Strait Talk is a non-partisan dialogue program that seeks to transform international conflict by connecting young people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait and the United States and empowering them to strive for peace.
Strait Talk is resolving the Taiwan Strait conflict in three steps:
- Identifying outstanding young people from the three communities
- Transforming them into active peacemakers through a dialogue experience
- Propelling them and their ideas to positions of influence through a high-level, inter- communal network
Strait Talk is a bridge between grassroots youth advocacy and elite-driven network theory. Its process is based on the Interactive Conflict Resolution method, which has been used since the 1960s to facilitate dialogue between people engaged in apparently intractable conflicts. The basic goals of ICR are to create personal trust across conflict lines and to develop creative and workable ideas to help spur official dialogue.
Brown University undergraduates founded Strait Talk in 2005. A second chapter was started at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2009 and a third chapter was started in Hong Kong in 2011. Student organizing committees at both universities hold an annual weeklong Symposium, inviting five outstanding university students from each of mainland China, Taiwan, and the United States to serve as delegates. The delegates engage in a dialogue led by an expert facilitator and, at the end of the week, reach consensus on recommendations to current leaders, with suggestions for possible areas of cooperation and resolution. Program alumni share their experience through high-level contacts and grassroots youth action after returning home. The program’s 130 alumni delegates and organizers remain in contact online, hold frequent gatherings, and are carrying the project’s vision for peace and cooperation into positions of influence in diverse fields, including law, finance, diplomacy, government, academia, and civil society organizations.
A national Strait Talk organization was founded in 2008 as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt, non-profit corporation.