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Dialogue CafĂŠ

Dialogue Cafe Association September 2010

What is Dialogue CafĂŠ? Dialogue CafĂŠ is a non-profit initiative, which uses state of the art video conferencing technology to enable face-to-face conversations between diverse groups of people from around the world so that they can share experiences, learn from each other and work together to make the world a better place.

Executive Summary With the support of the UN Alliance of Civilisations, Cisco, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Anna Lindh Foundation and others, the Dialogue Cafe Association is creating a global network of physical spaces –Dialogue Cafés –offering easy access to state of the art video conferencing technology. These cafés will be managed locally by a partnership of community groups, local government and business. They will be connected through a global exchange that links cafés across the world to enable city to city and multi-city activities such as workshops, seminars, lectures and concerts.

What happens in a Dialogue Cafe? Dialogue CafĂŠ is a platform for conversations and collaborations between individuals and organisations across the social, educational and/or cultural fields.


Research was carried out in 2008 to test the idea of a Dialogue CafĂŠ. The multi-disciplinary team, led by Cisco, included Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, the Interactive Telecommunications Program of New York University, and the Bilgi University in Istanbul.

Proof of concept

The first research pilots took place between New York university and Central Saint Martins College in London and took into account factors such as the reaction of people to the technology, furniture, lights, space, and the kinds of conversation that were taken place between the two cities.

Designing the Dialogue Cafe pod

The Dialogue Cafe Pod

Dialogue Cafe Rio de Janeiro

Where is Dialogue Cafe today?

Amsterdam The first three Dialogue CafÊs are now open in Lisbon at the Museum of Design and Fashion (MUDE), in Rio de Janeiro at the Cândido Mendes University (UCAM) and at the Waag Society in Amsterdam.

Marleen Stikker, Waag Society

“For Waag Society, Dialogue Café marks a continuation of our longstanding tradition of openness and experimentation, of exploring new ways of using technology to tackle today’s most pressing challenges. Dialogue Café will provide a space for global conversations.”

Where will Dialogue Cafe be next? London



Sao Paulo


Mexico City

Tel Aviv


Also talking to Istanbul, Toronto, Warsaw, Bilbao, Munich, Beirut, Melbourne, Buenos Aires, NY and Moscow....

What is happening at Dialogue Cafe now? We are already organising a wide range of events and activities through Dialogue Café – including conversations on topics such as life sciences, design and sustainability, as well as performances involving artists and musicians. Here are some of the activities we will enable as the Network grows: •  Students taking part in lectures from New York and Istanbul on faith communities and history. •  Women from Cairo, Doha and Amsterdam discussing the role of education and employment in empowering women. •  Joint projects linking schools in Seoul and Sydney •  Social entrepreneurs from London, Toronto and Tel Aviv talking about potential commercial collaborations. •  Artists in Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro sharing their works.

Connecting the Dialogue Cafes

The Dialogue Cafe Network Each Dialogue Café is managed by a local partner who is responsible for: creating a space for innovation and creativity, drawing in a wide variety of users and facilitating a wide range of collaborations and conversations. Hosts are therefore ambassadors for their cities, with the opportunity to showcase the very best their city has to offer. Partners need three things: a) a space (60-80m²) which is open, accessible and easy to get to; b) creative, entrepreneurial people to manage the Dialogue Café; c) links to networks who would be interested in taking part in and using Dialogue Café.

The Operational Model The Dialogue Café Association supports the local partners in hosting a Dialogue Café by maintaining the global technology platform, supporting local partners in installing the Dialogue Café, expanding the global network and developing shared resources such as the online platform. It relies on grants and donations in kind. Local partners are responsible for ensuring the financial sustainability for the Dialogue Café they manage. Local partners are able to charge users a small fee in order to generate revenues. The Association works with local partners secure funding as well as form partnerships with third parties.

Find more information at: Follow @DialogueCafe on Twitter And join the Dialogue CafĂŠ Facebook group

The Association General Assembly President , General Assembly Rui Emilio Vilar is also President of the Board of Trustees of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Chair of the European Foundation Centre and President of the Portuguese Foundation Centre. He is also Chairman of the Audit Commission of the Bank of Portugal.

Vice-President , General Assembly Jorge Sampaio served as President of the Portuguese Republic from 1996 to 2006. In April 2007, Sampaio was appointed as the High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations.

Board of Directors Diogo Vasconcelos (Chairman) is a Distinguished Fellow with Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), the global strategy and innovation group of Cisco.

Dr. Helena Barroco is a Portuguese Diplomat, and Special Adviser to President Jorge Sampaio.

Dr. Tom Fleming is a consultant and academic specializing in research and support for the cultural and Creative Industries.

Executive Team

Executive Director Sara Piteira leads the Dialogue Café Executive Team. She has considerable experience of project management and overseeing collaborative networks, having developed the global Social Innovation eXchange, a network of 400+ organisations and individuals involved in social innovation around the world. Before that, Sara was responsible for managing pioneering e-democracy and e-voting projects with the Portuguese Government. Sara has a BA in Political Science and an MA in Democracy and Participation. Programme Manager Julie Caulier-Grice is responsible for developing the global network of users and overseeing the programme of events at the local Dialogue Cafés. Previously, Julie worked at the Young Foundation, where she led the organisation’s research work on social innovation and co-authored Social Venturing and the forthcoming book, The Open Book of Social Innovation. Other publications explored ways of funding community activity and civil society’s role in campaigning for social change and meeting social needs.

Dialogue Cafe  

How Dialogue Cafe is chaging the world, one cafe at a time

Dialogue Cafe  

How Dialogue Cafe is chaging the world, one cafe at a time