The Hollings Center for International Dialogue is dedicated to fostering dialogue between the United States and countries with predominantly Muslim populations.
The Hollings Center believes dialogue begets understanding, builds communities to address problems and misconceptions, and creates strong lasting relationships between counterparts in Muslim-majority countries and the United States. In pursuit of its mission, the Hollings Center convenes dialogue conferences and other programs that explore novel perspectives on important international issues and expand channels of communication across opinion leaders and experts.
Over the course of its history, the Center has developed a core set of values that have enhanced its programmatic outcomes and led to new thinking on many important topics. The Center’s values are consistently evolving and have helped to construct its uniquely effective methodology. The Hollings Center aims to be:
- Balanced: The Center strives to achieve a balance of viewpoints in its programs in order to achieve better understanding of important topics.
- Open: The Center creates a safe environment where participants can speak freely and openly on a variety of issues, allowing participants who may not normally engage in discussion to participate and share new thoughts and ideas.
- Inclusive: The Center desires to host diverse groups of participants, representing different religious, age, geographic, and disciplinary backgrounds. The Center strives to give those often underrepresented a voice in its programs.
- Cooperative: The Center seeks cooperation with other organizations, stakeholders and individuals to create proactive networks that will disseminate new knowledge and create better understanding between Muslim-majority nations and the West.
- Communicative: The Center aims to be a channel of communication for the ideas and solutions its program participants devise, while giving proper credit to those who have offered these ideas. The Center acts an interlocutor and a representative of those participants.
- Introspective: The Center embraces change. It regularly takes introspective looks at its programs to establish lessons learned to make its efforts more effective and create new programs for experimentation.
Through its core mission and values, the Hollings Center has established a unique methodology that has proven to be highly effective. The Center’s programs are participant-driven, as it creates an environment more conducive to dialogue. The Center aims to be forward thinking in the selection of its program topics, choosing not only topics of current importance, but also topics of long-reaching impact. The Center also typically selects underserved topics and themes, with the hope of drawing attention to topics that require, but are not receiving attention. Through this, the Center hopes to create new channels of communication and new ideas to address those underserved issues.
Hollings Center Dialogues take a unique approach by convening a diverse mix of academics, journalists, civil society leaders, businesspeople and government officials from the United States and countries with predominantly Muslim populations in an informal setting to discuss underserved but critical subjects. Hollings Center programs focus on the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Central Asia, striving to avoid stereotypical U.S.-centric points of view. The experience created is wholly participant-driven and non-partisan in nature. The Center issues public Dialogue Snapshot reports highlighting the major conclusions and policy recommendations from conferences. The Small Grants program enables select participants to pursue collaborative projects that build on critical issues raised at the dialogue events thus amplifying conference outcomes and deepening participant networks. Public Events and Workshops expand upon dialogue topics, reinforce and expand networks, and promote conference outcomes to a broader audience of researches, professionals and journalists.