia. Read more in our blog.

View Project

Oxford

IDI Vice President Lord John Alderdice establishes the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Harris Manchester College. Read more in the 11th Meeting Report.

View Project

Sarajevo

In May 2014, IDI Member Dr. Regine Sholz presented at the Trauma and Group Identity Conference in Sarajevo. Read more in our blog.

View Project

Corrymeela

In June 2013 a subgroup of IDI members consulted with representatives of Northern Ireland society, including politicians, clergy, police and civic leaders in an effort to discover and frame the emotional obstacles in the way of better cooperation toward the overall good of the people of Northern Ireland. Read more in the 10th Meeting Report.

View Project

Georgetown

IDI members Vamik Volkan and Gerard Fromm authored an article on dialogue in conflict resolution for the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. Read more in our blog.

View Project

Boston

IDI members presented at the International Psychoanalytic Association Annual Meeting in Boston, MA in 2015. Read more in our blog.

View Project

Sofia

IDI President Emeritus Vamik Volkan presented on psychopolitical issues in Sofia, Bulgaria in November 2014. Read more in our blog.

View Project

Los Angeles

IDI Fellow Senem Cevik became the UCLA campus representative of the Olive Tree Initiative, a university-based organization that promotes conflict analysis and resolution through rigorous academic preparation, experiential education and leadership development.

View Project

Israel

Robi Friedman and others participated in a series of interventions in Israel in Summer 2016, including at a school and a kibbutz, and before applying the intervention model to an emerging political movement comprised of both Israeli Arabs and Jews.

View Project

Washington, D.C.

IDI President Gerard Fromm will present at the Listening to Trauma Conference in Washington D.C. in October 2016.  Please see our blog for more details.

View Project

Athens

IDI Fellow Regine Scholz organized the Third Annual International Summer School in Group Analysis, held in Athens, Greece in July 2016.  Please see the attached flyer for more information.

View Project
LATEST BLOG POST

Lord John Alderdice on Process, Purpose and “Being in the World.”

By David Fromm

From the personal website of IDI Vice President Lord John Alderdice: Why has this generation dropped the baton…..? On the long and winding road of the Northern Ireland Peace Process the most important lesson we learned was that such intractable, violent, political problems were a result of disturbed historic relationships between communities of people. The three key sets of relationships upon which the negotiations and subsequent institutions were based were between Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists; between the people, North and South, in Ireland; and between Britain and Ireland. So long as we kept focussed on addressing these historic, disturbed relationships and realized that changes to constitutions, institutions, policing and the administration of justice, protections for individual and group rights, and social and economic development, were all instruments to build better relationships rather than ends in themselves, we continued to move forward, and indeed had something important to contribute to others who had similarly been mired in intractable conflict. We had learned some lessons from the European post-war experience where the French and Germans realized that the alternative to endless cyclical violence was building better relations, and they embarked on the European Project starting with the European Coal and Steel CommunityKeep Reading →

PREVIOUS BLOG POSTS

Vamik’s Room: Documentary Film Trailer Available for View

By David Fromm

A new trailer for Vamik's Room, the 2016 Gradiva Award-winning documentary from filmmaker Molly Castelloe, is now available for view here.  The IDI sends congratulations to all involved in this important film.

Drs. Vamik Volkan and Gerard Fromm present IDI work at the International Psychoanalytic University in Berlin

By David Fromm

On Monday, Dec. 5, following the 14th Annual Meeting of the International Dialogue Initiative, Drs. Vamik Volkan and Gerard Fromm made presentations to staff and students at the International Psychoanalytic University in Berlin, Germany.  The only university of its kindKeep Reading →