Day of Dialogue

The Referendum: Respect and Reconciliation | Thursday 4 September 2014

Written and audio transcripts of the Keynote conversations are available on our Resources page.

Click here for the video recording of the Master Class with William Ury.

View Programme

The Day of Dialogue took place exactly two weeks prior to the referendum, to encourage people to reflect on how to handle the lead up to the referendum, and to look ahead to the period afterwards – understanding the need to work collaboratively and with reconciliation in mind. This is not about Yes or No, but about how we live and work together, whatever the outcome.

A highlight was an early evening video link to William Ury in the US. Ury is a Harvard Professor, international negotiator, adviser to presidents and co-author of the biggest selling book on negotiation, Getting to Yes, and author of one of its follow up texts, The Power of a Positive No.  Yes and No?

Among those also participating in different conversations throughout the day were:

  • Dan Macdonald, chief executive, Macdonald Estates, and founder of N56
  • Josh Littlejohn, social entrepreneur and founder of Social Bite
  • Peter Lederer CBE, Chairman of Gleneagles Hotel
  • Jane Wood, Chief Executive of Scottish Business in the Community
  • Douglas Alexander MP, shadow foreign secretary
  • Andrew Wilson, former SNP MSP and commentator
  • Dr Alison Elliot OBE, chair Land Reform Review Group and Associate Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburgh
  • David Melding AM, Deputy Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly
  • Conor Murphy MP and former Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Alastair McIntosh, ecologist and writer
  • Rev Richard Frazer, minister of Greyfriars Kirk

Midnight Vigil at Greyfriars Kirk concluded the day as we anticipate the transition from September 18 to September 19, whatever the outcome, and commit to continuing with respectful dialogue.

You can read John Sturrock’s article in The Scotsman, and his announcement of the event here.

Download the Press Release  and Poster

“Shades of grey are not easy to articulate. Black-and-white is seductive because it is simple and absolute. It appears clear and decisive. Because of that, we will often gravitate toward yes or no answers when a “both” or a “maybe” is closer to the truth. … if we cultivate the habit of considering both – or even several – sides of a question, we may see solutions that would not otherwise have occurred to us. This way of thinking is demanding…But the reward……is something that can fairly be described as wisdom.”

Richard Stengel: Mandela’s Way

One thought on “Day of Dialogue

    Robin Harper said:
    August 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    This is a great idea. Whatever the result, Scotland needs to hit the ground running the day after the referendum – we know what needs to be done. Let us commit to picking pick ourselves up and getting on with it, using whatever tools we are going to have to best effect

    best quote I have read so far,( unidentified? ) woman who said “I am not going back to the sofa after 18th September”

    I will be queuing up in the Grassmarket early days on the 4th September

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