The Dilemma Exercise

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Through bringing the participants face to face with various controversial issues this method fosters deep and engaging discussions.

Time 60 minutes

Material Standard

Group Size 20- 25 people

Keywords Discussion





The method aims at initiating an in-depth discussion about the personal values and the guiding principles of the participants and those of the facilitators/the organization carrying out the training.


The facilitator needs to create around 10 different statements on a set of diversity issues relevant for the given country (international setting) and ask the participants to express their opinions on the topics.

Below are presented the statements were created by the facilitators’ team of a particular program which is being implemented in Armenia:

  • Protection of Human Rights should be a part of any democratic state.
  • Human Rights are more important than any culture.
  • There is no good or bad culture.
  • A culture is not static. It is an ongoing process and it changes.
  • Armenian culture is better than other cultures.
  • I am tolerant towards my peers from neighboring countries.
  • All religions promote peace and tolerance.
  • All religious minorities in Armenia shall enjoy the same rights as Apostolic Armenians.
  • It would not be a problem if an Armenian person marries a person of another religion.
  • A man is the head of the family.
  • I would vote for woman as a president of Armenia if she is competent for this position.
  • I will treat the person the same if I find out he or she has a different sexual orientation.

Different corners of the room are marked with "Agree" and "Disagree" marks. The facilitator reads out the statements and the participants place themselves either close to the "Agree" or the "Disagree" sign with the entire continuum of different ranges of agreement and disagreement in between those.


As an alternative the participants can refer to the statements anonymously on flipcharts. Prepare one flipchart for each statement with a scale from 0 to 100 for the amount of agreement. Add moderation cards in two colors, on which participants can make comments on their decisions:

  • Orange color: “but” reasons, why this is not realistic, obstacles, difficulties
  • Blue color: “because” reasons for their decision

After finishing, the group looks at the results and starts a discussion about the “but-” and “because-“ cards. Facilitators can also drive the discussion in the direction, what must be changed in society to deal with deficits, which could be a starting point for finding project ideas as well.


Exercise works well even though if most of the participants do not share the values the organization carrying out the training. Especially topics such as sexual orientation, religious dialogue and tolerance toward young people from conflicting countries provokes discussion on values and perceptions of participants.