Learning Through Dialogue Initiative



The Learning Through Dialogue Initiative (LTDI) is a tailored cross-cultural facilitated dialogue initiative from the 1st NAEF. LTDI grew directly out of our work supporting the NATO-funded Extended Hand cross-cultural program.

LTDI is specifically designed to help course participants – such as military, aid organization, NGO, and diplomatic personnel – to engage with local populations in global conflict zones, in order to successfully perform their duties.

We also work with students and members of civil society to foster better mutual understanding with foreign assistance personnel. The customized multi-session dialogues are facilitated by experienced trainers, and conducted with selected participants living in key locations.


Civilians, diplomats, aid organization staff, and military personnel being deployed to conflict, near conflict, or crisis response zones are often not adequately prepared to engage with local populations, resulting in increased vulnerability and potential misunderstanding

Existing cultural learning programs are not suitable for enhanced cross-cultural communication, intercultural engagement, operational situational awareness, or pre-deployment relationship-building. Training program inadequacies for organizations include:

  • Basic cultural advice and dialogues that are not specific, relevant, or detailed enough for their individual needs;

  • Lack of access to valuable local participants in places of operations: participants are not properly vetted, may not fulfill the right profiles, and/or may not be relevant;

  • Lack of trained facilitators with appropriate industry and geographic knowledge;

  • Out-of-date or unchanging dialogues, conducted with people with limited or historic knowledge of a target location;

  • Lack of time, capability, and capacity to do the required level of training well.


Our mission is to improve cross-cultural communication skills, competency, and local knowledge for key personnel being deployed to conflict, near conflict, and disaster response zones, and to enhance awareness and understanding for local participants in regional development areas.


The 1st NAEF believe that facilitated dialogue, with key local people at the heart of the situation, is essential for successful cross-cultural understanding and engagement. People learn more about the nuances of another culture from focused participation than from static learning. We work to prepare the minds of key personnel to be deployed in conflict and crisis zones with tailored, fit-for-purpose cross-cultural video conference dialogues.

Our services are focused on fostering greater cross-cultural engagement:

  • Dialogues: A customized multi-session (serial) program of facilitated cross-cultural video conference dialogues with carefully selected participants.

  • Customized country engagement reports: Publishing selected findings from the dialogues.

  • Academic research studies: Exploring cross-cultural engagement for peace-building, disaster recovery, and stability operations.


LTDI is the only cross-cultural dialogue and training initiative that offers a customized, comprehensive, true-life, interactive, and potentially life-saving program. Key differences include:

  • Facilitated dialogues;

  • Experienced facilitators with relevant industry expertise;

  • Carefully selected local participants;

  • Relevant and valuable insights;

  • Customized to your individual needs and objectives;

  • Practical, real-world applications for cross-cultural communication and engagement;

  • Video conference technology connecting people globally;

  • Two-way interaction between participants.