Conversation Cafe: A World Dialogue Relay

2020 Connected Conversations for UN75​

A template for those wishing to host short, simple dialogue sessions online and in-person around the world on United Nations Day, 24 October.​

Co-created by


When should this session be delivered?

During the 2020 Connected Conversations World Relay for UN75 on United Nations Day 24 October.

(NOTE: The template may also be adapted if you or your organization wishes to hold a Connected Conversation for UN75 later in 2020. Please contact us.)

This template has been developed by the team at X360 for open use drawing on the UN75 Toolkit and the UNA-USA resources. It is available for use by Connected Conversations dialogue hosts and facilitators everywhere. (X360 and our generous supporters at SessionLab would also welcome translations if you can help!)

Who can facilitate it?

Anyone with a commitment to public purpose dialogue and change. Running this special open dialogue session does not require any special certification, but it is useful if you have some experience in facilitating workshops

You may prefer to appoint a facilitator who has an understanding of the issue and the challenges the group will be discussing – however this isn’t essential. 

In some cases, using a facilitator who has no familiarity of the issues can bring the benefit of a more open perspective, and the ability to lead the conversation focused on the right process as well as capturing insights for feedback to the United Nations UN75 team.


“CONNECTED CONVERSATIONS is the most timely and relevant initiative for anyone working with groups and social innovation. It’s a call to action for a new public purpose that will be co-constructed by all of us.”

Paul Nunesdea, CPF, PhD. |  Director of Conferences & Global Events, International Association of Facilitators (IAF) |  Author of ‘Beyond Virtual Meetings’

Check out the template details including step-by-step plan with instructions, timings, printable schedule and more

Suggested methods

As well as the session template, you may also find some useful facilitation methods in the SessionLab Library. The following methods may be a useful starting point for your session planning:

Check-in / Check-out #team ,#opening ,#closing ,#hyperisland ,#remote-friendly 

Either checking-in or checking-out is a simple way for a team to open or close a process, symbolically and in a collaborative way. Checking-in/out invites each member in a group to be present, seen and heard, and to express a reflection or a feeling. Checking-in emphasizes presence, focus and group commitment; checking-out emphasizes reflection and symbolic closure.

Remote Note and Vote #remote-friendly ,#decision making ,#problem solving ,#idea generation 

Use a remote-friendly version of the classic note and vote exercise to generate ideas quickly, vote on the most suitable, and turn them into how might we statements your group can move forward with! 

World Cafe #hyperisland ,#innovation ,#issue analysis 

World Café is a simple yet powerful method, originated by Juanita Brown, for enabling meaningful conversations driven completely by participants and the topics that are relevant and important to them. Facilitators create a cafe-style space and provide simple guidelines. Participants then self-organize and explore a set of relevant topics or questions for conversation.

Finger Rules #meeting facilitation ,#action 

This effective technique can be used at any meeting to make discussions more structured and efficient. By using simple hand gestures, participants can express different opinions and desires.

Support Materials

Links for visuals and downloads including video at the Connected Conversations X360 launchpad site.

The available resources include Issues Briefs on key focus topics:

  • Climate and environmental degradation
  • Gender
  • Health
  • New technologies
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Population changes
  • Security threats
  • Breakdown of trust between governments and people

About Connected Conversations World Relay for UN75

Big Questions

Together, for two hours on Saturday 24 October facilitators and others around the world will be challenging dialogue groups to explore far-reaching ideas such as:

  • What do you think the international community should prioritise to recover better from the pandemic?
  • Do you think people in 2045 will be better off than, worse off than or about the same as today?
  • What do you most want to see in 25 years?  What are the main obstacles and challenges that will block this vision?
  • How can global cooperation better manage these challenges?

Responses from every discussion will be captured and uploaded to the United Nations.

Who can host or facilitate a Connected Conversation for UN75?

Anyone. The UN wants to hear from all communities: from civil society to business, local government to religious groups, arts to sports. They particularly want to engage youth and those whose voices are often not heard in global discussions, such as indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and migrants and displaced people.

Connected Conversations is hosting a special worldwide dialogue relay event on UN Day as part of #FacWeek. Other UN75 dialogues will also be hosted at other times & locations. (If this interests you please contact talk to the team)

 Is the format fixed?

The dialogues can – and should – be adapted to whatever format and setting works for you and the individuals or groups you plan to engage. They can be:

  • Formal structured events with moderators, or informal, free-flowing discussions
  • Virtual online sessions (eg. Zoom)
  • Self-guided discussion circles – using the new VoiceVoice platform.
  • Standalone events, or integrated into other meetings or conferences
  • Large discussions involving many participants across the world, or small local meetings with a handful of participants
  • Public meetings that are live-streamed, or private talks with invited participants.

We invite anyone – a membership network, community organisation, or tech platform – to reach out and engage your community in this milestone world dialogue.

Inspiring action for change

Connecting people and amplifying their voices leads to an important goal: inspiring action for a better future.

The 2020 Connected Conversations coalition of collaborators want to ensure there are plenty of diverse opportunities for participating organisations and networks, communities and individuals to take practical action, to be part of strategic activity that makes an authentic difference.

The ideas generated during UN75 – including the Connected Conversations World Relay on UN Day – are expected to:

  • Inform public debate
  • Be taken up by national and international decision-makers
  • Inspire broader civic engagement
  • Deepen global cooperation

Both formal and informal dialogues can yield insights and evidence that national and international organisations can apply. Findings may inspire new programmes, investments, partnerships and campaigns, among other options.

About the author

Allison Hornery and John Wells are the co-founders of – a ‘new commons’ for public*purpose practitioners. With participants so far from over 40 countries and every continent, X360 aims to provide participants with new ways of cultivating professional practice as well as personal response to the challenges (and opportunities) of our times.

About the initiative

2020 Connected Conversations World Relay for UN75 has support from a rapidly growing international circle of colleague networks.

Please join in – get your organisation and professional networks involved. Experience something new & different!