Unfolding Understanding:

Making Worlds with Dialogue with Aftab Omer

A Six-Week Online Course

June 22nd through August 3rd

We live in times of deep relational chaos and complexity, where the information revolution is morphing into a deluge of propaganda and disinformation. As a consequence, it is becoming more and more difficult to cohere a foundation of facts and meanings necessary for collaboration and co-creation. This issue is a challenge to relationality at all living system levels: Individuals, families, teams, organizations, communities, societies, and geopolitical systems.

The effectiveness of any living system is linked to its dialogic capability which shapes both the intended and unintended consequences at all system levels. As dialogic capability is developed the system becomes more coherent, adaptive, and creative.

Typically, systems do not turn towards the practices that develop individual and collective dialogic capability. In this course we will explore the principles and practices entailed in developing our dialogic capability as applied to the well-being of the living systems we belong to, including families, teams, organizations, and communities.

Course Faculty

Headshot of Aftab Omer
Aftab Omer

Aftab Omer, Ph.D. is the president of Meridian University which offers degree and professional programs globally, emphasizing the power of transformative learning.

He is a sociologist, psychologist, developmentalist, and futurist. Raised in Pakistan, India, Hawaii, and Turkey, he was educated at the universities of M.I.T, Harvard and Brandeis. His publications have addressed the topics of transformative learning, dialogic capability, developmental power, cultural leadership, civil society, generative entrepreneurship, and the power of imagination.

Aftab’s advising work focuses on team development and on leveraging the creative potentials of conflict, diversity, and complexity. Formerly the president of the Council for Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychologies, he is a Fellow of the International Futures Forum and the World Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Course Modules

Introduction and Overview

Dialogue Generates Meaning

  • Liberating Ideas from Ideology
  • Collective Action and Empathic Imagination

Week One

Belonging to Each Other: We are More Alike than We Understand

  • The Relational Turn: Existence is an Entanglement
  • The Longing for Belonging
  • Shame as Being’s Call to Belonging
  • Belonging Sources both Pride and Humility

Week Two

Engaging Otherness: We are More Different than We Understand

  • Differences of Perspective
  • Differences of Role, Position, and Vantage
  • Evolution and Neurodiversity
  • Developmental Assymetry and Developmental Peerness

Week Three

The Power of Expression: Dialogue with and Beyond Words

  • Voice and Gesture are Prior to Speech and Language
  • Understanding the Unspeakable

Week Four

Deep Listening: The Gateway to Understanding

  • Listening To, Listening For, Listening With
  • Silence Opens to the Unspeakable
  • Listening for Story: Narrative is the Currency of Meaning
  • No Understanding without Context: From Telling to Asking
  • To Understand is to Sacralize

Week Five

Speaking the Unknown: The Speech of the Heart

  • When Conversation is Jazz: Dialogue as Play of Meaning
  • Resonating with Tender and Fierce Speaking

Week Six

Making Possible Worlds: Convening the Dialogic Commons

  • Warfare: The Utter Absence of Dialogue
  • Dialogue Enables Peace-Making: The Iroquois Confederacy
  • Dialogue Builds System Coherence
  • Transformative Communities of Dialogic Practice
  • Igniting Collective Imagination with Dialogic Practice

Online Course Format

Course Structure
  • Six-week online course through August 3, 2022
  • Six live 75-minute Zoom sessions with faculty held Wednesdays at 10:00 am PT (Pacific Time) and recorded for participants who cannot join every session live
  • Resources, networking, and emergent community outcomes
  • Content and collaboration via Meridian's social learning platform
Course Schedule
  • June 22 at 10 am PT - First live course session
  • June 29 at 10 am PT - Second live course session
  • July 13 at 10 am PT - Third live course session
  • July 20 at 10 am PT - Fourth live course session
  • July 27 at 10 am PT - Fifth live course session
  • August 3 at 10 am PT - Sixth live course session
Course Fees

$250, including the synchronous course video calls (with recordings), online learning platform access, participation in the course learning community, plus course resources and written activities.


Meridian University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) - a higher education accreditor recognized by the United States Department of Education. WASC is also the accreditor for Stanford University, UCLA, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Frequently Asked Questions

Meridian’s online courses are conducted via the University's own learning platform.

Our online courses promote community learning, through strong interactive engagement with fellow students and faculty as well as live video sessions with faculty.

You will need an email account, a high-speed internet connection, and access to a computer, iOS or Android device.

If you are planning to attend the course video calls live, you will need a webcam and microphone for your device. (Course video calls are conducted with participants video-enabled.)

Live 75-min video sessions with faculty and fellow students will be conducted throughout the course. Each week's live video call will be recorded and posted on the course platform.

Video presentations, readings, discussions and learning activities will be accessible asynchronously and may be completed on participants' own schedule. Course resources and recordings will remain available up to 30 days after the close of the course.

Full refunds are available until two (2) days before the course begins, by request via email.

You do not need to apply to a Meridian graduate degree program to take this online course. This course is one of Meridian’s open-enrollment courses

The course support team will be available to assist from start to finish. Please send your questions/requests/issues to openenrollment@meridianuniversity.edu

Convening faculty generally lead each live session. Contributing faculty typically contribute in one of the live course sessions. Course resources address the work of both convening and contributing faculty.

Meridian has institutional and federal financial aid options for our graduate degree programs. This open enrollment course does not have financial aid or payment plans available.

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