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Conversation Cafes – The Latest Craze?

Cafe Furniture, General Info, News September 18th 2012

In the past decade there has been a movement of cafes all over the world where people gather in a cafe, sit on the cafe chairs, order coffee and drink it at the cafe table and simply just talk to one another. This may not seem anything new, but it can often be that these people may not have even met before.

In 2001 three friends came up with the idea to create conversation cafes. Based in Seattle, the friends, Susan Partnow, Habib Rose, and Vicki Robin set up an experiment as they "believed that more spontaneous and drop-in public dialogue would serve democracy, critical thinking and neighborliness". (quote taken from their own website).

They decided to perform an experiment to test their theories. Each chose a cafe, sat on the cafe chairs and invited whoever was there, plus their friends to a conversation about subjects that actually mattered. At the end of summer, 9/11 occurred and they soon began to think that perhaps their idea had merit and could be used in the day's society. Since then conversation cafes have spread all over the USA, with 70 cities hosting them including some even in Canada and in some parts of the world. In a way, these cafes are meant to be more of a venue to host debates.

There is more to be had and more to gain from two people having opposing arguments than two people that just agree. The meetings are set up with the minimum amount of structure, the idea is that the floor is open to anyone who has an opinion on a particular subject. You should always make sure that you have back up arguments or evidence for your opinion though. This idea is becoming increasingly popular and we should see more of these set up around the world.

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